John Keuffer Has a Vision For Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center is one veteran CEO’s take on how to save and transform lives! John has committed his vocational life to families in need in Cincinnati, OH. He utilizes emergency resources of food and clothing to plant the seeds of Hope, Dignity and a Brighter Future for those experiencing extreme poverty cycles.
John is the CEO of Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center established in 1963 in a Cincinnati suburb called The Village of Wyoming.
The organization was loosely created as a partnership of several faith-based ministries in the area as a way to more succinctly and collectively help the needs of the poor and alleviate the demands for assistance on each of the faith-based groups. The Pastor’s and congregations felt overwhelmed by the need and requests and wanted a more coordinated and effective way to help.
In March of 1989, this organization filed for and obtained its 501(c)(3) status and operated out of various church basements as the need for more space arose. The organization functioned similar to that of a church committee.
In 1995, the agency moved in to space purchased by a local donor. This donor purchased the property in the name of his own nonprofit to offer Valley Interfaith and other nonprofits an operational facility in which they could serve the community at or below fair market rental rates.
John Keuffer Has a Vision For Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center
In 2017, after several Executive Director’s at the helm, John Keuffer came to Valley Interfaith out of retirement with over 30 years of nonprofit management and leadership experiences locally and across the nation.
Keuffer acknowledges that the challenge of a smaller and relatively unknown agency appealed to him. He wanted gauge the mark he could make on the overall agency mission and vision, effectively from the ground up.
Keuffer has built a reputation as someone who can help turn dysfunctional nonprofits in to functional social service agencies. Keuffer has run start up non-profits, celebrity and professional athlete foundations and large multi-million dollar agencies over his thirty-year career.
“Valley Interfaith presented an opportunity to work more closely with those we serve and to be able to see if we could move the needle with my efforts.” Keuffer commented.
Having just retired from a larger agency in which he was nationally recognized for his work in transforming dysfunction to dynamic; Mr. Keuffer took over the reigns of Valley Interfaith which had been without an Executive Director for over a year.
John was named Executive Director in 2017. Prior to accepting the post, the Board representatives stated they wanted to change their present operational practices and have the board back away from the day-to-day operational lanes they were heavily involved in. Keuffer soon learned that although they may have dreamt about stepping away, the reality of that was a difficult process and a process in which they were not fully ready to embrace.
The agency had several pressing issues to contend with that included outdated accounting practices, failure to file timely and appropriate government filings, lack of financial transparency and a dying donor base. To add to this obstacle, Keuffer learned they were facing a large deficit.
Keuffer spent his time working to bridge the gap of the deficit in 2017 by enlisting donors and friends he had gathered over the years. He helped recruit new board members with financial acumen and had prior board experience with clear knowledge of governance versus operational roles.
Keuffer had assembled a small but committed team of friends and donors who helped to begin to reshape, eliminate and disinfect organizational dysfunction. By 2019, Valley Interfaith had received it’s first BBB Accreditation by meeting all of their 21 Charitable Standards and have maintained accreditation ever since.
With the internal organizational changes came challenges to improve Valley Interfaith’s ability to meet it’s mission of helping our community members live a self-sustaining life. Many of those served by Valley Interfaith, have become generational clients; passing poverty traits down from generation to generation.
Valley Interfaith was positioned to be able to create life-changing impact as a result of the good will it had with those it served. Unfortunately, the agency never looked passed their very basic activity of ‘giving away free food and clothing’. Systemically, the agency operated like a faith-based subcommittee that placed significant emphasis on ensuring volunteers ‘felt good’. “I came to do good and that in the long run is better than feeling good.” Keuffer commented.
Keuffer began to change the paradigm from what makes us feel good to what is it we need to do good that will change the lives of those we serve and not create an ongoing ‘adoption’ mentality that feeds generational need.
To that end, the culture is focused on using food, clothing and staff/volunteer interactions as engagement tools for building rapport and learning the deeper root causes of our clients poverty cycle.
With this information, the staff can triage root causes and begin to make connections with partner agencies that are better suited to offer deeper support services to address those obstacles. Valley Interfaith has become the ‘triage’ center for social issues impacting poverty and food insecurity.
In 2022, Valley Interfaith saw massive need. In prior years, they would have serviced an average of 4,500 – 5,500 people in a year. With immigration and a new paradigm, Valley Interfaith served over 17,000 people. This increase came from expanded service areas and an increase in the immigrant population.
In 2023, Valley Interfaith surpassed all historical data records by providing emergency resources of food, clothing and seasonal support to include: Back to School and After the Pack (financial literacy) programs to over 30,000 individuals.
As we enter 2024, Valley Interfaith is poised and focused on a 3-year Comprehensive Campaign. The plan is to ensure that the agency walks on two legs: Financial Stability and Outcome Viability. This will position us to not only survive but thrive and lead the way in the efforts for those experiencing poverty cycles.
Keuffer knows that there is more work to be done; however, Valley Interfaith is being rebuilt from the ground up to meet the new challenges with a more determined vision and leadership.
For more information on Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, please visit www.vicrc.org
John Keuffer Has a Vision For Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center was first posted at 501c3.Buzz
Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center
420 W Wyoming Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45215
(513) 821-3233 [email protected]