United Church Homes Recognizes Community Giving

Donor Appreciation Dinner 2019 Award Recipients
President and CEO Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel (from left), Robert C. Kutschbach and Board chair Philip Mallott

COLUMBUS – United Church Homes hosted its annual Housing Donor Appreciation Dinner on July 24, 2019. The event honored individuals and organizations whose support significantly impacted UCH and its housing communities.

This year, United Church Homes gave three awards: the Rev. Dr. Robert Diller Legacy Leadership Award to a legacy leader, the Ben M. Herbster Award to a devoted donor and the Spirit Award to an enthusiastic volunteer.

Robert C. Kutschbach received the Rev. Dr. Robert Diller Legacy Leadership Award for his outstanding leadership. He served on the UCH Board of Directors during the 2007 recession and helped guide the organization through a difficult financial period. Kutschbach became chair of the Board in 2012 and helped shape UCH into the dynamic organization it is today.

Donor Appreciation Dinner 2019 Award Recipients
Vice President of Housing Services Cheryl Wickersham (front row, from left); Ken Kline and Jerry Thompson, Disciples Uniting in the Quad Cities; (back row) President and CEO Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel and Board chair Philip Mallott

“There’s no doubt in my mind that serving on the Board is the greatest thing I’ve ever done,” Kutschbach explained. “Miracle after miracle happened on that Board, and United Church Homes survived.”

Disciples Uniting in the Quad Cities received the Spirit Award for their work to create low-income housing for older adults. The organization, comprised of seven churches, spent 10 years working diligently to create Morning Star Residences and Morning Star Housing in Moline, Illinois. With the addition of these residences, leaders Ken Kline and Jerry Thompson helped transform their community for low-income older adults and people with traumatic brain injuries.

Donor Appreciation Dinner 2019 Award Recipients
President and CEO Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel (from left), Vice President of Housing Services Cheryl Wickersham, Cathy Maurer Green and Board chair Philip Mallott

United Church Homes honored Cathy Maurer Green with the Ben M. Herbster Award. Green and her parents have been devoted donors at United Church Homes for many years. Both of her parents, Philip and Mary, had previously received the same award. Green also served 11 years on the UCH Board of Directors including as Board chair for two years. She supports UCH because she recognizes the great need among older adults.

In addition to thanking these outstanding individuals and organizations, more than 50 housing managers from 13 states and two Native American nations attended the event. Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes, thanked them for their hard work and dedication toward maintaining UCH’s mission, vision and values.

In 2018, over $1.1 million in donations, including over $112,000 in charitable estate gifts to United Church Homes, were received in this transformation. These gifts went toward benevolent care and life enrichment for every resident, pastoral care and investments in staff and community education that lead to abundant life.


About United Church Homes: United Church Homes, headquartered in Marion, Ohio, has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of older adults for more than a century. The faith-inspired nonprofit organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services. UCH has more than 1,800 dedicated staff serving nearly 5,000 residents of all faiths in 75 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.

10 UCH communities awarded Wishing Well grants

Wishing Well recipients
United Church Homes recently awarded grants to 10 affordable housing communities through its Wishing Well program. Grant recipients and their communities are (front row, from left) Rosie Hughey, Glendale Commons; Rosalind Cation, Cottonwood Glen; Gina Erhardt, Salem Manor and Maple Leaf Commons; (second row) Cheryl Wickersham, vice president of Housing Services; Kathy Tooley, Concord Estates; Katie Davis, Laurel’s Edge; Gina Laine, Cypress Run and Sterling Place; (back row) Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel, president and CEO; Shawn Hoffner, HardinCrest and Shawnee Springs; Keri Hoffner, Cherry Arbors; and Phil Mallott, UCH Board of Directors, chair. Not pictured is Renee Kreemer, Harmony Apartments.

UCH presented Wishing Well awards at this year’s Housing Donor Appreciation Dinner on July 24, 2019.

The United Church Homes Wishing Well grant program is open to all UCH housing communities. It is a unique way to distribute annual philanthropic gifts given to support Housing Services. Participating in the program gives housing managers the tools they need to write grant proposals and provides an opportunity for leveraging additional funding from their local area.

This year, UCH received a total of nearly $31,000 in donations designated for affordable housing that contributed to the funds available for the Wishing Well grant program. United Church Homes matched this amount, bringing the grand total for Wishing Well applicants to $62,000.

For the first time, the Wishing Well committee was able to fund all of the applicants. The money will fund projects such as a pergola, new exercise equipment, updated furniture and the continuation of private transportation.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Wishing Well Awards: Harmony Apartments, $2,999, Long Prairie, Minnesota; Concord Estates, $4,098, Fredonia, New York; Shawnee Springs, $7,500, Bellefontaine, Ohio; Laurel’s Edge, $6,700, Kennesaw, Georgia; Sterling Place, $3,381, Lakeland, Florida; Cottonwood Glen, $7,052, Greenwood, Mississippi; Cherry Arbors, $6,299, North Lewisburg, Ohio; Maple Leaf Commons, $5,810, Goshen, Indiana; Salem Manor, $7,500, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Glendale Commons, $7,500, Covington, Tennessee.


About United Church Homes: United Church Homes, headquartered in Marion, Ohio, has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of older adults for more than a century. The faith-inspired nonprofit organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services. UCH has more than 1,800 dedicated staff serving nearly 5,000 residents of all faiths in 75 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.

