Faith in Action Appoints New Executive Director

Faith in Action (FIA), a volunteer-based nonprofit that takes people who need transportation to medical appointments, has appointed Rev. Dr. Charles Franks to the part-time executive director position.

Franks has eighteen years of experience as the Young Life Area Director in Williamsburg, Va. and Bermuda plus twelve years as Senior Pastor for First Baptist Church in Devonshire, Bermuda. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from The College of William & Mary and a Doctorate of Divinity from the Master’s Graduate School of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana.

He has provided even leadership and organizational support to help youth participate in Young Life’s camping program while recruiting, equipping, and managing a large team of volunteer leaders to accomplish the ministry objectives. As a Senior Pastor in Bermuda, he supported the larger Bermuda community through facilitating social programs and providing opportunities for the community to act on their faith.

“Through these experiences I have developed skills in volunteer development, fundraising, community outreach, team leadership, and the provision of helping services,” he says. “I like to think that I have strong rapport building and communication skills and my experiences to date have given me opportunity to hone and practice those skills.” He feels that working for FIA allows him to follow his calling to “love my neighbor.”

Winchester is Franks’s hometown. He is a member of First Baptist Church, the Valley Interfaith Council, and serves as a volunteer with the Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter (WATTS). He has two grown sons and recently married Susan Maddux.

Karen Shipp, board chair of FIA, is pleased to have selected someone with Franks’s diverse employment and educational experience. “One of Faith in Action’s primary responsibilities is to recruit, train, and retain a group of volunteers dedicated to providing life-saving transportation to medical appointments,” she says. “Charly’s extensive background in working with large groups of volunteers will be invaluable in this position.”

Shipp says the organization received 18 applications for the position. “We were very fortunate to have the assistance and direction of Sharon Gromling, director of Our Health, who has extensive human resources experience” in selecting Franks, she says. Faith in Action is a member of Our Health and is housed in the Our Health office.

Faith in Action is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with one paid staff member and around 50 volunteers. They transport people who are ambulatory and do not qualify for transportation help through Medicaid to medical appointments. They are able to fill 95 percent of qualifying requests and serve Winchester, Frederick and Clarke Counties, and the northern areas of Warren and Shenandoah Counties. Volunteers are credentialed through Valley Health, and thus receive Valley Health recognition and some discounts. Faith in Action seeks to reimburse volunteers up to 30 percent of fuel costs.

Franks is impressed with the health of the organization and its “active and committed” board of directors and excellent service to clients. He notes that the group receives strong administrative support from Mike and Kathy Garcia, who schedule the transports. Franks appreciates the generous community that supports the work of many nonprofits in the area, including FIA, as well as the strong support from Valley Health and Our Health.

His immediate goals are to get to know everyone involved in FIA and familiarize himself with the administrative and operational details of the organization. By the end of May 2016, he hopes to have completed a vision casting process with the FIA board, staff, and volunteers to set goals together. Over time, he will monitor the needs of the clients and adapt as necessary.

Shipp, who has been involved with the FIA board since its discussion phase in 2002, hopes to continue to promote the group’s services to a larger audience who could benefit from their services, as well as further increase the number of volunteer drivers and expand board membership.

Franks and Shipp are addressing their immediate attention to their annual fundraiser, TableScapes 2016. Held on April 10 from 2-5pm in the Ferrari Room of Shenandoah University’s Brandt Student Center, TableScapes showcases local talent. Fifteen decorators will decorate a table with the theme of their choice. There will be a floral arrangement demonstration and individual instruction in napkin folding. The event will also feature a crystal display accented with silver, an antique linen display, a raffle, door prizes, and refreshments. New this year is the addition of three decorated children’s tables. Attendees will help select the “People’s Choice Award.”

Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased at Kimberly’s, located at 135 N. Braddock St. in Winchester; Sweet Tea at 15 E. Boscawen St. in Winchester; or Our Health at 329 N. Cameron St. in Winchester. Interested parties can call 540-667-7677 for information or to purchase tickets over the phone.

For more information on FIA or to connect with Franks as a potential FIA volunteer, contact him at 540-536-1006.