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Georgia United Methodist Foundation Announces Changes to Finance Team

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he Georgia United Methodist Foundation announced that Carol Johnston will succeed Russell Jones as SVP, CFO and treasurer.

The Georgia United Methodist Foundation announced Carol Johnston as its senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. Johnston, who currently serves as associate vice president and controller for the Foundation, will succeed Russell Jones upon his retirement on June 30, 2024.

The Foundation is working to fill the controller position and further enhance its financial expertise.

Johnston will assume responsibilities currently held by Jones on July 1, 2024. In addition to 13 years of experience as the Foundation’s associate vice president and controller, Johnston is a former CPA and brings more than 35 years of experience in non-profit work and a distinguished background in banking to the CFO role. 

As tenured members of the Foundation’s finance team, Johnston and Jones have worked together for more than a decade.  As of April 1, the Foundation has 234.7 million dollars under management due in large part to the partnership between Jones and Johnston.

“Russell Jones has served as the financial backbone of the Foundation for 25 years. He has shared his financial talent and business acumen as a steadfast leader of the Foundation. His deep knowledge of software, systems, and financial instruments has served the Foundation well during his tenure. He has helped shepherd the Foundation through many significant changes and his counsel will be greatly missed.” Katrina Voegtlin, Chairperson of the GUMF Audit/Finance Committee. 

Under Jones’ leadership, the Foundation introduced its loan program which currently has over 42 million in loans throughout the state of Georgia.

“In addition to 25 years with the Foundation, Russell served seven years as assistant treasurer of the NGA Conference.

“We hope that they will enjoy may years together in the North Georgia mountains!” said Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley, President and CEO of the Foundation.

For more information about the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, contact Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley at elizabethch@gumf.org

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Doing Good

Water at Work Ministry Partners with House of Light Orphanage

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Water at Work Ministry, an Atlanta-based charitable organization is proud to announce its partnership with House of Light Orphanage.
This is Pastor Lucas who opened the house of light orphanage in 2006 with the goal to care for his own child with disabilities and others who could not receive care elsewhere. Pictured with his is Water at Work’s Executive Director Dan Blevins (a Peachtree Corners resident).

Water at Work Ministry, an Atlanta-based charitable organization dedicated to providing clean water solutions to communities in the Dominican Republic, is proud to announce its partnership with House of Light Orphanage, a haven of care and education to 40 orphans with disabilities.

Together, these faith-based organizations are inaugurating a sustainable water production business to ensure access to safe water for the orphanage residents and the surrounding communities in Ciudad Juan Bosch.

This business will help sustain House of Light’s mission to provide nurture and education to children, many of whom have experienced physical and cognitive challenges since birth and abandonment by their families. 

A dedication and grand opening ceremony for the water plant was held on Tuesday, May 14, with representatives attending from Water at Work Ministries, Rotary International, Be an Angel Foundation, the local Bella Vista Rotary Club, House of Light Orphanage and the local community.  

With the opening of Water at Work’s new sustainable water plant, the House of Light Orphanage will have a consistent and reliable source of clean water to meet the needs of the orphans and the surrounding community, ensuring access to water that is safe for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.

The plant has a production capacity of 5,500 gallons per day, and is designed to be a sustainable business that will generate revenue through water sales. Clean water will be produced and affordably sold in five-gallon bottles in the surrounding communities.

Profits generated by the water business will defray the orphanage’s expenses, thereby contributing to its continued viability and moving it toward financial independence. 

This project is just one more example of how this Atlanta-based nonprofit organization is working to empower and elevate local economies in the Dominican Republic.

Over the past decade, Water at Work has established eight fully-functioning water plant businesses across the DR. Each partners with local churches with the goal of meeting people’s physical needs through water and their spiritual needs through the Living Water of Jesus. 

While many people think of the DR’s pristine beaches and resorts, locals know that poverty is rampant in many parts of the country and countless people have limited access to basic needs, including clean water. With the ongoing crisis in neighboring Haiti, ministries like Water at Work are more needed now than ever before. 

“The partnership between House of Light Orphanage and Water at Work represents a significant step forward in addressing the critical need for clean water in underserved communities,” says Water at Work Executive Director, Dan Blevins, resident of Peachtree Corners. 

“By leveraging sustainable technology and innovative solutions, both organizations will make a tangible, life-giving difference,” he added. 

Water at Work Ministry 
Email: audrie@wateratworkministry.org 
Phone: 404-465-1447

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Community

Changes at Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries Help Further Community Mission

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Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries vegetable truck

Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries has been battling poverty, food insecurity and homelessness, among other crisis events, in southwest Gwinnett, for 27 years. In total, NCM served more than 25,000 individuals in 2023, through direct support and personal empowerment programs.

Over time, the county’s demographics have changed, meaning the organization has needed to adapt to serve the community.

Families now face long-term needs due to fixed incomes, homelessness, abuse, language barriers, single-parent homes and many other circumstances, according to the NCM website.

