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Goshen CEO Named Georgia Titan 100

Goshen Valley CEO, Zach Blend, named a recipient of the 2023 Georgia Titan 100

Titan CEO and headline sponsor Wipfli LLP are pleased to announce Goshen Valley CEO, Zach Blend, as a 2023 Georgia Titan 100.

The Titan 100 program recognizes Georgia’s Top 100 CEOs & C-level executives. They are the area’s most accomplished business leaders in their industry using criteria that includes demonstrating exceptional leadership, vision, and passion.  Collectively the 2023 Georgia Titan 100 and their companies employ upwards of 118,000 individuals and generate over $36 billion dollars in annual revenues. This year’s honorees will be published in a limited-edition Titan 100 book and profiled exclusively online. They will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 27th, 2023, and will be given the opportunity to interact and connect multiple times throughout the year with their fellow Titans.

“The Titan 100 are changing the way that business is done in Georgia. These preeminent leaders have built a distinguished reputation that is unrivaled and preeminent in their field. We proudly recognize the Titan 100 for their efforts to shape the future of the Georgia business community. Their achievements create a profound impact that makes an extraordinary difference for their customers and clients across the nation.” says Jaime Zawmon, President of Titan CEO.

Zach Blend has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Goshen Valley Foundation since January 2016. 

Zach has 12 years of experience working for Goshen Valley within all aspects of the organization. Under Zach’s executive leadership, the Goshen Valley Foundation has grown to include four operating agencies (Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, Goshen New Beginnings, Goshen Homes and Goshen Therapeutic Services) that are all focused on a specific demographic within the Georgia state foster care system. Zach has a BA in Sociology from Rollins College, a Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies from Fuller Seminary, and an MBA from Reinhardt University. 

“I certainly appreciate the opportunity to be recognized by Titan 100 as one of Georgia’s Top Senior Executives. My ability to lead successfully is in large part due to the amazing team I have the privilege to work alongside at Goshen Valley. Through their sustained efforts, Goshen’s influence and ultimate impact on the state’s foster care system has risen steadily in recent years. We work diligently to ensure that best business practices are in place, resulting in our overall effectiveness when considering the scale and sustainability of our growing mission." - Zach Blend, CEO

Blend will be honored at the Titan 100 awards on April 27th,2023 at Zoo Atlanta: Savanna Hall.  One of the city’s most treasured historic buildings, the 1921 building has been revitalized by Zoo Atlanta for its new life today.  As home of the Atlanta Cyclorama for more than 90 years, the building is famous for its grand scale and neoclassical architecture. This unique cocktail-style awards event will gather 100 Titans of Industry and their guests for an evening unlike anything that exists in the Georgia business community.

“On behalf of all the partners and associates at Wipfli we congratulate all the Titan100 winners. It’s an honor to recognize this diverse group of leaders in the Atlanta community. We appreciate the lasting impact each leader has made, and continues to make, in building organizations of significance both in Atlanta and abroad. Your ingenuity and creativity have set you apart, and the honor of being seen as an industry Titan is richly deserved,” says Bill Boucher, Partner at Wipfli.


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Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Renovations

Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Renovations

Renovations on the four main homes at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch are complete. 

On August 15, 2022, Greenheart Enterprises began renovations on the four main residences at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch. With the homes aging, it came time for us to give the houses some updates! The majority of this project was funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. However, thanks to support from the community and a matching gift from Faith Ventures Foundation, the project was completed debt-free. 

The homes received new siding, decks, much-needed kitchen updates, shutters, and more. The boys and the houseparents living in these homes have been immensely impacted by the community support enabling us to complete these updates.

 

 

The renovations were officially finished in time for our kids to enjoy their Christmas in the newly updated homes. We are excited for all of the memories and healing that will take place in them in the future. 

Some of you will also remember The James House - the red barn at the top of the hill.

2022 also marked the completion of total renovation of The James House to become a larger space for our Ranch administrative offices.

 

 

As we look around the Ranch, we may see the same buildings and the same homes, but the transformation is clear.

It is a constant reminder of growth and blessing that you, our community, surround Goshen with time after time. Thank you for always cheering our kids on and for showing so much love to our houseparents and staff through these new renovations.

Wishing you Peace and Purpose.


An Evening with Goshen 2022

An Evening with Goshen

An Evening with Goshen 2022 kicked off on December 8th at Woodstock City Church with guest speaker, football and baseball star, Brian Jordan.

