Brad Finkeldei, Board President
I am a partner with the law firm of Stevens & Brand, LLP where I focus my practice on litigation, banking, and governmental law. A 1999 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law (Law Review, Order of Coif) and a 1996 graduate of Kansas State University, I earned a degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Economics. While at KSU I served two terms as the Student Body Vice President.
My wife Amy and I have two daughters, Raegan and Chaney. As might be evident from my daughters’ names, I enjoy spending some of my free time dabbling in politics, including serving on the Lawrence Douglas County Planning Commission(past chair). I am also the President of the of the Board of Directors for Ballard Community Services (Ballard Center, Penn House, Brook Creek, Emergency Services Council). Other activities include being a member of the Lawrence Jayhawk Rotary Club (past president and assistant-governor for the Rotary clubs of Northeast Kansas) and Leadership Lawrence (past chair). In the past I have also served as the chair of the City’s Alcohol Tax Fund Committee(past chair), the Douglas County American Red Cross(past chair), and on the School Consolidation Task Force. I currently serve as the Chairman of the Capital Campaign to expand St. John’s Catholic school and as the Chair of Discipleship at the First United Methodist Church.
My name is Brent Hoffman, I am a Financial Advisor by trade and I enjoy fitness, travel, spending time outdoors, and serving my church and community in any way that I can in my free time. I became involved with FPL after I took the opportunity to volunteer at Morning Star Church. I was so blessed by the time I spent with the guests who were in the program at the time, that I decided to seek out ways that I could get more involved with the organization. I talked to Doug Stephens about it, and he recommended me for a board position. Every day that goes by I thank God that I am a part of this ministry and I am convinced that I am at least as blessed as the current and former guests that I have been fortunate to build relationships with during my time with FPL. I love everything about it!!
My Family Promise commitment comes from a passion for my own family far and near and a belief that as Christians we are called to share and receive love and compassion in the world. I am a wife of 45 years to a generous, ethical man and a mother of two beautiful men with two amazing grandsons. I have lived and taught in many places around the country and served as a school principal in three different locations. My BA is in Christian Education; MA in Early Childhood; PhD in Educational Leadership. As a school principal I often worked with families experiencing homelessness who were distraught and, try as they did, often experienced a sense of helplessness. In my retirement, it is a natural choice for me to serve as volunteer coordinator at Plymouth Congregational and to serve on the Family Promise of Lawrence Board. I am grateful and honored to work with the responsible staff, board and families.
God convinced me early on that people of faith need to be about serving those in need. I’ve also known for a long time that I’m happiest serving others. C.S. Lewis put it this way, “The way to know God’s love is to show God’s love.” That has been my experience serving the homeless community in Lawrence. The people I meet and get to know show me and teach me about Jesus. I have learned and benefitted immensely from opportunities to serve on the board of the Salvation Army of Lawrence; the Community Commission on Homelessness; Five Loaves House, a residence for formerly homeless women struggling with mental illness; and, since Joe Reitz invited me to join him in his quest to begin this affiliate in 2008, Family Promise of Lawrence. It’s been a wild ride and a delight to learn and grow with our guests and staff and I am so grateful for the privilege. I am a free-lance journalist and write for Lawrence magazine, Kansas! magazine and other publications. I have served on the board of the Lawrence Schools Foundation and I am a Leadership Lawrence alumna. Bob and I have three grown daughters, two wonderful son-in-laws and one supremely talented and gifted 20-month-old grandson.
Robert C. Dinsdale, M.D
Why do I do this? At first, it was because my eyes had been opened, slowly, to the fact that providing hospitality was the first expression of Jesus’ life on earth. Love your neighbor as yourself kept knocking around inside my head. The result of yielding and letting this be a part of my life has been one of the most intense, profound, amazing encounters with people I have ever had. Seeing a community grow and people sharing needs and showing love for one another gives me an overwhelming sense of how God moves and works in this world. I am an ear, nose and throat, head and neck surgeon in private practice with Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates.
Nancy Reitz, CPA and Ex Officio Treasurer
I’ve been a CPA for Mize Houser and Company since 1990. A mother of five and grandmother of eleven, I built my working career around my family, not the other way around. One of the most satisfying aspects of my career has been the opportunity to provide free accounting and tax services to a number of faith-based non-profit organizations. Family Promise is one of those. What a dynamic organization. A board and executive director that continue to amaze me with their energy and creativity. From committees to the multitude of volunteers at every church involved, Family Promise simply draws people in who want to make a difference in the lives of others. The best part is that families really are being helped to get on their feet and stay there.
We moved to Lawrence in 1963 when I was three years old. My dad was promoted to district manager for the Manor Bread Company based in Westport in Kansas City. Not wanting to live in a “big town” my parents decided to move to Lawrence. After learning he was going to be promoted and transferred again, this time to Dallas, TX, he left the bread company and went to work for the old Meyer’s Dairy as sales manager. He actually delivered milk to Phog Allen before his death. During that time he made a friend in the Breakfast Optimist Club that was a real estate agent who eventually talked dad into leaving the dairy and starting up a real estate company. I entered the business with him in 1983 after I graduated from KU. I’ve been president of Stephens Real Estate, Inc. since 1997.
