The Madison House independent student volunteer center announced that University alumnus Tim Freilich will take over as its new executive director Tuesday. Freilich earned his B.A. and J.D. at the University, where he also received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Public Service.
During his time as an undergraduate, Freilich served as a Madison House volunteer and program director. He worked on the pediatric unit at the University Hospital in hopes of pursuing a career in medicine.
“I was pre-med, and had known since the age of 13 that I wanted to be a pediatrician,” Freilich said. “And I loved working with the kids and their families on the unit but to my surprise, I also realized that I didn’t want to spend my life working in a hospital setting, and Madison House is actually directly responsible for helping me change my career path before it was too late.”
Freilich’s positive experience with Madison House as an undergraduate motivated him to continue working with the organization to provide students with a similar opportunity.
“I think that volunteering through Madison House is one of the best experiences that U.Va. has to offer, and I will be working with the team at Madison House to make sure that as many students as possible have the chance to share in that experience,” he said.
Freilich said Madison House works on a number of community projects, often focused on providing support for impoverished Charlottesville residents.
“It’s easy to overlook the fact that more than 27 percent of Charlottesville residents live in poverty,” he said. “Madison House places students in positions and organizations where they have a chance to make a real difference, and Charlottesville is a better place for their efforts.”
The Madison House Board of Directors led a very extensive search process to fill the executive director position. Victoria Long, Madison House director of communications, said the board was looking for “someone who was a great fit for Madison House,” as well as “someone who had a vision for where [Madison House is] headed in the future.” She said she feels Freilich exemplifies these qualities.
“Tim’s enthusiasm really stood out to the Board of Directors and to the staff. His familiarity with Madison House and his belief in student leadership also really struck a chord with us,” Long said. “This is almost a sort of coming home for him, to kind of come full circle back to Madison House.”
Freilich said his goal as executive director is to lay a secure foundation for the next 50 years of Madison House leadership and service. In order to strengthen the future of Madison House, he said he is looking towards the University and Charlottesville communities for involvement and support.
“If you’re a student who’s looking to give back to the community and show some leadership — Madison House needs you,” Freilich said. “Whether you’re black or white or Latino or Asian or LGBTQ — if you’ve got what it takes to be a role model and represent the University out in the community — Madison House needs you.”
Freilich said Madison House needs support from University alumni as well.
“Finally, if you’re an alum or member of the faculty or just someone out in the community who cares about Charlottesville — Madison House needs your financial support,” he said. “Together, we can make Madison House stronger and more effective than ever before.”
Freilich will begin working as Madison House’s executive director Feb. 16.