Brian Jordan on stage at an Evening with Goshen

This evening gala is a platform for Goshen Valley to come together with community leaders, business owners, and families to raise money for the families and foster youth that we serve while enjoying a beautiful night of entertainment with friends.

As guests arrived, they perused the silent auction items and took part in the delicious turkey dinner provided by Center Cut Catering. VIP guests gathered around hors d'oeuvres as they met and chatted with Atlanta sports great, Brian Jordan. They received a photo op and a signed copy of his children's book "The Mystery Behind Doggy Lane." Once dinner was served, Goshen Valley CEO, Zach Blend, kicked off the event with the announcement we had been waiting for...

This year's Evening with Goshen was centered around a new and exciting venture that Goshen Valley is thrilled to announce: the Goshen Family Resource Center.

The Family Resource Center will serve as a hub for clinical therapeutic services, family and parenting supports, life skills coaching, and so much more. All of these services will be available to the community at a central location in Canton, GA.

Our goal is to raise $500,000 to fund the renovation and launch of this new Family Resource Center in 2023, and An Evening with Goshen was the start to this campaign.

With fundraising in mind, we introduced our evening's title sponsor, Eric Baker, with Eric Baker and Associates. Eric's mission as a real estate agent is much bigger than himself. He helps everyone find home by donating a portion of every home commission to neighbors in need and community organizations like Goshen.

Eric then introduced our guest speaker: Atlanta Sports Icon, Author, and Philanthropist, Brian Jordan.

On stage we sat down at chatted with Brian. We heard stories from his childhood, and of course about his incredible sports career. The overarching message we can all take from Brian is this: keep working hard, because there is always someone out there who is better than you. This was a message he graciously shared with all 40 of our boys and staff at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch earlier in the evening.

Before wrapping up the evening, Goshen Valley Alumni, Edward Tsui had a special message for the audience. He spoke about his years spent at Goshen, the big Goshen family he will always have, and the opportunities and goals he has ahead of him in law school at UGA. Next, he turned his focus to the audience and said...

"I am here because of your love, your time, your resources, and your choice to partner with Goshen. I thank God every day that I have the opportunity to be a part of this organization, and I thank God for you all and your investment in me and in Goshen." - Edward Tsui, Goshen Valley Alumni

Wrapping up the event, Aaron Vincent with Vincent Financial Group, shared his own message, reminding us to be grateful and to be generous with what we have.

We echo that message today as we look back on a wonderful Evening with Goshen. We are so grateful to all of you who joined us and who made this event possible. As we fly through this holiday season, we take this moment to say thank you so much for your generosity and for your support of Goshen Valley and for things to come.

An Evening with Goshen 2022


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First Annual Goshen Valley Founder's Day!

Goshen Valley Celebrates the First Annual Founders Day

On Friday, October 7th 2022, the staff at Goshen Valley came together to celebrate the First Annual Founders Day!

 

The Green Team celebrates their victory!

Founders Day honors all those that have served as part of Goshen Valley over the past 23 years. For the First Annual celebration, we hosted a field day full of crazy games, food, and fun for every staff member at Goshen Valley. The day kicked off with Atlanta Sport and Social Club providing an array of competitions for the staff. Right off the bat, all of the staff members split into teams, donning their team colors and face paint to match.

 

Atlanta Sport refereed and kept score as all of the teams worked their way through the various games, ending with Tug-of-War. Though there was some heavy competition (and even some smack-talking), the Green Team emerged with the win! 

 

 

After the games, everyone came back together for lunch, catered by Choate BBQ. As all of the staff members mingled and refueled, Goshen Valley CEO, Zach Blend, spoke a few words of thanks and in doing so honored his father, Goshen’s founder:

“To see all of you gathered here is a testament to John’s vision and his faith in what Goshen could one day become. We’ve proven that collectively we can drive successful outcomes for children and families. As we lean into our vision, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”

Goshen values community, service, and faith. This First Annual Founders Day was a reminder of all that has been accomplished and those things still to be accomplished while we celebrated each other. As the day wound down, it was hard to miss the chatter about how grateful everyone was to fellowship and bond with one another.

Now going forward, we remember that day and we remember those values as we continue to serve foster youth and fractured families across North Georgia.

Thank you to MesmerEyes Media for DJing and Photographing the event.