United Church Homes Manager Named to Local Chamber of Commerce

Rosie Hughey, a housing manager at Glendale Commons and Fox Hollow Community, was recently named to the Covington-Tipton County Chamber of Commerce in Tennessee. Hughey has been working for United Church Homes for more than 25 years. She is very dedicated to her work and UCH as a whole. Hughey is proud to represent her community through this prestigious opportunity.

With 39 residents at Fox Hollow and 44 residents at Glendale Commons, Hughey has a lot of responsibilities. As the housing manager of both communities in Tennessee, she works hard to maintain full capacity. Thanks to her dedication, Fox Hollow Community has been nationally recognized as a Community of Quality by the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association. This distinguished award was presented to Fox Hollow because of the excellent services provided to residents.

At first, Hughey thought she was too busy to be part of the chamber of commerce but later decided to join because she sees it as a great opportunity to promote UCH and her communities. She will bring awareness to the greater community about why Fox Hollow and Glendale Commons are so vital for older adults in the area. Hughey also plans to use this opportunity to further promote the mission of UCH. Hughey passionately stated, “I live our mission and core values on a daily basis.” She has even taken every possible opportunity to volunteer during her time with UCH, now expanding that volunteerism to the chamber.

As a member of the chamber of commerce, Hughey also plans to enhance the small town of Covington. She hopes to maintain the unique beauty, attract more industry and ultimately bring more people. When more people move into the town of Covington, eventually some will move into Fox Hollow and Glendale Commons.

Cheryl Wickersham, vice president of Housing Services at United Church Homes, has known Hughey for years. “I’d like to congratulate Rosie on being elected to the Covington-Tipton County Chamber of Commerce Board,” she said. “We are happy to share her talents with the chamber and know that she will perform her responsibilities with the same enthusiasm and commitment she has given to Fox Hollow Community and Glendale Commons for the past 25 years.”

Overall, Hughey knows it’s an incredible opportunity to be part of the chamber of commerce. She was shocked when they invited her to join and feels very special as a result. She has big plans for this journey and knows the residents in her communities will be proud of her. Hughey hopes to bring in donations for UCH to support its mission toward abundant aging. United Church Homes is proud to have such a hard-working, dedicated employee.

Volunteer Finds Family at Cherry Arbors

Rhonda Farley, finding family at Cherry ArborsRhonda Farley was tired to the bone. She had spent the past several years waking at 4 a.m. daily to help care for her aging mother. With the assistance of her grown son, Rhonda was providing around-the-clock care for her mother, Georgena, who was experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. But Rhonda promised her mother that she wouldn’t send her to a long-term care community. Whatever it took, Rhonda was going to ensure her mother lived independently through the end of her life.

When Rhonda found Cherry Arbors, a United Church Homes affordable housing community in her hometown of North Lewisburg, Ohio, she immediately felt a sense of relief. Finally, her mother would have a safe place to call home. What Rhonda didn’t know was how the residents would become like a second family to her mother.

Rhonda and Georgena worked with the service coordinator to get the necessary supports for Georgena in her new home. From home health services, visiting physicians, Meals on Wheels, exercise classes and potlucks, Georgena would have the extra care she needed.

Eventually, Georgena required in-home hospice services before she died. But by then, Rhonda and the other residents had already bonded in a way that made them just like family.

“She might not live here, but she’s part of us,” resident Joan said. “She does so much for all of us.”

Rhonda continues to volunteer regularly at Cherry Arbors. She takes homecooked meals and treats for the residents. Rhonda also sponsors a monthly birthday party at the community, providing lunch and cake. She brings in homemade jelly for her friends, who refer to her as their daughter.

“Rhonda is a godsend,” said Housing Manager Shawn Hoffner. “She’s right where she’s supposed to be.”

For all this and more, Rhonda received the annual Community Volunteer of the Year Award from Cherry Arbors.

Rhonda gets as much back as she gives. She said she would recommend Cherry Arbors to anyone with aging parents. Qualified residents pay only 30 percent of their incomes for rent, providing an affordable housing option for residents age 62 and older.

“It took about three or four months for Mom to get settled,” Rhonda said. “Once she did, all the residents were so kind and looked after her. Neighbors here take care of one another. There isn’t a better place to call home.”

Rhonda and Shawn joke that her apartment is ready after retirement — but it’s a joke with some truth. Rhonda hopes to live at Cherry Arbors one day.

Sue Sheidler Reflects on 12 Years on UCH Board

Sue SheildlerSue Sheidler has spent the past 11 years serving tirelessly on the United Church Homes Board of Directors. Throughout her tenure, Sue has served on every committee, including as chair of the nominating committee from 2009 – 2019. She was Board secretary from 2014 – 2018.

Sue’s background in nursing helped her contributions to the Board, she said. She started working as a nurse aide at age 16, graduated from nursing school at the University of Toledo and worked nearly every area of nursing, primarily in medical-surgical nursing. Sue then contributed to staff development for several years before retiring as vice president of nursing at Fisher-Titus Medical Center, a hospital in Norwalk, Ohio.

Along with being an acute care hospital, Fisher-Titus has assisted living, long-term care and skilled nursing.

“People often ask me if I had to do it all over again, would I go into nursing?” Sue said. “The answer has always been yes, I would. Nursing has the ability to get you into just about any area of healthcare.”

Sue grew up in the United Church of Christ. After she started attending St. John’s UCC in Milan, Sue became deeply familiar with the excellent care provided at United Church Homes communities. St. John’s regularly donated canned goods and visited residents at Fairhaven.