During my years in Lawrence Public Schools, I remember a time when children with special needs were not allowed to attend public schools. That changed in 1969 and I remember how hard it was for those kids to make the transition. I became friends with many of them through the years which eventually influenced my wife LaDonna and me to adopt and advocate for those with special needs. I’ve served on the boards of many local service groups through the years many of which centers around children and families. This is a faith issue for me.
I was approached by Joe Reitz in 2008 with a new idea for helping homeless families with children. I’d never heard of Family Promise and was skeptical at first. As usual, Joe’s persistence and God’s wisdom made me change my mind and see the value of this incredible program. Through my experience with numerous, wonderful advocacy and community support groups, it is to me the most effective group I’ve worked with. It is a life changing experience for both our guests and our volunteers. We have a very talented and motivated staff and very generous host congregations and volunteers. It works!
I came to Family Promise as a school social worker and member of a supporting congregation. I see daily the struggles of low-income families and their children. When financial stress escalates and parents lose their housing, children suffer emotionally with the anxiety of now knowing where they will find a home. During these transitions, FP offers compassion and support until the parents are able to regain their footing. Family Promise locally is an awesome group of caring volunteers, staff and board members and has offereed me great personal experience in living out God’s love in our community.
I have lived in Lawrence for 10 years and I have two children. I was the coordinator for Victory Bible Church when we served as a host church for LFP. Once that was over for our congregation, my heart’s desire was to serve the Lord through a local ministry. I was on the receiving end of the benevolence of this community during the early years of my divorce, and I wanted to share that blessing with others. God saw fit to put me on the heart of the LFP board. They would not give up on the Lord’s vision for me and asked and asked that I join the LFP board. My position as a board member is to serve, pray, and honor the Lord in all that He has blessed me with, to love as He has loved me.
Joe Reitz, Founder and Board Member, Emeritus
I have been an artillery officer in the USMC, worked in the meat-packing business, and taught applied psychology and business ethics at Georgia Tech and the Universities of Kansas, Florida and Indiana. After retiring in 2006, I served as the CEO of The Leo Center and Heartland Medical Clinic, which provided medical care, food, financial help, counseling, and pregnancy services to uninsured and under-insured members of the Lawrence Community. It was in this role that I discovered the plight of homeless children and their families and the need to address their problems in Lawrence.
A discussion of the issue with a man in town named Byron who was assisting the homeless and aware of the lack of attention given to homeless children, led me to search for a successful model program. After visiting Family Promise affiliates in other areas, I contacted the head office in New Jersey about starting Family Promise in Lawrence. Their assessment of the community affirmed that Lawrence had a great need for such a program and the resources among the faith congregations in the area to be successful.
I left the Leo Center in the fall of 2007 to get Family Promise of Lawrence started. I was fortunate enough to enlist the support of Katherine Dinsdale, who was chair of the city’s commission on homelessness, and the interest of Valerie Miller-Coleman, who was the homeless outreach coordinator at Bert Nash and dealing with some 50 families. We contacted every congregation in town by phone and held our first public meeting in October of 2007. About 60 people representing 25 congregations attended, and I was delighted that some of them got behind our efforts almost immediately.
We set a goal of opening our doors before the first snowfall of 2008, and we did, staring with eight congregations and Valerie as our first director. Many people were responsible for getting us underway, including my wife Nancy and Katherine’s husband Bob. People like Monte and Kay Johnson, Dolph and Pam Simons, John McGrew, Doug Stevens, Sharon Stultz, and Nancy Ezell were instrumental in making FPL possible and viable.
Of all the enterprises I’ve been involved with, Family Promise is, simply, the best. It is remarkably effective and efficient, it blesses not only the homeless people we serve but also the scores of congregations and hundreds of volunteers who serve them. I have seen lives transformed, eyes opened, and love enacted countless times, both on the part of the homeless children and their parents (or grandparents) and those who serve them in so many ways. It has certainly changed my life, and I will be eternally grateful for God’s providing this opportunity to put faith into action.
Senior Vice President of Jeffrey Byrne & Associates, Inc., Judy is a 23 year Lawrence resident. She has more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit management and development, specifically in capacity-building, operational development, and capital campaign planning and implementation. She has served as counsel for successful fundraising projects throughout the Midwest and in Lawrence.
Prior to joining Jeffrey Byrne & Associates, Inc., in 2006, Judy served as Executive Director of the American Lung Association of Kansas for 12 years, Development Director for public radio KANU-FM in Lawrence for five years and Executive Director of High Plains Public Radio for three years. She held a number of leadership positions including President of the Congress of Lung Association Staff, a national 1,200 member organization; President of Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition and the Kansas Asthma Coalition. Judy is an active volunteer in the Lawrence community and recently served as chair of the Board of Trustees of Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Lawrence, Kansas. She was recently recognized with an Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award by the Lawrence Public School District, USD #497. In 1998 she received the national American Lung Association Award for Financial Development. Judy holds an MBA from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.