Goshen Valley Awarded Family Resource Center Funding

Goshen Valley is one of 6 organizations in the state of Georgia awarded a 3-year funding cohort through the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services to start a Family Resource Center in Cherokee County.

Joining with and following the standards of the Georgia Family Support Network in October of 2022, Goshen Valley will provide primary prevention services to families in our community.

This Family Resource Center will provide low-cost to free parenting classes, support groups, teen support groups, life skills, behavior management, coordinated community referrals and therapy. We are so excited to begin this journey in serving families in need before they reach the need for DFCS intervention. Goshen Valley will work hand-in-hand with the Cherokee County School District, other community non-profits, local churches, and civic organizations to identify families who would like to participate.

Through this new Family Resource Center, Goshen Valley will take a family-centered, 2-generation approach to meet the holistic needs of every family. In being a member of the Georgia Family Support Network, Goshen Valley will utilize the 5 protective factors for strengthening families approach which include: Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Concrete Supports in Times of Need, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, and Social and Emotional Competence of Children.
"We understand that foster care is too often the result of something terrible taking place in the life of a child. Now is the time for Goshen to play a more prominent role in keeping the circumstances from ever happening. Our leadership team guided by our Board of Directors is committed to extending its influence by providing a wide range of preventive services in the years to come. This work will be led by our Goshen Therapeutic Services division. The mobilization of our Family Resource Center and the support offered as a result will be at the heart of those efforts."
- Zach Blend, CEO Goshen Valley Foundation
As Goshen Valley grows, so does our mission of providing peace and purpose to underserved youth and families. This awarded funding will allow Goshen Valley to become an accessible and affordable resource to the families in Cherokee and surrounding counties. This growth and the ability to secure family resource center funding is due to the great and constant support that comes from our community. We thank you, and we look forward to helping to make this community even stronger - together.

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Brasfield & Gorrie Ribbon Cutting at Goshen Valley

On August 10th, 2022 Goshen Valley Boys Ranch hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to recognize the official finalization of the projects completed by the Brasfield & Gorrie Atlanta team.

In June of 2022 Brasfield & Gorrie, the 2021 ENR Contractor of the Year, spent two weeks at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch to complete construction on several important improvements and maintenance at the Ranch.

After a month-long process which began with 13 nonprofit applicants, Brasfield & Gorrie selected Goshen Valley to be their partner for their 2021 and 2022 fall fundraisers. This event and partnership have historically raised around $250,000 per year from employee and trade contractor donations to support the chosen nonprofit’s mission.

Brasfield & Gorrie is an industry leader in the construction space, and in 2021, their Atlanta team chose Goshen Valley as their nonprofit partner of the year for 2021 and 2022.

They work on a wide range of project types, from aerospace, to healthcare, to sports and much more. More importantly than their projects, their “purpose is building exceptional people, trusting relationships, great projects, and strong communities.” Brasfield & Gorrie has gone above and beyond to fulfill that mission at Goshen Valley.

Goshen Valley serves over 110 foster youth and many families in the North Atlanta region across four programs. Goshen Valley Boys Ranch was the first program founded, located on 160+ acres in Waleska, GA. Home to 40 young men in foster care, The Ranch was founded to provide the safety of a home, love of a family, and hope for a future to the kids that call The Ranch home.

During the two weeks that Brasfield & Gorrie spent at The Ranch, they completed a host of projects totaling in over $200,000 that would have taken our staff years to complete. Check out the list of projects.

At the ribbon cutting, leaders from both organizations gathered, including the team from Brasfield & Gorrie that initiated and led the projects from start to finish: Keith Johnson, Tate McKee, Trey Sanders, Chris Britton, Dave Reed, Dave Hajjar, and Griffith Haigh.

Brasfield & Gorrie Leadership joins together to cut the ribbon.

During the program, attendees heard from one of Goshen Valley’s alumni, Zach Quiros, who came to the Ranch with his little brother in 2016. When thinking about the importance of this project, Zach said it best…

“I didn’t know it at the time, but God knew I was going to need a big family for the next chapter. And what Goshen does would not be possible if it wasn’t for the love from the community that Brasfield & Gorrie is a part of. So, I can’t thank you enough for everything y’all have done at The Ranch, because not too long ago, it was me and my brother at The Ranch.” - Zach Quiros, Goshen Valley Alumni.