“When I was asked to join the Board, my husband had been ill, and we knew his health was declining. I was looking for something to do where I wouldn’t be gone all the time, so I could still be available for him,” said Sue. “I was reading devotions one morning and one said there are different ways to serve. I took that as a sign to see what I could do on the Board.”

Many years later, Sue has learned to appreciate UCH’s affordable housing ministry.

“Affordable housing was one of the most impactful areas for me,” Sue said. “I knew about the senior living side from my experience in nursing, but I had not been involved with affordable housing.”

Sue traveled with the Board on several visits to UCH affordable housing communities. She said talking to those residents made the biggest impact on her. “Sometimes that’s the only way they have any place to live,” she said. “Those learning experiences remind you about the increasing need for affordable housing.”

Stubbs Endowment Continues Legacy of Giving

Gertie StubbsThe late Gertrude “Gertie” Stubbs made a long-lasting impact on United Church Homes’ Fairhaven Community in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. United Church Homes’ computer donor records go back to the early 1980s, showing Gertie began giving in 1983 and continued for a total of 22 years before her passing in May 2009 at the age of 98.

In 1999, Gertie worked with UCH leadership staff to create the Gertrude Stubbs Transportation Endowment Fund for Fairhaven with a major gift of $300,000, established to provide funding for the ever-increasing need for transportation for older adults. It was Gertie’s largest donation, although it wasn’t exclusive as she continued to make other donations through the years, including another major gift of $100,000 to support an endowment for staff uniforms.

“Gertie’s husband, Don, was a resident on the second floor for many years,” said Karen Webb, director of nursing. “That is how we all became acquainted with her. She was dedicated and faithful to her husband and visited him twice a day, every day. She not only provided care for her husband, but also identified needs of our staff.

“She once told me that the Lord blesses the silent giver,” Karen said. “And give she did. She created the uniform fund for our staff, purchased a van and assisted staff members on a personal level with whatever they might be going through. She would visit staff members who were ill, did laundry for residents requesting the service — the list goes on and on. Then, when Gertie reached the stage of life when she needed us, what a privilege it was to be able to care for her! She was a wonderful, giving and caring individual who served the Lord by serving others.”

Fairhaven currently has a 16-passenger bus, paid for by the endowment years after her passing, and a wheelchair-accessible van that is used to take residents to medical appointments and on activities and trips that help them stay actively engaged in the community. Fairhaven Community provides transportation for approximately 800 medical appointments for residents every year.

The community offers a low- to no-fee transportation program for residents. This is especially beneficial because many insurers do not cover transportation services. A $2,000 grant from the Wyandot County Community Foundation and the endowment fund enable Fairhaven to cover a greater share of transportation costs, which helps residents stretch their personal dollars even further.

The transportation program is not Gertie’s only legacy at Fairhaven. She funded the construction of a garage, the Stubbs Garage. The former Stubbs Behavioral Care Unit also was named after Gertie. 

“Mother loved the people of Fairhaven,” said Judy Horobec, Gertie’s daughter. “I hope her story encourages others to give. She had a real passion for giving back to residents.”

Ruth Adams, who knew Gertie for more than 20 years and served on the Volunteer Service Group with her, said her friend accepted the call for assistance, no matter the need.

“She was such a giver,” Ruth said. “A lot of it she did anonymously. She was always doing something.”

Gertie offered communion to Catholic residents every Saturday and organized style shows to help raise funds for Fairhaven. “She would talk to the local stores and get all the clothes,” Ruth said. “She was always there. If there was anything to be done, Gertie did it.”

UCH Welcomes New Leadership Staff

United Church Homes recently welcomed two new members to its leadership team as part of a strategic plan to drive growth in its senior living and affordable housing divisions.

Sean Riley

Sean RileySean Riley joined UCH as the regional director of operations for northern Ohio and Michigan. He is responsible for the operations of Fairhaven Community in Upper Sandusky, Ohio; Parkvue Community in Sandusky, Ohio; Chapel Hill Community in Canal Fulton, Ohio; and Pilgrim Manor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He will be an active contributor to the execution and growth of these communities, said Chuck Mooney, senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Sean has more than 25 years of senior living experience, including community and executive leadership positions with HCR ManorCare (Toledo, Ohio); Provider Services (North Olmsted, Ohio); and Hamlet Village (Chagrin Falls, Ohio). Sean joins UCH from his most recent position as executive director of St. Francis Senior Ministries, Tiffin, Ohio.

He was drawn to United Church Homes because of its organizational integrity and mission-driven work. Sean said he is excited to be a part of the UCH team and to be able to help UCH residents live their most authentic and abundant lives. “It’s very rewarding to be able to help make a difference in the life of a fellow human being,” he said.

Sean earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in gerontology from Kent State University and a Master of Business Administration from Lake Erie College. He is an Ohio-licensed nursing home administrator and a certified executive for assisted living. Sean is also an active member of LeadingAge Ohio.

Sean is a native of Canton, Ohio, where his parents owned and operated several small nursing care communities.

Vanessa Norris

Vanessa NorrisVanessa Norris has joined UCH as the corporate director of housing services.

Vanessa has 30 years’ experience in affordable housing. She began her career in 1989 at Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing developer. In 1999, she left her position as assistant vice president of compliance to attain more property management experience. Vanessa also has been the compliance manager at CHN Housing Partners, which developed, constructed and managed its own large portfolio of housing properties. Vanessa later was promoted to the director of property management, where she was accountable for the day-to-day operation of the property management department.

