Live to Give, Part 6

Monica McAfee

Chief Marketing/Innovation Officer, John Knox Village

Backstory: Giving back was baked into McAfee’s core being at an early age. Her parents always had a place at their table, and spare resources, for those who needed an act of kindness. It’s how she raised her own children. “It’s never about I or me,” she says. “It’s about us and we.”

Though her background in senior living/life plan communities (she was director of programs and partnerships at Southminster in Charlotte, North Carolina, before moving to South Florida) paved the way for her post at award-winning John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, the career move also has allowed her to broaden the philanthropic canvas that’s so important to her.

Charitable pursuits: Last year, the International Council on Active Aging honored John Knox Village with two first-place distinctions for its innovative programming, much of which has connections to cultural entities and charitable initiatives.

A partnership with Innovation Charter School in Pompano, for example, allows JKV residents and staff to volunteer time reading to the K-5 students. JKV also has developed ties to the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, as well as the Museum of Art and the Life Long Learning Institute, both at Nova Southeastern University.

“Just because you are older doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop learning,” the native New Yorker says. “I hope that I have purpose until my last breaths. That’s what we want to do for our residents. And we want to do that through resources that are outside of John Knox Village, as well as what we do on campus.”

In addition, McAfee is on the board at the historic Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, plus she’s involved with United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and Big Brothers Big Sisters—relationships, again, that she’s often able to incorporate into the lives of residents and even the staff at JKV,

which emphasizes volunteering. “It’s been so rewarding to come to an organization where we have shared common values,” she says.

The last word: Last summer, McAfee underwent a lumpectomy after being diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. She acknowledges that it had been six years since her last mammogram. “Shame on me, because I let work and my commitments come before my well-being,” she says. “So, I’m going to work relentlessly on promoting mammograms.” Part of that advocacy will be connected to Gilda’s Club South Florida, the cancer support organization for which John Knox Village raises funds.

Photography by James Woodley—Shot on location at the Bath Club in Miami Beach

You May Also Like

Q&A: Miami Marlins GM Kim Ng

The ground-breaking executive talks about the team’s red-hot start and her side trip to the White House

Lifestyle Q&A: Tess Rowland

The Weston native and former TV news reporter, now president of MADD, drops the microphone and shares her own devastating story in an effort to raise awareness and save lives.

5Q: Robin Ganzert 

“We provide a voice for the voiceless,”…not a day goes by where Robin Ganzert doesn’t wake up feeling blessed.

Reading the Room

Tara Bernerd oozes creativity as she speaks over Zoom from one of her home offices in Milan, Italy.

Other Posts

The Beat Goes On

The drummer for rock band Spektora shares insights into his journey and the live music scene in South Florida.

Spotlighting Live Local Music

Meet the talented musicians who make their living by taking the stage at venues throughout South Florida.

Alexander Star Uses Musical Expertise to Impact South Florida Community

On a spring evening in March 2022, Alexander Star stood behind a silver recording mic wearing a simple gold chain, a crisp black T-shirt and a black ball cap embroidered with his own logo—a gold star with the silhouette of a fedora-wearing musician throwing a peace sign. The South Florida-based musician grooved with a swagger

Honoring International Women’s Day

Two years ago, in its March issue, Lifestyle recalled a famed marketing campaign from the 1970s. Four small black-and-white photo blocks above the main image told the story of a lady in 1913 who boarded a train in Boston, got the urge to smoke in New York City; lit up near Trenton, New Jersey; was