The cutting of this ribbon at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch means so much more than just improved facilities, and Zach is a testament to that. Brasfield & Gorrie, we thank you for going above and beyond for your community and for doing it with excellence.


Goshen Valley and the Mandela Washington Fellowship

Goshen Valley and the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders – Alumni Enrichment Institute

In July and August 2022, Goshen Valley joined the participants of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders – Alumni Enrichment Institute (AEI) at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. Three Goshen leaders were able to share their expertise with a group of 25 young African leaders from 19 countries, equipping them to take new skills and ideas back to their home countries. 

The Alumni Enrichment Institutes are a follow-on opportunity of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across Africa. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,100 Mandela Washington Fellows from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals. The cohort of 25 Participants hosted by Georgia State were part of a larger group of 200 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni hosted at eight educational institutions across the United States. These institutions represent the diversity of U.S. higher education, including public and private schools, rural and urban campuses, and small and large student populations.

Executive leaders from the Goshen Valley Foundation participated in Professional Networking Opportunities as experts in non-profit organization and leadership. Zach Blend, Evan Ingram, and Rachel Blend were all in attendance and led educational discussions on topics such as nonprofit leadership and management, accreditation, compliance, marketing, and fundraising. 

Goshen Valley CEO, Zach Blend, discussed the process of decision making by focusing on an organization’s key indicators. Zach has centered decision-making conversations with his leadership on the key indicators of mission, margin, morale and compliance (3MC) to help leaders weigh the impact and consequences of any significant organizational decisions.

“Across cultures, leadership hinges on sound decision making. Sharing the 3MC model with the class was my way of equipping them with a tool that they can take back to their home communities,” says Zach. 

 

 

Evan Ingram, Director of Development at Goshen Valley, shared his insight on marketing and fundraising in the nonprofit world. 

Evan says, “It was an incredible experience getting to share with this group. We spent time talking about marketing frameworks, donor-centered fundraising, and email marketing. We then spent time working through specific problems that are holding their initiatives back.”

Thanks to the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Goshen was able to assist initiatives in 19 African countries working on issues including suicide prevention, affordable housing, and food insecurity.

 

 

Rachel Blend, Director of Accreditation and Grants Management, led an organic discussion on topics such as organizational development, strategic planning, business planning, and PQI/data collection. This opened the floor for an excellent source of information and collaboration between the entire group of participants. 

“It’s always a humbling experience to meet with such incredible leaders. Goshen is blessed, and we are grateful to be able to share our journey and bits of knowledge from along the way,” says Rachel.

 

Goshen Valley has partnered with Georgia State University’s Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute each year since their first trip to The Ranch in 2016. Through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Goshen Valley has been able to take some part in the huge impact that the program is making across 49 countries in Africa. 

 

“We offer many congratulations to the 2022 participants, and we hope that you will complete your two week Institute with information and inspiration to further enrich you, your communities, and your organizations back home.” - Zach Blend, CEO Goshen Valley Foundation


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Empower Cherokee at Goshen Valley

Empower Cherokee Collects School Supplies for Goshen Homes siblings.

On Thursday, Jul 28, 2022, a group of adults from Empower Cherokee came to visit Goshen Valley’s office at The Mill on Etowah in Canton, Georgia.

They didn’t come empty handed either! Just in time for the start of school, they dropped off an abundance of school supplies for the foster children at Goshen Homes.

Empower Cherokee is another Canton, GA nonprofit, located off of Univeter Road.

Their mission is “to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live life as they define it through employment and social connections, and the support necessary for each person to achieve their hopes and dreams.” They serve those with intellectual and developmental disabilities with love and care through employment services, community access, and residential living.

The crew generously and enthusiastically came together to provide school supplies for the siblings in foster care being cared for at Goshen Homes. 

At Goshen Homes, we believe siblings in foster care shouldn’t be separated.

That’s why we recruit, train, license, and support foster parents for siblings in foster care. Goshen Homes, established in 2016, has become our largest program, currently serving 55 foster youth.

We are so grateful for our friends and fellow community members at Empower Cherokee for the effort and kindness shown as they worked to gather the supplies and drop them off at our Canton office. Oftentimes, foster kids come to us without basic items, much less backpacks, pencils, calculators, and other necessary school supplies. Thanks to their efforts, the sibling groups at Goshen Homes and the foster parents caring for them were provided with ample supplies going into the start of the fall school year.

Thank you Empower Cherokee!


