Richmond, Va 23226
Office: (804) 308-5946
info@connectingheartsva.org

Connecting Hearts Team

Debbie Johnston

Virginia’s Former Adoption Champion & Connecting Hearts Founder

deb portrait smallDebbie Johnston has been recognized as the Entrepreneur of Richmond, Philanthropist of the Year, and Woman on the Move. As founder of Care Advantage, Nurse Advantage, and All About Care; she has created a dynamic, compassionate care company that is devoted to giving back to the community.

Today, Debbie is the Founder and Vice Chairwoman of Care Advantage, Inc., which has become a leading company for personal and companion home healthcare, with 15 offices and affiliates throughout Virginia. Debbie’s companies, Care Advantage, Inc., Nurse Advantage, and All About Care, together employ approximately 3,000 health care professionals in Central Virginia and surrounding areas.

In August of 2014, Debbie Johnston was appointed by Governor McAuliffe as Virginia’s Adoption Champion. As an adoptee herself, Debbie is thrilled to give children without a home a voice in Virginia. She formed Connecting Hearts to help with her awareness, advocacy, and educational efforts.  Debbie was also appointed to the Governors Health Workforce Development Authority to help in the mission of the Commonwealth to ensure a quality health workforce for all Virginians.


J. Will Pitzer, MSW

Program Director, FAM-17-042 Project Director

Will is a graduate of Auburn University and Virginia Commonwealth University with bachelor’s degrees in theatrical design and production and social work, respectively, as well as a master’s degree in social work administration, planning, and policy practice.  Will also earned a certificate in non-profit management from the Wilder School at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Will has over nine years of experience working with organizations such as L’arche London, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, United Virginia, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Target Inc., Dominion Waiver Services, Extra Special Parents of Virginia, ECPI University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Will has traveled the country and lived in multiple states, including Virginia and Alabama, and traveled the world to include living in England for several years and visiting 11 different countries.  He is newly married and he and his wife are expecting their first child, a son, in the fall of this year.  He still enjoys traveling as well as bicycling, tending to his yard and garden, playing video games, tabletop games, and board games, spending time with his very large family. 

As the program director for Connecting Hearts, Will aims to focus on helping communities and families engage in foster care and foster2adopt.  Will believes that healing requires collaboration, connection, and cooperation.  Together, we can support our youth and families to ensure every child has a home and a family. 


Jessica Carty, LCSW, MSW

Social Worker

Jessica Carty has worked in the Foster and Adoptive field for almost two decades.  In addition to Connecting Hearts, she also works part time for Jewish Family Services in their adoption program.  She received her clinical license in 2005, which allowed her to counsel individuals, families, and children.  Jessica comes with a great understanding of grief and loss as well as experience working with families of origin.  She looks forward to helping expand and enhance the already thriving Connecting Hearts program in order to further accomplish their mission to find each and every child a permanent, loving home.