Who We Are

Our all-volunteer, Board of Directors is comprised of animal lovers and supporters in the Fairfax County area. Each member brings a unique, professional skill-set to our Board, helping us accomplish our mission.

Meet Friends


Evelyn C. Grieve

President / Acting Treasurer

Board Member

Evelyn C. Grieve is the co- founder of Friends. Evelyn and Karen Diviney, the current Shelter director, founded the Friends in 2006.


Rita Altman

Vice President

Board Member

Rita Altman is a retired preschool and primary special education teacher. She touched the lives of children in CA and VA public school systems.


Jill Westeyn


Board Member

Jill Westeyn is a public affairs specialist and social media manager with the United States Mint, and was formerly a program manager.


Nancy Abbott


Board Member

Nancy is a commercial lender with TD Bank. She has been with TD Bank since 2009, and has more than 20 years of retail and commercial banking experience.


Michael R. Frey


Board Member

Michael R. Frey served Fairfax County for 37 years. In 1991, he was elected as the first member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Albert Wu Headshot

Albert Wu

Board Member

Albert Wu is a Certified Financial Planner who focuses on working with individuals, families and business owners who are preparing for and living in retirement.


Karen Diviney

Ex Officio Member

Karen Diviney is the co-founder of Friends and is currently the Director of Department of Animal Sheltering, Fairfax County. She served as the FCAS Director from 2004-2012.


Lindsey Jurca

Operations Manager

Lindsey Jurca has been passionate about animals from a young age and was involved in some of the first fundraising events put on by Friends.



Friends’ Mascot

As a young pup, Eddie was surrendered to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter after swallowing a rock that needed to be surgically removed. When the Shelter asked for help, Friends funded the surgery that saved Eddie’s life.

Friends Beginnings

In the early fall of 2005, Karen Diviney, then Shelter Director in the Animal Services Division of the Fairfax County Police Department, invited Evelyn Grieve to her house to propose an idea about helping the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (Shelter). Karen knew Evelyn had a great love of animals as they had previously worked together in the Department of Human Resources for Fairfax County.

Evelyn met with Karen and Michelle Hankins, the Shelter’s Community Outreach Manager, about creating a nonprofit organization to raise desperately needed funds for the Shelter to help pets who needed emergency medical care. At the time, the Shelter had a small, annual discretionary fund of $10,000—it was not able to help all of the pets that came to the Shelter needing of emergency medical care. The situation was heartbreaking. Many, otherwise adoptable, animals faced euthanasia because funds were not available for major, but treatable, medical conditions. Evelyn asked how she could help. Karen asked Evelyn to be the president of this new organization.

From that meeting, the three women created a plan and invited other compassionate citizens to a meeting to solicit additional help. Each attendee wrote a check for $150 to open an organizational checking account, created a 501(c)(3), and paid for other filings. A Shelter volunteer, Cynthia Kochendarfer, who was also a CPA, created our bylaws and handled our 501(c)(3) filings. The organization received its approved tax-exempt status in May 2006 and held its first fundraiser that month (Cinco de Meow), at the clubhouse in Evelyn’s neighborhood. The members brought in their own microwaves, cooked up Mexican food, had both a silent auction and a live auction, and raised $10,000. The women were thrilled, and the organization was on its way!

Additionally, there are several former, long-term Board members who, without their support, hard work and dedication, we would not be where we are today. They are Bobbie Cippel, Karen Diviney, (Shelter liaison and ex-officio Board member), Cynthia Kochendarfer, Audra Meckstroth, Mary O’Malley and Jami Ojala.

Annual Reports

Friends Annual Reports and Audited Financial Statements

Annual Report Letter for 2021 >

How does Friends’ financials fit in with the Shelter’s?