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Meet Marjorie Moore of VOYCE

Hi Marjorie, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Going into college, I had my life planned out. I was going to produce and direct commercials and music videos in Hollywood. Unfortunately, during an internship in Nashville, TN, I discovered that while I loved that work, I wasn’t going to love the lifestyle, so I pivoted to marketing and PR in my final year. Because of that, I started my career as a volunteer coordinator and marketer for a nonprofit in Belleville called MindsEye. I grew with that organization, eventually doing fundraising and marketing for them and then becoming their Executive Director. I stayed with the organization for 16 years and ran it for 11. During that time, we grew from a radio reading service for the blind to offering an audio description of arts and culture events to starting a blindfolded baseball program.

At MindsEye, I fell in love with nonprofit management and joined and ended up with board leadership roles in the Metropolitan Volunteer Manager’s Association, the Young Nonprofit Professional’s Network, Illinois Radio Information Services, and the International Association of Audio Information Services. I took a lot of the knowledge I gained and the network I built and started the 501Crossroads podcast with my friend Natalie who was running another nonprofit at the time. I learned so much doing that podcast, not just about the mechanics of podcasting but about nonprofit management. I was lucky to speak to some of the industry’s greats and a lot of locals in the field who had so much wisdom to share. We hung up our headphones after 100 episodes, and I still miss it!

I serve on several committees looking at the state of nursing homes, the link between aging and behavioral health, and others trying to make the system work for people. I’m now at a nonprofit called VOYCE. We advocate for people living in long-term care. So many assume that once someone lives in a nursing home, all their needs will be met, but that’s not true. Most nursing homes need more staff, and residents need to get basics like regular changes, hot meals, clean living areas, not to mention sorely needed mental and physical health care.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As much as I love planning, nothing goes exactly as you imagine. I got fortunate as my first job leading an organization came with a lot of support to help me learn. However, I started that position just months before the Great Recession and worked with the board and my team to ensure we stayed open. That organization thrives today because many people worked together to ensure the worst didn’t happen.

It’s amazing to me how something so simple changed the course of my life. In 2017, I fell and broke my leg and tore some nerves. I was on bed rest for two months and couldn’t work, and the nerve damage made it so I couldn’t bend my foot on my own. After two surgeries and another hospitalization for an infection, I spent nearly two years trying to get the movement back in my foot. It was evident who circled me and got me back to myself, even after my doctors said there wasn’t much they could do. My parents were at my house nearly daily. I worked with a talented team of doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and orthotic techs; my friends kept a fresh stream of laughs coming. My coworkers and volunteers never stopped letting me know they had my back even though we were going through a financial crisis at work (nonprofits sometimes feel like one financial crisis after another). That incident led to a lot of soul-searching that unfortunately led to my divorce. Another challenge I got through was with the help of my friends and family.

You know, the pandemic was hard. I started at VOYCE in December 2019. I only had a little background in long-term care, so I was still learning the ropes when we had to start working from home. I would be safe at home behind my computer getting calls and emails from nursing home residents and their families about the conditions they were living in once the government told the nursing homes to close to any visitors. We knew residents were alone in their rooms with the doors closed every day for over a year and a half. Some residents had a roommate; some had three roommates.

Honestly, I was curious to know which was worse because choosing your roommate in a nursing home is rare. Being stuck in a room no bigger than an average living room with three people sounded as bad to me as being alone in a small bedroom. Worse, many residents went thirsty or hungry because the staff didn’t have time to give them water or feed them. Food trays would be brought to residents, but many could not physically get a drink or feed themselves. Physical therapy, dental services, and activities stopped for residents. We have evidence that facilities used anti-psychotic drugs improperly to sedate residents to make them easier to handle. Missouri nursing home residents are drugged at the second highest rate in the nation. Still, 25.7% of residents received anti-psychotic drugs in the first quarter of 2020 to 28.4% in the second quarter of 2022. That’s compared to the national average of 20.0% of residents receiving anti-psychotic drugs in the first quarter of 2020 to 21.3% in the second quarter of 2022.

As of February 2022, when the counting stopped, 4142 nursing home residents in Missouri alone had died from COVID. But we don’t have numbers of how many died because they did not get the necessary care. After all, the facility was understaffed because of dangerous drug interactions or what they call “failure to thrive,” which means they gave up.

Doing this work is hard because we walk around with a lot of knowledge people don’t want to know about. People want to assume that once under a facility’s protective care, the resident will be safe. Still, because nursing homes are chronically overstaffed, especially in Missouri, they can be dangerous places to live and work.

The thing that’s helped me get through it has been the staff and board, and volunteers at VOYCE who care so much and work to make sure residents are safe. They call out the problems and find solutions. I look up to them and do what I can to ensure they can get their jobs done by ensuring the organization is fully funded and getting any bureaucratic red tape they might find out of their way. I was joking with a new board member recently about how painful group projects are in school. Still, when you look at it, every challenge in life turns into a group project, and the people on your team are the ones that make the biggest difference in how things turn out in the end.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about VOYCE?
VOYCE is a nonprofit organization that advocates for people who live in nursing homes. We have several programs that can be life-changing for people needing care. We host the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, where volunteers and staff meet with residents and help them resolve issues in the nursing home, for 21 counties in Missouri, including the St. Louis area. It could be anything from a person with diabetes not getting the suitable types of foods to residents not getting taken to the bathroom promptly to extreme abuse and neglect. We also have a friendly visitor program where volunteers are matched with nursing home residents to visit and reduce social isolation and loneliness. Did you know loneliness is just as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes daily?

Our VOYCEconnect program provides callers information about long-term care for people looking to place a loved one into care. We can help them narrow their search to a few facilities that meet their loved one’s care needs and also take the type of payment they plan to use. Education is huge for us; we provide seminars in person at the St. Louis County Libraries and online several times a month. And finally, we’re working to change the system. We have a collaborative project where we’re leading the charge to create a plan to reform the systems around elder abuse in our state. And you can find us in Jefferson City during legislative sessions speaking up for residents’ rights. Last year, we passed the Essential Caregivers Bill so that residents are never locked away from family again.

And just for fun, we collected 30,000-holiday cards with our partners to deliver them to all of the long-term care residents we serve; it’s an amazing thing we do every year called Project Holiday Cheer. Overall, we need to change the system for the future and improve the lives of people living under the current system. We collect cards year-round for it.

What matters most to you?
My people. Whether that’s my family, my friends, or my team, I’m so lucky to have built this great support system around me, and I can never repay most of them for what they’ve already done for me. One of the big reasons I’m passionate about the work of VOYCE is because of what I saw my best friend go through with her dad. He had a stroke, and she moved him to three different nursing homes in two months before he passed away. I would talk to her about the amount of work she was putting into his care, and she would reiterate that he deserved it. To me, the opportunity to lead VOYCE is an opportunity to keep families from having that kind of pain and guilt at a time that’s already extremely difficult. It’s an opportunity to improve the system for my family when it’s our turn. It’s an opportunity to make the work of turning things around and calling out injustice a little easier for the staff and volunteers. We all deserve that.


  • Ombudsman Program- Free
  • Friendly VOYCE Program- Free
  • VOYCEconnect call- Free
  • Education Sessions- Free to community members
  • All of VOYCE’s services are free thanks to donors in our community. You can give at

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Main Image Credit: Jeannie Liautaud Photography, LLC Other photos credit: VOYCE

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