UCH Presents First President’s Awards of Distinction to Three Key Leaders

MARION, Ohio – A member of the United Church Homes Board of Directors and two leadership team members received the nonprofit organization’s first President’s Awards of Distinction from Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO, for exceptional initiative, creativity, and innovation.

Rev. Daniel presented the awards to board member and Governance Committee Chair Sue Ellis, Vice President of Human Resources Scott Slutz, and Vice President of Housing Cheryl Wickersham during the first-quarter 2017 board meeting in Marion, Ohio.

Rev. Daniel started the President’s Award of Distinction recognition program to lift up people within the organization 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.

Ellis, a longtime volunteer and philanthropist for United Church Homes, was inspired in November to extend a matching gift challenge to the board, which gives through the annual Board of Directors volunteer leadership appeal. Her match included any increased or new donations if 100 percent participation was reached. The challenge ran Nov. 9 to Dec. 31, during which time over $13,000 was raised, resulting in total annual giving by the board of over $74,000 for the year.

Board member and Governance Committee Chair Sue Ellis receiving an Award of Distinction

Board member and Governance Committee Chair Sue Ellis receiving an Award of Distinction

“That kind of inspirational philanthropy is inclusive of others and challenged others to get even more engaged,” Rev. Daniel said. “As board members, they give so much time and so much effort, and then to have this on top of the annual employee giving campaign — Sue’s challenge heightened that feeling of engagement for so many people.”

Gloria Hurwitz, vice president of advancement and communications, said Ellis’s challenge contributed to historic levels of giving for the organization’s board of directors.

“I appreciate Sue’s leadership that led to unprecedented giving from these valued volunteer leaders,” Hurwitz said.

For Wickersham and Slutz, the award recognized their collaborative efforts to create the first internal leadership program for United Church Homes staff.

The LEADS program — Leadership, Education, Achievement, Development, Success — is the first program of its kind for the organization that builds on a robust professional development program that already includes state and national leadership development programs, tuition reimbursement, and educational loan assistance.

The first LEADS class included 13 staff members from United Church Homes’ Central Office, housing, and senior living communities.

“Scott and Cheryl took an idea and they made it happen,” Rev. Daniel said. “It helps develop people for leadership roles and career advancement. It helps build community, and it incorporates our core values. It’s distinctive because it’s transformative and because it has a concrete application. It’s making an impact now. It unites, as people make friendships across the organization.”

Rev. Daniel said the program also helps staff collaborate, promotes interdisciplinary problem-solving, and creates feelings of self-worth and satisfaction for participants.

“They’re part of something bigger than themselves and they’ve created something amazing and something that’s lasting,” he explained.

About United Church Homes: United Church Homes has been “Celebrating the Spirit” of seniors for a century. The nonprofit, faith-based organization is one of the largest providers of senior living, with more than 1,500 dedicated staff serving 4,500 residents of all faiths in 69 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.

Contact: Tiffany Latta, United Church Homes Communications Department, 740-382-4884, ext. 2012, or tlatta@uchinc.org.