“My experience includes in-depth knowledge of housing operations at all levels,” said Vanessa. “During my early years, I realized the great need for affordable housing and how diminutive the inventory. I believe affordable housing should be a right, not an option. Working with organizations like UCH and others has allowed me to be part of a bigger picture — to significantly impact the development and management of affordable housing. Such organizations continue to be the political voice and the answer to those desperately seeking housing.”

Vanessa holds certifications and designations as an accredited residential manager, specialist in housing credit management, blended occupancy management specialist, certified assisted housing manager, certified credit compliance professional and national compliance professional.

A Family Affair

Cathy GreenIn May, I will complete two years as the chairperson of the UCH Board of Directors and nine years on the Board, so it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on the connections and influences that draw people to a ministry like United Church Homes.

Over the years that I’ve been involved with UCH, I’ve often heard people comment about ways that the organization reminds them of a family. “Like a family” is used to describe the relationships among residents, between residents and staff and among staff. It’s used to describe the loving care that is provided at every stage of life. It’s occasionally used in observing the generational legacies, such as staff member with a parent who also worked at UCH, or a staff member with a grandparent who is a resident.

These relationships are also true for some of our Board members, and I am an example. I grew up in St. Marys, Ohio, where my parents, Phil and Mary Maurer, were active laypeople of St. Paul’s UCC. I recall hearing about Fairhaven Community in Upper Sandusky when I was quite young. After my dad retired from his engineering profession, he joined UCH as a part-time member of what was then called the development department. In that role, he helped raise vital dollars so that UCH could sustain its ministry. Some years later, my mom was elected to the Board of Directors, where she served nine years. Hearing stories from my parents and knowing how important UCH was to them is one reason I said yes when asked years later whether I would join the Board.

Another factor, which is true for most of us on the Board, is seeing firsthand the challenges my parents faced in their final years. My father lived with Alzheimer’s for about 10 years before his death. My mother and I were with him when he died at Fairhaven in 2007, and I experienced firsthand the care and concern of staff. Watching the toll of dementia on my dad, and on my mom as his principal caregiver, makes me especially appreciative of the programs that UCH has implemented in recent years. Opening Minds through Art (OMA), Music & Memory and Comfort Matters® are all programs that enrich the lives of our residents with dementia and bring peace of mind to their family members.

These past nine years have been a joy and a privilege to me, working with UCH leadership and other Board members on strategies and programs that will transform aging and strengthen a culture of community, wholeness and peace. Our work is not done, nor will it ever be, but we have made notable progress in the past year and are committed to making more in the year to come.

Cathy Green
Chairperson, Board of Directors

Making an Impact

As part of its core value of transparency, UCH has begun documenting community benefits in three areas:

Creating Abundant Life in Community

Investment in Transforming Aging

Building a Culture of Community, Wholeness and Peace

Staff members track data related to the mission, vision and values by answering questions such as:

“How can we help to build influence in the larger culture and nurture their understanding of Abundant Life?”

“How does our mission lead us into the larger community to help transform aging there?”

“What are the things we do in our communities that contribute to building the culture of community, wholeness and peace, thanks to the philanthropic support of others?”

The results from 2018 show United Church Homes remains committed to transforming the culture from ageist to age friendly.

United Church Homes Impact Results from 2018 Infographic

United Church Homes awards Markley with scholarship

Rev. Daniel with Olivia Markley, the first ever recipient of the United Church Homes Scholarship Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes, recognizes Olivia Markley as the first recipient of a new, $1,000 scholarship. Markley is a junior at Bowling Green State University.

MARION – Olivia Markley, a 2018 graduate of Pleasant High School, is the first recipient of a new, $1,000 scholarship from United Church Homes.

The scholarship is open to students from Marion and Wyandot counties who are studying a healthcare-related field. Markley was selected as the first recipient through the Marion Community Foundation scholarship.

Markley is a junior at Bowling Green State University, where she is majoring in social work. She is considering adding a gerontology minor after seeing her great-grandmother, who will turn 93 in June, move into an assisted living community.

“I was able to witness how the staff helped her going through the transition,” Markley said. “I became aware of what I can do to help someone else.”

Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes, said the organization wants to support young people who are considering careers working with older adults.

“This scholarship recognizes students of promise whose academic and personal achievements are most needed in healthcare fields like senior living,” Daniel said. “United Church Homes works with a number of undergraduate and graduate schools to provide internships, field education practicums and summer jobs so we can expose as many young people as possible to careers serving older adults. We call these ‘careers that love you back.’”

United Church Homes employs about 1,800 individuals, and in addition to nursing and other healthcare fields, career opportunities include business administration, social work, marketing and sales, communications and gift planning/advancement.

“Working with older adults is among the most satisfying and emotionally rewarding ways to live out your personal calling,” Daniel said.

For more information about United Church Homes, visit unitedchurchhomes.org.


About United Church Homes:  United Church Homes, headquartered in Marion, Ohio, has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of older adults for more than a century. The faith-inspired nonprofit organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services, with more than 1,800 dedicated staff serving nearly 5,000 residents of all faiths in 75 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.

Media Contact: Alissa Paolella, Communications Coordinator, 740.382.4885 or apaolella@uchinc.org

Heidelberg presents honorary degree to UCH president, CEO

Rev. Daniel presented with an honorary degree from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, OhioTIFFIN, Ohio – Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Heidelberg University as part of the university’s 166th commencement exercises Sunday, May 12.

Rev. Daniel has a connection with Heidelberg. In addition to United Church Homes providing internship opportunities for Heidelberg students, he has twice served as a guest lecturer in the Philanthropy and American Society honors seminar co-taught by President Robert H. Huntington and history professor Dr. David Hogan each fall semester.

