As featured in the Grace Story Magazine
It’s rare for a multimillion-dollar granting foundation to establish its home in a small-sized town of
20,000 people. But that’s exactly what K21 Health Foundation did when it chose to locate in Winona Lake-Warsaw, Indiana, and serve Kosciusko County. In 1999, the Kosciusko Community Hospital (Indiana) sold its assets and used the $63 million in sales proceeds to create the permanent endowment foundation, K21. Since its inception, K21 has been a forerunner in nonprofit leadership, giving away over $50 million dollars in grants to Kosciusko County nonprofits, municipalities and schools, while growing its initial endowment to $78 million.
At the helm of the organization is Rich Haddad (BS 87, Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management 16), who became the foundation’s second president in 2006. He spends his days doing everything he can to ensure that the foundation’s money is invested responsibly and given away well so that, he says, “it can do the most good.” But although much of his life’s work in nonprofit management has been spent maximizing returns on investments, Haddad’s spent just as much time learning to steward his own gifts and resources for eternal impact.
From a very early age, Haddad recognized the power and importance of the Gospel. When he entered the world, his dad was already a raging alcoholic and his addiction was so debilitating that Haddad’s mom left his dad when Haddad was just two years old. But shortly after his mom left, Haddad recounts God doing the impossible: “It was a miracle conversion. The day he turned his life to the Lord was also the day he was healed from alcoholism.” The miracles kept coming. Within six months, his dad led his mom to the Lord, and they reconciled their marriage.
Haddad grew up hearing his father-turned-pastor tell the story of his healing and redemption. He was anxious to grow in his own faith, and after graduating from high school, he chose Grace College & Seminary where he could be mentored and continue to play sports (golf, tennis and basketball). He majored in business and accounting, and upon graduation, he secured a position with KPMG, one of the top CPA firms in the world.
Eventually, Haddad accepted an offer with SYM Financial Advisors and returned to Warsaw where he amassed more experience in managing investments and ultimately served as SYM’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. In 1996, during his tenure there, Haddad’s father died from cancer at the young age of 58. It caused Haddad to consider whether the impact he was having in his career was as significant as the impact he witnessed his father have for the Kingdom.
“God wanted to show me that I could minister anywhere, but I had to walk through it to believe it,” says Haddad.
He got his chance to work directly in ministry when the church he and his wife Kathy (McGee BS 86) were attending, Warsaw Community Church (WCC), was experiencing a surge in growth. WCC approached Haddad about becoming its executive pastor to oversee finances, management, property acquisition and a new building (his first official role in nonprofit leadership).
It was clear that God had prepared Haddad for this role, and it was his opportunity to pour into the Kingdom through the Church. By 2006, WCC had opened its new building and settled into its new home. Haddad was approached again with another potentially divine appointment in nonprofit leadership. K21, the Kosciusko County foundation that provides grants for health improvement, was looking for a new president and believed Haddad had all the skills needed to lead the foundation.
“I felt like God was calling me back out into the community,” says Haddad. He was confident that it didn’t matter where he was, inside or outside the church, he could make an eternal impact. “It’s amazing to reflect on how God has led me on this journey.”
The late Dr. Mike Grill (BA 67), professor of psychology, and Bill Gordon, professor of business, first exposed Haddad to this thinking. “It’s one of the unique things about Grace,” says Haddad. “My knowledge stacked up against the education of anyone else from any other university, but what I got uniquely at Grace was learning that faith isn’t isolated from work. And the world needs that integration.”
As the president of K21, Haddad and his colleagues, who are also Grace graduates, Holly Swoverland (BSW 08) and Jennifer (Lewis BS 89) Stewart, work to accomplish two things: “We invest the money, and we give it away,” says Haddad simply. “As stewards, we seek to do this well so we can produce as much change and have the largest impact possible in our community.”
Since Haddad has been with the foundation, it has helped fund many Greenway projects, the new YMCA in Warsaw and the Health Services Pavilion. When the coronavirus began to spread quickly in the U.S., K21’s board of directors approved an immediate $100,000 for Haddad to utilize as he and the staff began working with other community leaders and organizations to see where the needs were arising in the county. In addition to supporting basic services within the county, K21 helped relocate the local homeless shelter to a campground, providing masks and supporting lost program and fundraising revenue for many nonprofits.
Over the years, K21’s efforts to advocate for and support the county’s health and wellness have also extended to Grace’s campus, where it has granted funds towards the nursing program, the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, fitness equipment and the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams’ ongoing environmental research.
“Grace is such a valuable asset in our community,” says Haddad. “It attracts hundreds of young people to our community who bring a vibrancy, energy and engagement to our area that is transformative. Additionally, Grace is providing us with a competent and compassionate workforce, graduating students prepared to serve in the healthcare fields in our county.”
Soon, K21 will be just down the hill from the college at the original Billy Sunday Museum — just a few blocks from the campus. Winona Lake and Grace epitomize what K21 desires for the entire county: an active, growing and connected community. “Winona Lake really represents the culture we’re trying to inspire throughout the county and the momentum we’re trying to build,” says Haddad.
Haddad knows that many people are skeptical about the benefits of working and living in small town in rural Indiana. But Kosciusko County doesn’t fit the stereotype. Its economic engine is robust, its educational opportunities are rich, its outdoor activities are numerous, and it’s just a train ride away from Chicago. “It’s the best of all worlds,” says Haddad.
Haddad’s nonprofit management skills were honed during his time in the online nonprofit program;
“In nonprofit work, you start with a passion to help others and make a difference in the world around you. Successful nonprofit leadership, however, must be learned and trained. The Master’s in Nonprofit Management at Grace provides an incredible foundation to carry out a leader’s responsibilities for the unique challenges of managing a nonprofit organization.”
Are you an executive director looking to broaden your knowledge of nonprofit leadership? Learn more about Grace’s online Masters in Nonprofit Management.