NEPTUNE – A Future With Hope is welcoming a new executive director and board leadership as it continues forward with its mission to provide renewal for communities across Greater New Jersey.
At a February meeting, the Board of Trustees affirmed the hiring of Richard (Rick) Reinhard as the new Executive Director, elected Rev. Chris Heckert as the new Board chair and Niurca Louis as the Vice Chair.
“I am delighted that Bishop Schol and the Board of Trustees have seen fit to appoint me as Executive Director,” said Reinhard.
Most of Reinhard’s career has been spent working at public-private partnerships that have been dedicated to improving communities. For the past three years he has worked in Washington, D.C. as Chief Administrative Officer of the General Board of Church and Society, the social justice arm of The United Methodist Church.
“This position with A Future With Hope gives me the opportunity to marry my career skills with my Christian beliefs, assisting the local churches of GNJ in improving their properties in sensible yet innovative ways,” said Reinhard.
Reinhard spent more than three decades improving cities, leading organizations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. He has managed Business Improvement Districts and similar Downtown organizations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Buffalo, Richmond, and Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Reinhard served as Chief of Staff to the mayor of Buffalo and Chief Operating Officer of a Toronto-based real estate development corporation. While working as a consultant to Buffalo’s mayor, Reinhard developed the successful Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus; the number one economic development initiative in western New York.
As an adjunct faculty member, Reinhard has taught planning and public policy at six major research universities. With Robert Shibley, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, he co-founded the Urban Design Land Institute, American Institute of Architects, and International Downtown Association.
The depth of this experience will be a great benefit to A Future With Hope. The organization was founded by United Methodists in Greater New Jersey in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to assist in relief and long term recovery efforts and serve as the mission arm of the conference for churches and communities. The 2019-2023 GNJ Strategic Plan calls for the development of 30 Hope Centers in the next five years. Hope Centers are church-based community ministry that meets the needs of the community and serves children, youth, families, seniors and vulnerable populations.
Reinhard continued, “I am in awe of the accomplishments of A Future With Hope over the past few years in its tremendous efforts to assist New Jersey’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy. I think its motto of ‘relief, repair, rebuild, renew’ remains true as the organization moves into its future mission.”
The Board also elected a new slate of officers including Rev. Chris Heckert of Haddonfield UMC as the new Board Chair, replacing Bruce Hartman who has served as Board Chair for the last five years.
“It’s a great privilege to serve in this role,” said Heckert. “I was able to be present at the early stages of A Future With Hope and was a part of imagining this future. Where we’re moving today is not a new direction but continuation of our original vision to move beyond storm relief and into the development and strengthening of our communities.”
Niurca Louis was elected as Vice Chair. She has been an active Board member for the last three years and has served as the Vice President of Prevention Services at Robin’s Nest, Inc. She recently accepted the position of Assistant Commissioner of the Prevention Division of the Department of Children and Families.
“This is great news that we are staying the course and going deeper into our communities to spread hope,” said Bishop John Schol. “I am encouraged by the leadership Richard will bring to this mission and for Chris and Niurca’s new roles on the Board of Trustees. It’s through our work, generosity, and dedication to loving our communities that we will be bearers of hope.”
Greater New Jersey’s Miracles Everywhere Campaign is raising $6.2 million with $1.25 dedicated to A Future With Hope to develop Hope Centers to serve communities with affordable housing, job training and development, and children, youth and social services. To learn how you can be a part of the campaign, visit gnjumc.org/miracleseverywhere or learn more about A Future With Hope at afuturewithhope.org