A day earlier, Rev. Daniel delivered the keynote sermon, titled “Salt and Light: So What?,” at Heidelberg’s interfaith baccalaureate ceremony.

During his commencement sermon, Rev. Daniel wove together messages from readings from Exodus 3:1 – 12, Galatians 5:13 – 17 and 22 – 25 and Matthew 5:13 – 16, focusing on this passage from Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it under the bushel basket but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Rev. Daniel’s key message to the members of the class of 2019 was to be the light of the world.

“Let your light shine,” he told them. “Let the world see the best you have to offer … let the world experience that unique and passionate energy that comes from your experience at Heidelberg.

“You are part of the Heidelberg legacy to make the world a better place. Go be the salt. Go be the light and let it shine brightly.”

Rev. Daniel presented with an honorary degree from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, OhioUnited Church Homes, headquartered in Marion, Ohio, has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of older adults for more than a century. The faith-inspired nonprofit organization is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living services, with more than 1,800 dedicated staff serving nearly 5,000 residents of all faiths in 75 senior living communities throughout 14 states and two Native American nations. UCH is in covenant with the United Church of Christ and welcomes residents of all faiths.

In all, 208 undergraduates received bachelor’s degrees in arts, science or music, and 59 graduate students received master’s degrees in counseling, education and business administration.


United Church Homes adds Miami Township independent living campus to its Dayton-area network of senior living communities

MARION, Ohio – United Church Homes, an Ohio-based provider of senior living and healthcare services, has acquired an independent senior living community in Miami Township formerly managed by Brookdale Senior Living.

Trinity Community at Miami TownshipThe three-story apartment complex located at 7847 Lois Circle, Dayton (in Miami Township), will become Trinity Community at Miami Township and joins three other United Church Homes communities serving older adults in the greater Dayton market. The community offers independent, one and two-bedroom apartments with ala carte supportive services available for residents.

United Church Homes also operates Trinity Community in Beavercreek, a full-service life plan community, Patriot Ridge Community in Fairborn, offering assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation and long-term care, and Trinity Community at Fairwood, also in Beavercreek, which offers independent living.

“We’re excited to welcome more than 130 residents in Miami Township to United Church Homes and the Trinity family of communities,” said Rev. Kenneth V. Daniel, President/CEO.

“We have a longstanding commitment to the Dayton area and Trinity at Miami Township is a unique addition to our 74 senior living communities nationwide. Its residents are vibrant, active and embrace the UCH culture of living life abundantly each day.”

Residents actively participate in a robust schedule of onsite activities, entertainment, local outings and enjoy daily chef-prepared meals. The community also offers an ala carte menu of personalized services to assist residents with shopping, pet walking, laundry and other needs.

Daniel noted older adults today want to remain active for as long as possible living at home. Having an engaged community of neighbors and an environment that can support changing needs is often the key to maintaining an independent lifestyle.

Residents at the UCH Trinity family of communities have access to higher levels of assistance and healthcare services when they need it, including in-residence hospice services provided through a new partnership, Ohio’s Hospice at United Church Homes.

The nearly 40 staff members at Trinity at Miami Township have been offered employment with United Church Homes.

United Church Homes is one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living and healthcare services for older adults, with 74 senior living communities in 14 states and two Native American nations.


In Memory: Connie Frater

In memory of Connie FraterConnie Frater, manager of Shawnee Springs in Bellefontaine, Ohio, died Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, following a prolonged hospital stay. She had been the manager of Shawnee Springs since it opened in 1995 and helped train many managers over the years. Connie was always willing to help wherever she was needed. “Each of us grieves not only the passing of a kind and wonderful person but also for her family’s loss,” said Cheryl Wickersham, vice president of Housing Services.

Campaign for Abundant Life Winter Update

Campaign for Abundant Life is on pace to reach goal of $20 millionThe Campaign for Abundant Life is increasing in momentum as more individuals, churches and community partners respond with support. 2019 marks year three of the five-year comprehensive campaign. The goal is to raise funds for charitable care, pastoral care, the Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging, updated campuses for long-term care communities and supportive services for affordable housing. To date, United Church Homes has raised over $13.2 million*. Below is a breakdown of funding raised:

Campaign for Abundant Life breakdown of funding

Residents Establish New Endowment at Glenwood Community

New Endowment at Glenwood Community

The Glenwood Community Resident Association, made up of independent living residents, has planted the seed for a new endowment fund.

Earnings from the endowment fund will help underwrite the costs needed to sustain the operations of Glenwood Community.

This fundraising idea came about partly because of the advocacy of residents Roger and Sally Roberts and their interest to lead an initiative with their peers for a fund that would provide sustainability for operations for Glenwood for generations to come.

An anonymous lead gift of $10,000 started the campaign. One way donors can give toward the endowment is through their IRA required minimum distributions, and the fund has received a gift through that manner. To date, the residents have already received over $18,000, including $1,050 in memorial gifts already held by the Resident Association and voted on to give to the endowment.

“I was looking for a vehicle for residents to be able to give back to Glenwood,” Roger said. “With help from UCH Director of Gifts and Grants Alissa Clouse and President and CEO Rev. (Kenneth) Daniel, we were able to get it underway. I’m glad to say that we’re coming along very well. We’ve raised about a quarter of the funds that we’re going to need to meet UCH’s minimum (for endowments) in the prescribed period of time.”

