A meet and greet with new Executive Director Kevin Ward
Q: You’ve had an incredible, well-rounded journey. How has it shaped you?
My journey started back when I was a little boy growing up in Southern Virginia. I would tell [my mother] that I was going to be a minister. I’ve done many things, but I think that has been core to my work journey. From graduating college, going into business, and being trained at some of the world’s largest companies, to being an entrepreneur, to working with nonprofits, there’s always been this combination of doing good in the world, bringing people along, and doing their best work. At end of the day, it’s all about impact.
Q: When you reflect on the Interfaith Outreach mission, what inspires you the most?
The mission of Interfaith to me is very holistic. First of all, it puts the community at the center — and then responds to that emergency need. And I think when you have communities that are willing to come together on behalf of other community members in a way that really engages the community, but also provides some of those essential needs for the community, I think it’s powerful and it’s a place I want to be. But the mission didn’t stop there. I think that’s what really intrigued me is that it focuses on families’ ability to thrive in the community. And it’s that thrive piece that I think really is compelling to me.
Q: How do you hope to build on the great services and legacy of the last 40 years?
First of all, thank you for your hard work over the last 40 plus years and the impact that you’ve had. It’s my desire to come alongside you to continue that great work. We’re going to double down on that work and continue the commitment of building thriving communities. And, I know that as the new leader coming in, I need each and every one of you to help continue to do this great work. We can do this together.
When I think about Interfaith supporters, I think about the staff and partners. The one thing we all have in common is to serve families and meet their basic needs. Sometimes we don’t understand these needs. And, having that continued passion to love our families and support them, regardless of the situation that they find themselves in at the end of the day, is what makes a community so strong and vibrant, and this community is strong and vibrant. We want to continue to build on that.
Q: What else would you like the Interfaith Outreach community of supporters to know about you?
It’s going to be important that I take my time and get to know the stories and learn some of the experiences and really gather the wisdom of the community. Growing up, my family would have been one of the families that would have certainly benefited from the services in which Interfaith and our partners offer. My mom was a very young mom. She was 13 when she had me and that constituted a lot of struggle. And if it wasn’t for the services and the good-hearted nature of the community in which we lived, things could have turned out very differently, but it’s with that same gratitude that I enter this work.
I enter it with a heart for the people, wanting to see families succeed no matter what the challenges. And so as I come to serve alongside of each and every one of you, my story allows me to humanize each and every family to really empathize with their struggle. But you know what the good news is, we’re not going to leave them there in that struggle. We’re going to move alongside them to a place of thriving. And I think that’s indicative of my story.