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Mary C. Ford

Executive Director

Mary is the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia, a parent advocate, a member of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Northern Virginia and a National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities Leadership Institute alumna. She serves as a parent representative on the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Servicesā€˜ Employment First Advisory Group. She is active in the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and collaborates with professors at George Mason University in conducting research promoting partnerships between families and professionals serving individuals with IDD.

Mary has recently retired from industry to be able to devote her full attention to raising awareness, promoting advocacy and delivering programs to families living with intellectual and developmental disabilities like her own. Mary lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband Allen and sons William and Christian.

Phone: (571) 328-5774

Anita Phares

Office Manager

Ms. Phares joined DSANV as a member in 2006, volunteered in the office in 2011, and served in the role of Program Assistant from 2012-2017 and is currently serving as the Office Manager. Her background is in computer programming and management information systems with a Masters in Information Systems from Virginia Tech. She has worked with constituent management systems, multiple listing services and mortgage payment processes. Ms. Phares is delighted to be involved with all things technical and functional and to work alongside the dedicated volunteers and knowledgeable staff of DSANV. She and her husband Wayne live in Chantilly with her four children: Aubrey, Rebecca, Owen and Mia (who is diagnosed with mosaic Down syndrome).

Phone: (571) 328-5773




Jennifer Cunningham


Jennifer joined DSANV as a member in 2007, when her son Gray was born.  She began volunteering on the Board of Directors as Treasurer in 2011.  In 2015, she stepped down from the board and became the bookkeeper for the organization.  Jennifer graduated from James Madison University in 1999.  She previously was an auditor at a public accounting firm. She is a devoted parent advocate and continues to volunteer in many community organizations.  She spends her little bit of free time running, reading and enjoying the little things in life.  She lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband Brian and their four children: Colin, Gray, Trace and Abigail.