The Resident Association has a goal to raise $50,000 required to initiate an endowment fund over a five-year period.

Roger sees endowments as an excellent way to encourage people to contribute to a cause they believe in.

Supporting Glenwood Community is a cause close to many residents’ hearts.

“Glenwood Community is not a community in name only,” Glenwood Executive Director Linda Dailey said. “Our generous residents have proven this by establishing an endowment to support one another well beyond the immediate future. Their commitment to our community and its future is evidence of the family that grows with (the addition of) each new resident. Their support will carry on past their personal residence at Glenwood. We are grateful for their philanthropy, support and leadership.”

Board Member Profile: Trevor Bates

Trevor Bates, United Church Homes Board Member

Trevor Bates, a member of the United Church Homes Board of Directors, led a session on emotionally intelligent leadership at the 2018 UCH Leadership, Education, Achievement, Development, Success (LEADS) class. Born and raised on the west side of Chicago, Trevor has a long history in academia and shared his expertise with LEADS participants.

Trevor grew up in an impoverished and high crime area of Chicago. His immediate family relocated to Kansas City, Kansas, when he was about 12 years old, to seek a better life.

“We experienced many years of personal challenges, but we always knew that God was with us and for us,” Trevor said.

After earning a high school diploma from Summer Academy of Arts and Sciences and an International Baccalaureate certificate in biology, mathematics and Spanish, Trevor went to Millikin University in Illinois, majoring in athletic training. Trevor served as a teaching assistant, student worker and manager of the fitness center. He graduated magna cum laude. He later earned a Master of Science in kinesiology with an emphasis in sports medicine from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As a graduate assistant, Trevor taught undergraduate courses, provided clinical athletic training services to the Wheelchair Sports programs and served as a predoctoral fellow, assisting with administrative tasks related to athletic training assessment and accreditation within the College of Community Health and Kinesiology.

Trevor earned a Doctor of Health Sciences with a concentration in leadership and organizational behavior from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.

Since June 2017, he has served as vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty at Mercy College of Ohio in Toledo. Trevor is also an associate professor of health sciences at the college.

Trevor has a special interest in professional development of all staff. Other interests include pain perception and associated healthcare choices; emotional intelligence assessment in hiring; and leadership decision making and perspectives.

Trevor joined the UCH Board of Directors in February 2017 after learning about the organization from Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO.

“Rev. Daniel described the mission and vision of UCH and the role of the Board, and I was very intrigued,” Trevor said. “I have visited communities and gotten to know several outstanding staff members through my previous professional academic role at Heidelberg University (in Tiffin, Ohio), preparing students seeking internships as they were pursuing a career in the healthcare field. Rev. Daniel asked me to consider becoming a member of the Board, and I was very honored to be invited to serve. After conversations with my wife and prayer, I enthusiastically accepted.”

United Church Homes is committed to developing new leaders who can advance to roles of greater responsibility and chart new and interesting career paths. This can lead to better employee retention. The first LEADS class completed the program in October 2016.

UCH partners with the Alber Enterprise Center at Ohio State University at Marion to offer the class annually.

At LEADS, Trevor put into practice his interest in developing future leaders to support organizational culture and succession planning. He learned about the opportunity when the first group of LEADS graduates presented to the Board. Trevor provided practical information learned through his research and experiences.

“I may have enjoyed the session as much, if not more, than the participants,” Trevor said. “We had some great conversations and the group was very engaged.

“The most fulfilling part of being on the Board is being a part of an organization where the love for Christ and what he did to serve others is the most important thing on everyone’s mind as we engage in discussions, planning and taking actions on behalf of the organization,” Trevor said.

Trevor’s goal is to find ways to use the gifts God gave him to contribute to a group of very talented and accomplished Board members.

Reflections on Love at the End of Life

Dr. Ira ByockThis blog is the third in a series of reflections from the third annual Symposium with Dr. Ira Byock on Oct. 12, 2018, Abundant Aging Through the End of Life. It was written by Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging intern Emily Howard. To subscribe to the weekly blog, visit abundantaging.org.

Julia’s husband had been a Presbyterian minister, who she met at seminary. When I met Julia, I was an undergraduate, and she was in her 90s, aging with faith and clarity about her life’s rootedness in community, history and hope.

She spoke often of her relationship with Rev. Wilson, her late husband. I will never forget the memory she treasured, of the “kind providence” that Rev. Wilson felt had brought them together. Their love was evidently a big one — love of the kind that shapes surrounding lives into better ones, just by being near it.

A love like that also shapes others in its last stage. Though I am sure the Wilsons’ relationship was imperfect (which, as Symposium speaker
Dr. Ira Byock noted, all relationships are) — there was much about Julia’s recollections of their marriage that shaped my values as a young person. As Julia shared her story, I saw ways that, even in approaching death, their love created abundant life.

Julia reflected deeply on the time of approaching the loss of her beloved, able to share what had helped her cope. She taught me a favorite prayer — the prayer of St. Francis — and often quoted the Scripture text that sustained her: from Philippians 4:6-7, St. Paul’s wise advice, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I was struck by their family’s facing of death with courage — which, to be sure, is not the absence of fear, but the facing of it. Her husband, in her recollection, was able to say goodbye in his last conscious days to the family that mattered deeply to him. To his daughter, he could say, “I’m proud of you.” To his wife, he could say, “I love you.”

