From the Board Chair

Happy New Year from the Board and staff of UMA! Over Christmas, I thought about all of our members and how the Christmas season is brighter, warmer and more survivable for many children, adults and families due to your spirit-filled outreach throughout the communities of our country.

As we move into 2018, it is a good time to reflect on last year. As UMA Board Chair, I believe UMA has been blessed by a passionate, driven staff and committed Board, and our growth is linked to a growing number of engaged members and sponsors. In 2017, during her first year, our CEO Mary Kemper traveled throughout the country visiting current and former members. She has persevered to implement many new exciting initiatives. For example, regional educational events and an annual meeting were held at member organizations in Charlotte, North Carolina; Boulder Colorado; St Louis, Missouri and Germantown, Maryland. For the first time, these workshops were aligned with EAGLE principles as we highlight and strengthen best practices that are rooted in Wesleyan values.

In many of your organizations, new leaders are stepping forward to strengthen and grow your UMA by volunteering their time and talents. This past year, two new Board committees were created to increase member engagement.  The EAGLE Accreditation Commission is actively transforming and strengthening EAGLE to serve as a dynamic process for members seeking a clear path to accreditation. We were excited to recently accredit two non-United Methodist faith-based organization Shell Point Retirement Community and Presbyterian Home for Children. We have also just launched new logo and brand looks for UMA and EAGLE. A major communication campaign is underway to strengthen the visibility of UMA.

Due to the additional networking opportunities created by the educational events, newsletter and social media, we are also seeing many examples of member organizations connecting to learn from each other. Our agency, United Methodist Family Services of Virginia, has benefited from Marlin Livingston, CEO, of Cunningham Children’s Home visiting us to learn more about our affordable housing for seniors. In early January, I will be traveling with three of my senior leaders to Cunningham in Urbana, Illinois and Chaddock in Quincy, Illinois to tour their residential and school programs as we prepare to launch a major capital campaign to upgrade our campus.

I mention this as one example of some innovative initiatives that are occurring between many of our members. UMA is a unique, faith-based association gives us an opportunity to network on a deeper relational level that is sometimes more difficult at larger association meetings. We are in the trenches together!

I look forward to seeing each of you in Nashville in April 16-17 for the UMA Annual Meeting. Wear your boots as together we will two-step through 2018!

Greg Peters
President/Chief Executive Officer
United Methodist Family Services