Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) announced Mark Phillips has been named president and chief executive officer, effective May 1. Phillips currently serves as CCWVa’s chief operating officer.
Phillips replaces Beth Zarate, who is retiring in May. During her tenure, Zarate completed a number of new initiatives and led CCWVa to make great strides in serving those in most need throughout West Virginia.
Phillips was selected due to his strong leadership in working toward the agency’s mission of providing caring and compassionate services to those in need. This appointment provides CCWVa with continuity of leadership, creating a seamless transition for the agency’s mission-driven work.
“I am very happy to appoint Mark Phillips as the new CEO of CCWVa,” said Most Rev. Bishop Brennan. “He is a man of faith and has genuine concern for people who need our help. He will bring both competence and dedication to his new role.”
Currently in his role as chief operating officer for CCWVa, Phillips supervises the regional directors of West Virginia Birth to Three, the Child Care Resource Center, and the Child Care Food Program. He also oversees Disaster Services, the Information Technology department, and leases and contracts across the state.
In his three-and-a-half-year tenure at CCWVa, Phillips has worked with other employees to:
- Ensure service provision to the most vulnerable, including homeless clients, throughout the pandemic;
- Implement the Hospital Transition Program, a collaborative model of rural health care, in three hospitals in WV;
- Coordinate a renovation of space in Morgantown for CCWVa programs to join Hazel’s House of Hope, a newly established hub for social services.
Prior to joining CCWVa, Phillips served as the vice president for external relations and chief of staff to two presidents at Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) from 2012-2018. In his time at WJU, Phillips chaired the annual process of building the budget, worked as the liaison to local and national government officials, and coordinated strategic planning and accreditation. During his time in the president’s office, the university enrolled the largest freshman class in the school’s history.
Having lost his younger sister, Angela, to an overdose in 2016, Phillips considers the opportunity to work with the marginalized as a mission and a calling. Along with his work at CCWVa, Phillips has worked with young people in foster care through Wheeling’s CASA for Children, and as Catechesis Coordinator for his parish, St. Michael’s. He is married to Amy Criniti Phillips and has one child, Benjamin (11). Phillips was raised in southwestern Pennsylvania and received a BA at St. Vincent College and an MA at Duquesne University.
“CCWVa is blessed to have benefited from Beth’s solid leadership in the past and is looking forward to continued growth under Mark moving forward,” said Danny Vance, CCWVa board of directors chairman. “CCWVa is making a real difference in the lives of our neighbors, and it is the hard work of every member of the organization that allows the agency to reflect the love of Christ in the Mountain State.”
CCWVa is the largest independent provider of social and emotional services in the state of West Virginia, serving tens of thousands of people in need each year.