Ira Byock’s description of his work in hospice care includes reflections on, “The Four Things that Matter Most.” His experience has shown that simply to be able to connect around the simple words that we all need to say and to hear can influence our endings in incredible ways — including those words that Rev. Wilson, Julia and their daughter exchanged, “I love you.” At the end of life, we need the words, “I love you,” “I forgive you,” “I’m proud of you,” and “Thank you.” Many Symposium participants were quick to note how much those words mean today, throughout a lifetime, not only at its close.

United Church Homes and Ohio’s Hospice Join Forces To Expand Care

United Church Homes and Ohio's Hospice are working together to improve well-being for older adultsUnited Church Homes and Ohio’s Hospice are teaming up to form a new nonprofit joint venture Medicare-certified hospice program.

United Church Homes residents needing hospice and palliative care soon can receive services provided by Ohio’s Hospice at United Church Homes while remaining in the comfort of their community. The new partnership aims to expand service offerings, improve care coordination and provide individuals facing serious illness with improved care.

“Our goal was to form a strategic alliance with Ohio’s leading nonprofit provider of hospice, palliative care and chronic disease management services to improve the scope and quality of care for residents,” said Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes. Each organization brings unique strengths, established reputations and networks that create exciting possibilities, such as future expansion into inpatient and home- and community-based hospice services.

UCH is a leading provider of healthcare services and residential housing for nearly 5,000 older adults. It works to transform care and aging through innovative programs and partnerships, and by building a culture of community, wholeness and peace.

Dayton-based Ohio’s Hospice is an affiliation of nine nonprofit hospice organizations in Ohio committed to increasing access and service offerings to reduce suffering, pain, helplessness and unwanted waiting for people in need of hospice, palliative care and chronic disease management services.

“This partnership will improve well-being for older adults who choose hospice and palliative care when they are seriously ill or approaching end of life,” said Chuck Mooney, senior vice president of senior living services and COO of United Church Homes. “It’s more compassionate to keep residents in a comfortable setting, with care teams they know, and provide additional services as needs change.

“This new coordinated care model also creates peace of mind for families who want to support their loved ones who are in declining health,” Chuck added.

“Working together, Ohio’s Hospice and United Church Homes will establish new benchmarks in care for Ohio seniors, ensuring Ohio communities have access to a comprehensive continuum of care and world-class end-of-life, palliative and chronic disease management care,” said Kent Anderson, president and CEO of Ohio’s Hospice. “Each organization brings expertise, resources and a shared commitment to the people we will serve through this dynamic joint venture.”

Services through Ohio’s Hospice at United Church Homes will be available first in the Dayton, Ohio, area at UCH’s Trinity and Fairwood Village communities in Beavercreek and Patriot Ridge Community in Fairborn. Over time, services will be offered at all Ohio UCH senior living communities and in their surrounding areas.

Green Community on Top of the Cumberland Plateau


Living with Purpose at Uplands Village

Uplands Village has a long tradition of health and environmental activism, starting with founder Dr. May Cravath Wharton. Many Uplanders are change agents in the larger Cumberland County community, and some of this volunteer work is guided by the Uplands Board of Directors’ Environmental Quality Committee, nicknamed the Green Team.

Founded in 2015, the Green Team focuses on tangible steps that Uplands can take to support the health of residents, staff members and the environment. Committee members research and present information about best practices to improve the health of the environment and anyone who steps foot on the 500-acre campus.

The committee is cochaired by Dr. Marie Fortune and Dennis Gregg.

Projects that came to fruition in 2017 included the implementation of a robust recycling program to reduce the cost of waste management at Uplands Village; a new policy to prohibit use of pesticides and herbicides by Uplands staff members and vendors; and a buffer policy to protect the wetlands, lakes, pond and streams on the campus. The committee began working to live in harmony with the beaver population that has returned to the region and is working on an initiative to improve storm water management through environmentally friendly or green practices.

Recycling at Uplands Village

The recycling program in rural Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, is a model program for the state. Even though the community is small, with a population of just 500, Uplands provides curbside recycling pickup.

That is unheard of in the state of Tennessee, committee member Dr. Anne Ganley said, particularly given the rural nature of the area.

“That is all because of the longtime environmental activism and volunteerism here,” she said. “Uplanders work, volunteer and give on behalf of a healthy environment.”

The 2017 recycling initiative involved setting up recycling sites campuswide so staff members would have places to recycle as well. It is a cost-saving initiative that also helps the environment and improves the health of residents and staff.

“We’ve had a very high rate of recycling by residents because that’s been a longtime concern for them,” Anne said. “Now, we are working to change practices at Uplands’ organization-owned buildings.”

The recycling project was a multistep initiative launched last year. Planning began in late 2016. The next phase will be to evaluate how the program is working and to adjust as needed.

Protecting Our Waters and Ourselves

The board, armed with research provided by the Green Team, passed a policy in 2017 to prohibit the use of pesticides and herbicides by Uplands’ staff and vendors. They invite residents who own property to attend educational events that encourage the elimination of toxic chemicals because of the health hazards to residents and staff and the potential impact on the waters.

“It’s not about controlling individual residents on their property, although we invite them to participate,” Anne said, adding the committee hopes Uplands Village will lead by example.

Buffer Policy

Related to that initiative was a new board policy to create a buffer around the waters on the Uplands campus, including the pristine Lake Laura and Lake Alice. When the board saw that Lake Laura was beginning to degrade rapidly, due in part to a 2016 drought, it passed a policy to create a natural buffer zone that acts as a filter for the lakes and improves the health of the water. Mowing and applying chemicals around the lakes are prohibited.