NCM now serves 50 to 70 families each day from a 12,000-square-foot facility. In addition to a food pantry, NCM offers job readiness classes, on-site hiring events, money management courses and regular health fairs.

A new course of leadership

Perhaps one of the biggest changes took effect this January. After almost 30 years of service to NCM, Executive Director Shirley Cabe will now give her primary focus to what she loves the most, the organization’s clients.

Cabe has been with NCM since its inception and has helped grow the organization tremendously as needs in this service area have drastically changed.

NCM’s Board of Directors supported Cabe’s request and developed a new role specifically for her. She will now serve as Director of Client Operations, allowing her to use her exceptional gifts and talents to serve those in need.

Additionally, Cabe will lead the expansion of the food program as refrigerated products will be added to client food offerings. Healthier food options such as protein, produce, reclaimed food and more will also be added.

“Healthier intake directly correlates to improved health and more productivity,” said Cabe in a news release. “This new initiative is huge for the clients we serve. We want to positively contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty. I am excited about the opportunities ahead for NCM and grateful to transition into this new role, focusing on more impactful service to our clients.”

With Cabe’s new role, former Director of Community Relations Ryan Jones will take over as Executive Director.

Jones has been with NCM for three years. Under Jones’ leadership, the organization held its most successful fundraising event to date, bringing in over $519,000 to continue its mission of making a difference one family at a time.

“Building out our team and people is the next step in the process,” said Jones. The big thing with the staffing change is just honoring Shirley and her years at this organization and allowing her to serve people, which is the heartbeat of our organization; that’s how she best serves–interacting with our clients in our community.”

Cabe’s larger role in the food program will help keep it running smoothly, he added.

There is already an established pickup schedule from Publix and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Jones explained that about 40% of food in the United States is wasted.

With new resources in place to access surpluses from supermarkets, restaurants, distributors, farmers and more, NCM can put a sizeable dent in southwest Gwinnett county’s share of the waste.

“We hope to use food as a resource, as we have more touch points with families that we see. So, as things come up in their lives, they’re seeing us more often, and we can step in when unexpected emergencies happen and try to address kind of the issues that have brought them to us in the first place,” Jones explained. “And with that comes just a lot more work.”

Dedicated board members

Les Harper, who succeeded Elizabeth Gross, has taken over as chairman of the board of directors to help with the vision for that work.

“My wife and I have been involved with Neighborhood Coop for a long time, volunteered through the church, and supported financially through the church over the years,” said Harper.

When I retired from working a couple of years ago and was looking for opportunities to give back to the community … one thing led to another, and I had the opportunity to join the board,” he added. “I started on the board a couple of years ago, and then last year, I was asked if I would consider stepping into the board chair role [this year], which I was excited to do.”

Harper’s experience on the board and working closely with Gross for an entire year allowed him to step in almost seamlessly into the new position.

“Elizabeth and I had a chance to work together in some leadership roles at church over the years. So, we have chaired and co-chaired a number of things over the years,” he said.

“For the past 12 months, she’s been great at including me in everything and making sure that I was up to speed on everything, fully involved, and ready to go,” he said.

Anyone involved in large-scale non-profit activities appreciates the time, energy, and resources that go into community organizing. To be good stewards of community trust, funds and well-being, NCM has focused on making operations run smoothly.

“NCM is definitely a feet-washing ministry, especially with the food. … A lot of times it’s heavy, and it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s well worth it,” Jones said. “I’m moving from strictly fundraising to overseeing all aspects of the organization and strategic oversight of all the initiatives that we have going on. … I was born in Gwinnett County. “So, really, the big reasons that I left my corporate job to come to NCM is how impressed I was with the board and the staff when I met them before coming on and the fact that it serves an area where I grew up that has a lot of need,” he commented.

Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries
500 Pinnacle Ct
Norcross, GA 30071
www.ourncm.org
770-263-8268

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Faith

Rev. Fr. Edgar Otero Joins Christ Church Episcopal in Norcross

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Rev. Fr. Edgar Otero was born in Puerto Rico and relocated to the mainland 23 years ago.  He is married to Marycelis and has two children.
Rev. Fr. Edgar Otero

Christ Church Episcopal, off Holcomb Bridge Rd in Norcross, is pleased to announce that Rev. Fr. Edgar Otero will be joining the parish beginning January 3, 2024.

Father Edgar was born in Puerto Rico and relocated to the mainland 23 years ago.  He is married to Marycelis and has two children, Eliam Manuel, age 17 and Edgar Ezekiel, age 14.

Father Edgar has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. He also attended Mount St. Mary’s University and Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, and St. Vincent College and Seminary in Latrobe, PA, where he studied at a master’s level in Roman Catholic theology. 

Father Edgar graduated with honors, acquiring a master’s in divinity with a certificate in Anglican/Episcopal Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. 

Father Edgar served on the Vestry of St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, his home parish, as a seminarian at Grace Episcopal Church for four years, as a teacher and Chaplain at St. Benedict’s Episcopal School and as a Priest-In-Charge of St. Anthony’s Episcopal Church in Winder, GA.

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