Area Family Promise affiliate names director

When a group of area churches united more than a year ago to address the plight of homeless families in southern Chester County, a member of Unionville Presbyterian Church served as one of dozens of volunteers – a role that piqued her interest in becoming even more involved.

Susan Minarchi

Susan Minarchi

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, the board of directors of Family Promise of Southern Chester County (FPSCC), the organization formed to offer a lifeline to those families, announced the appointment of Susan Minarchi as the nonprofit’s executive director. Minarchi assumed the position a couple of weeks ago and is working toward opening FPSCC this fall.

“I was so impressed with the Family Promise mission and their business model that I wanted to be a part of it,” said Minarchi, who is well-known locally as the board president of the Christian C. Sanderson Museum. “Family Promise has been very successful on a national basis helping families experiencing homelessness. I look forward to working with the board, the case management staff, and the volunteers at the host and support congregations to replicate that success in southern Chester County.”

Under the format of the Family Promise program, which has nearly 200 affiliates nationwide, at least 13 host churches from multiple denominations agree to house a maximum of 14 people in families with children who find themselves homeless. The host church will sign up for one week four times per year.

Using existing facilities, the congregations will provide overnight accommodations, breakfast, a take-out lunch, and dinner to the families, who have been screened for eligibility. During the day, families will be taken by van to a computer-equipped resource center, where they can shower, care for their preschool children, and get information on government programs and job assistance. School-aged children will attend their regular classes.

The resource center, which will serve residents in the Oxford, Avon Grove, Kennett, and Unionville-Chadds Ford school districts, is being transformed into a welcoming hub from a vacant convent in West Grove. The goal of Family Promise is to help families achieve lasting self-sufficiency by providing shelter, meals, and comprehensive support services through a network of church congregations and volunteers until they find sustainable housing.

The four school districts identified nearly 500 schoolchildren as homeless during the 2013-2014 school year, according to county data. Reinforcing the need for Family Promise, no shelters for families exist in southern Chester County.

David Haradon, FPSCC’s board president, said Minarchi brings business expertise and leadership skills from both the nonprofit and corporate arenas to her new position. Her executive experience in the nonprofit sector includes nearly a decade as president of the board of directors of the Sanderson Museum. She also worked for 15 years at DePuy Synthes Companies of Johnson & Johnson, a Fortune 100 company, where she held a variety of roles, most recently leading project teams involved in the design, marketing, and manufacturing of orthopedic medical devices.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Sue’s unique combination of commercial and nonprofit leadership, planning, and management skills to take our organization forward,” said Haradon in a press release. “Her background and experience will be a tremendous asset as we work to achieve our goal of alleviating homelessness in Southern Chester County.”

Family Promise of Southern Chester County is part of a national, nonprofit founded in 1986 with affiliates across the country. To volunteer, make a donation, or provide services, visit Family Promise of Southern Chester County at www.familypromisescc.org or email daveharadon@gmail.com.

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