Through the water quality effort, the Green Team found that beavers, which had returned to the area in recent years, provide a lot of free maintenance for the lakes. The challenge has been to address flooding and chewing of desirable trees, but the plan to coexist in a productive way with the beavers is underway.

“That’s just part of keeping the environment healthy, which also keeps us, as residents and employees, healthy as well,” Anne said.

In 2018, Uplands began addressing stormwater runoff, a major challenge on campus. The Green Team began with an assessment and shared best practices that increase the ability of the land to absorb the water, rather than damaging Uplands Village or resident properties.

The committee will also continue to look for alternative energy options like solar panels for future construction to increase energy efficiency.

“We are continuing our focus in 2019, through environmental sustainability and stewardship, not only to provide a healthier community but also to save money,” Anne said. “In this day and age, this is true for all communities as we try to be cost effective and manage our resources well.”

To this end, residents and staff members alike are invited to “come build with us a green community on top of the Cumberland Plateau,” Anne said.

UCH Honors Recipients with Awards for Leadership, Dedication and Values

Late fall of 2018 proved a time to lift up those who embody the spirit of United Church Homes, as eight individuals accepted awards for their exemplary service to UCH.

“We have a passion for developing and supporting leadership here,” President and CEO Rev. Kenneth Daniel said. “We’ve been blessed over the years with people giving time and talent, as volunteers, donors and staff, and we value this time to recognize their impactful contributions to our organization.”

Rev. Dr. Robert Diller Legacy Leadership Award – Rev. John Rainey

John Rainey Rev Dr Diller AwardThe Legacy Leadership Award is named after the late Rev. Dr. Robert Diller, who joined the UCH Board of Directors in 1945. Over the next 31 years, he helped move the organization from a single location that served 125 residents to include five communities serving over 800 individuals. Rev. Diller served as the first president and CEO of United Church Homes. The award honors those whose leadership commitment to UCH echoes Rev. Dr. Diller’s high levels of vision, perseverance and faith.

Rev. John Rainey is the second recipient of the award, and like Rev. Dr. Diller, his service to UCH has spanned decades, starting in the mid-1940s when he was a young boy. He and his family supplied canned food from their garden to the Evangelical and Reformed Home for the Aged in Upper Sandusky, Ohio (currently known as UCH’s Fairhaven Community). Fast-forward to 1970 when John decided to run for the UCH Board. He secured the spot and spent the next 24 years as a Board member, once serving as secretary, which he considered one of the most challenging and enjoyable jobs he’s had.

Through the years, John also had the opportunity to forge a relationship with one of UCH’s greatest benefactors, Ruth Frost Parker. Ruth, who was on the UCH Board with John, didn’t drive, so he transported her to and from Board meetings. The time spent together resulted in many enlightening and enjoyable conversations. A few years later, John attended the groundbreaking of UCH’s Parkvue Community in Sandusky, Ohio, where he now resides with his husband, Gene Finnegan. To this day, John’s service to United Church Homes continues. Together with Gene, he volunteers at the front desk and serves as an ambassador to new residents. The two also host Parkvue’s Happy Hour, deliver mail to residents and give campus tours upon request. John is also an accomplished quilter and makes teddy bears as gifts.

On top of all that, Parkvue Director of Resident Services Shannon Graver said, “Gene and John walk the halls or campus (depending on weather) for exercise every day and report anything that should be brought to my attention.

“I genuinely love those two,” she added. “They are wonderful advocates for UCH and also a great support to me!”

President’s Award of Distinction – Rev. Beth Long-Higgins

The President’s Award of Distinction honors people within UCH who significantly advance its mission to transform aging by building a culture of community, wholeness and peace.

“The purpose is to celebrate people who have done something of such merit and impact that it creates transformative change in some way,” Rev. Daniel said.

This is certainly true of Rev. Beth Long-Higgins.

Beth Long Higgins Pres Award of DistinctionBeth’s long history with United Church Homes began in the late 1960s at Chapel Hill Community when her church hosted one month’s birthday celebrations for residents. In 1974, her grandparents moved into Chapel Hill, living there until their deaths in 1981. For many years, Beth and her husband served as copastors at David’s United Church of Christ in Canal Winchester. One reason they were interested in the congregation was because of its involvement with United Church Homes’ leadership. Beth spent six years on the UCH Board, chairing the housing and long-range planning committees. In 2013, she joined the UCH staff as director of church and community relations. Now she’s the executive director of the Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging.

During Beth’s tenure, she led the reinvigoration of UCH’s relationships with churches that have historically supported and formed UCH communities. Also in the years since Beth joined the staff, the organization developed its mission, vision and core values, which Beth helped write. More recently, she constructed the Community Benefits Program that encourages and records how each UCH community engages with their greater local communities.

Rev. Daniel surprised Beth with the award, saying, “Perhaps no one is more deserving of this award than Beth.”

LUV Awards – United Church Homes Staff Members

The Living UCH Values (LUV) Award honors staff members who every day demonstrate the highest commitment to United Church Homes’ core values of compassion, hospitality, respect, integrity, stewardship and transparency. Nominations for the award come from fellow staff members, supervisors, volunteers, friends or family members.

The 2018 winners include Monica Smiley and Linda Bell, Chapel Hill Community; Sharon Frisch, Fairhaven Community; Barb Mugrage, Harmar Place; Kevin Sanders, Parkvue Community; and Jen Wilson, Trinity Community.

“We are pleased to honor these outstanding staff members for their dedication to their residents and all those they come into contact with,” said Alyson Issler, corporate director of human resources.

LUV Award Winners 2019