About us

About Us

Who We Are

Emily’s Place provides a structured environment with direct support from a staff of house managers, case workers and counselors, and access to programs available in the community.

Emily's Story

When Mark Hagan settled on a name for the nonprofit he founded in 2002, he was honoring the memory of his cousin Emily Mays. In many ways, Emily’s story echoes those of the women who find themselves at the place of hope named after her.

Our Team

Our team consists of leaders throughout our community who are dedicated to providing domestic abuse survivors with the practical training and education they need to establish stability in their lives and make positive choices going forward.

Emily's story

When Mark Hagan settled on a name for the nonprofit he founded in 2002, he was honoring the memory of his cousin Emily Mays. Although she was 14 years his junior, their families were close, and Hagan remembers celebrating many holidays and family milestones together in their hometown of Tyler, Texas.  

After she died in 2004, Hagan decided to commemorate her life through Emily’s Place. In many ways, Emily’s story echoes those of the women who find themselves at the place of hope named after her. Given up at birth, she was alone and without a home. That changed when Hagan’s aunt and uncle Vivian and Ron Mays adopted her, providing all the love and support she needed to grow into a beautiful, creative young woman – the best person she could possibly be. Tragically, Emily was unable to overcome the bipolar disorder she struggled with for much of her life, and her family lost her to suicide at age 22.  

Emily’s Place allows her family to keep her memory alive, while offering women facing their own struggles the opportunity to transform their lives. This is exactly the spirit behind the ministry of Emily’s Place, Hagan says. “While Emily was never a survivor of domestic violence, what my aunt and uncle provided for her, everything they poured into her throughout her life is exactly what we do for our families,” he says. Today, we are privileged to continue to honor Emily’s life and all the good she did through our work at Emily’s Place. There are many ways to get involved at Emily’s Place.  Consider donating or volunteering and help others, like Emily, find hope. 

Who We Are

Emily’s Place provides long-term transformational care that is critical for helping domestic violence survivors permanently escape abuse. It is the “bridge” from an emergency shelter, which typically gives women a safe place to stay for 30 to 90 days, to independent living, free of the barriers preventing them from achieving self-sufficiency away from their abusers.  

As that bridge, Emily’s Place provides a structured environment with direct support from a staff of house managers, case workers, and counselors, as well as access to programs available in the community. Before entering the program, applicants undergo an initial interview to evaluate their needs and determine what type of support they may require. 

Our program is not a quick fix. Applicants must agree to commit for up to 24 months to receive the training and education they need to establish stability in their lives and make positive choices going forward. On intake, each woman works with a case manager to set immediate and long-term goals. Together we work with each client to attain her highest personal potential through the development of her abilities and the healing of her heart. 

Our Story

Twenty years ago, Mark Hagan, the founder and president of Emily’s Place, had an epiphany. After signing up for what he thought would be a business seminar, he found himself enrolled in an intensive year-long program that forced him to take a hard look at his life. While his faith had always been important to him, Hagan realized he needed to do more to put that faith to work. The result: Emily’s Place.  

A financial adviser, Hagan knew his business provided an opportunity to help others give back. “When I started the ministry, I wanted to give the folks I do business with the opportunity to give to something faith-based,” he says. “That was really important to me.”   

Hagan came by his philanthropic impulse naturally. His grandfather, W.S. “Bill” Freberg, was one of the original donors behind Providence Network, a transitional living facility for homeless men and women. When Hagan was ready to give back, his grandfather suggested he look at the Denver-based organization.  

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Hagan decided he should bring the Providence Network model to North Texas. The deal was sealed when he discovered that the organization’s leadership attributed their success to an affinity for the mission, the structure they had in place, and the facility’s community-based living arrangements, which supported accountability – components Hagan had learned were critical to any successful endeavor. 

“In anything that you do, besides God, you need to have three components to be successful,” he says. “You need affinity and love what you do, you need to have structure in place to progress, and you need community for support and accountability.”  

In 2002, with $15,000 in donations, Hagan launched his nonprofit ministry and opened the first supportive community in a 1,300-square-foot former church parsonage in Seagoville, a Dallas suburb. Initially, he partnered with Providence Network and modeled the ministry on their program, providing long-term support in a community-living environment. Eventually, however, Hagan determined that, unlike the Denver facility, Emily’s Place would house only women who found themselves homeless after fleeing domestic violence and their children.  

“As we got further into it, we realized that most of the folks we were dealing with had been trafficked or experienced domestic violence,” he says, “so for me, it was important to serve a niche so people would know who we are and, more importantly, who we’re not.” 

In 2004, Hagan’s 22-year-old cousin Emily Mays died suddenly. Nine years later, this loss provided the impetus for another important decision: renaming the ministry in her honor. Hagan says this decision has helped their family find some peace amid tragedy. “It’s been good for my aunt and uncle to be able to keep my cousin’s memory alive and for us to be able to talk about Emily and Emily’s Place and it’s not a sad discussion,” he says. 

The ministry grew quickly and, seeking more space, moved to a Plano apartment complex. By 2012, the nonprofit had purchased a two-acre property with an existing historic home in the heart of downtown Plano. The vision was to build three community homes on the new campus. The first home opened in the existing historic structure in December 2014, expanding the ministry’s capacity from 12 to 32 residents. The second home, which opened in 2018, doubled that capacity.  

Emily’s Place has also expanded with Level 2 housing. In 2016, the ministry purchased a house that neighbored the campus to rent to a resident who had successfully completed the program. This allows graduates to stay close to campus and benefit from Emily’s Place support services while developing their independence and establishing credit with rent and utility payments. Next steps include purchasing another building near campus that will house additional services, including an on-site daycare, and building an apartment complex on the property that will provide more Level 2 housing for program graduates.  

For Hagan, ensuring that each woman who finds her way to Emily’s Place has the tools she needs to reshape her life has been a two-decade-long labor of love. “The highs are seeing moms who make it through the program and don’t return to the system,” he says. “The wins are good.” 

Going forward, he hopes Emily’s Place will continue to grow and reach a broader audience while staying true to the ministry’s central mission of investing in one life at a time, one family at a time. “We’re high touch, not massive touch,” he says. “We’re never going to serve 1,000 people at a time. That’s not what we do. We sow one life at a time, right where they are.” 

Our Leadership

Founder & President, Mark Hagan

Mark Hagan currently works for UBS Financial Services as Senior Vice President of Investments.  He is happily married to Edie, aka “Brickell,” and they have two dogs – BBQ Pearl and Stella Louise – as well as one daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Bryan Harris, and a very special grandson, Hagan Gregory.

Executive Director, Brynn Bruno

Partners

Address

P. O. Box 860911 Plano, TX 75074

Phone

(972) 424-7775

Fax

(972) 424-7779