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2022: An outstanding year of hope

It’s hard to believe we are at the end of 2022 and a fading global pandemic. Yet, Buckner International has moved into transition and beyond by focusing on our mission to “Follow the example of Jesus by serving vulnerable children, families, and seniors.”

One strategic transition at Buckner International has involved a reorganization of our board of trustees into separate and smaller boards for Buckner Children and Family Services (BCFS), Buckner Retirement Services (BRS), and Buckner Foundation. These smaller, more focused boards are populated by members of the Buckner International board. This new structure allows us more intentional time for deeper conversations about the future of our work. Additionally, in our leadership ranks we have posted a new position of Chief Human Relations Officer that we hope to fill in early 2023, and we added Kandyce Ormes Ripley to the Executive Leadership Team as Associate Vice President for Data Analysis and Strategy. In 2023, Jan Cothran, Ashley Patel, Dr. Abraham Mathew, and Candace Gray will join the Executive Leadership Team in a one-year appointment.

In BRS, we launched the new 1879 Bistro in five of our communities. Both Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo and Calder Woods in Beaumont received the “Best of Senior Living” designation from Senior Advisor, a leading source for the senior living industry. We earned a top 10 ranking in the United States for small- to medium-aging service providers in the Great Places to Work Survey. We have achieved 90% occupancy in our independent living market. Baptist Retirement Community achieved 85% overall, while Austin Villas reached 100% occupancy in independent living. These are incredible milestones in 2022 following a global pandemic.

In our BCFS international ministries, we restarted operations in Honduras as a government-approved NGO. In Kenya we played a significant role as Kenya’s president signed a children’s bill into law introducing the concept of kinship and adoption, thereby reducing obstacles to the process and introducing a child welfare fund. Buckner Kenya was accredited by African Council for Accreditation and Accountability (AFCAA). AFCAA accredits faith-based organizations that fulfills and remain committed to Biblical accountability and stewardship principles. BCFS domestically procured a

$1 million capacity building grant from Texas Department of Family Protective Services to expand Buckner's foster care services, including therapeutic services. We launched a college and career pilot project at the Buckner Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake.

Buckner International’s legal team led us in the launch of Integrity Week with 304 nominations and 37 winners for the first Bucker Integrity Award. Our development team added Andrea Sparks to government relations in Austin. Development also launched its first fundraising campaign for senior care and assistance. Our nonprofit organization is on target to reach its 2022 fund-raising goals. The Buckner Communications team made enhancements to Buckner's YouTube channel that features stories of hope and more about the working being done through our different programs.

These are just a few highlights of the many milestones reached this year. I am so grateful for all my colleagues at Buckner. We have an amazing team that is poised for a reset to shine hope and inspire happiness. May the hope of Christmas shine through you and in your family and circle of friends during this season.

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