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Brasfield & Gorrie at Goshen Valley

Brasfield & Gorrie at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch

In June of 2022 Brasfield & Gorrie, the 2021 ENR Contractor of the Year, spent two weeks at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch to complete construction on several important improvements and maintenance at the Ranch.

Brasfield & Gorrie at Goshen Valley

Brasfield & Gorrie is an industry leader in the construction space, and in 2021, their Atlanta team chose Goshen Valley as their nonprofit partner of the year for 2021 and 2022. They work on a wide range of project types, from aerospace, to healthcare, to sports and much more. More importantly than their projects, their “purpose is building exceptional people, trusting relationships, great projects, and strong communities.” Brasfield & Gorrie has gone above and beyond to fulfill that mission at Goshen Valley. 

Goshen Valley serves over 110 foster youth and many families in the North Atlanta region across four programs. Goshen Valley Boys Ranch was the first program founded, located on 160+ acres in Waleska, GA. Home to 40 young men in foster care, The Ranch was founded to provide the safety of a home, love of a family, and hope for a future to the kids that call The Ranch home.

With large acreage to care for including six homes and other facilities, the Facilities Director at Goshen Valley, Josh Williamson, has a long list of projects to work on. Over the past two weeks, his list got a lot smaller - thanks to Brasfield & Gorrie.

Over the past two weeks, Brasfield & Gorrie sent their summer internship group and multiple superintendents to oversee the completion of many needed projects at Goshen Valley. Brasfield & Gorrie donated all time and materials to complete the following projects:
  • A Horse Barn
  • Back Deck of the Administration building
  • Re-leveling front porch of the Administration building
  • Pond Renovation for recreational use
    • Grading at Pond
    • Hardscaping pathway to pond
    • Laying riprap at pond
  • Finishing the recreational Creekside Trail
  • Re-building 3 bridges at the Creekside Chapel
  • Grading field by baseball diamond
  • Grading the road to the top fishing lake
  • Spreading gravel over creekside trail and chapel
  • Building staircase behind the James House to make the top level accessible
  • Fixing horse fences
  • Clearing brush
  • Donating leftover materials worth over $5,000

Maintenance Director at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch, Josh Williamson, knows best how this will impact not only The Ranch, but also the boys in foster care who call Goshen home.

In total it would take me over a year with the budget, staff, and equipment I have access to, to do what Brasfield & Gorrie has done in two weeks. The impact Brasfield & Gorrie has had on our facilities here at the Ranch will be felt for years to come by our staff and, more importantly, the boys we serve. In addition, opportunities for teaching our young men were created by having Brasfield on site as they demonstrated excellence in quality and safety, as well as demonstrating a healthy working environment. Opportunities like this do not have a price tag.” - Josh Williamson, Director of Facilities at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch.

As a community, we want to thank Brasfield & Gorrie for going above and beyond to be servant leaders and to be an integral partner for Goshen Valley. The foster youth in care at Goshen are better for it, and our community is stronger even still.

Pond renovations at Goshen Valley Boys RanchHorse barn by Brasfield and Gorrie at Goshen Valley Boys Ranch


Goshen Leadership Academy Founding Class of 2022

Congratulations to our graduates of the first ever Goshen Leadership Academy.

Goshen Leadership Academy was founded to provide emerging leaders at Goshen Valley with an all-encompassing view of what it takes to be a leader. We covered topics from finance to strategic planning all within the framework of Mission, Margin, Morale, and Compliance. 

Goshen Valley CEO, Zach Blend, says, “With Goshen's growth over the past decade, including the opening of three new agencies, our footprint has expanded significantly. I felt it was important that we find ways for our emerging leaders to stay connected to one another and to each other's mission. The creation of Goshen Academy established such a platform for consistent collaboration across agencies. We're thrilled with the positive feedback that we have received from those that were chosen to participate and look forward to extending the opportunity to another class of participants sometime in the future."

Our 2022 Graduating Class:

Gabby Brumfield - Goshen Homes Program Director

Molly Phillips - Human Resources Assistant

Sarah Palmer - Goshen Therapeutic Services Clinical Supervisor

Giselle Francis - Goshen New Beginnings Program Director

Anthony Hall - Goshen New Beginnings Life Coach

Chuck Russell - Goshen New Beginnings

Courtney Argo - Goshen Therapeutic Services Program Manager

Kristy Pastush - Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Medical Coordinator

Megan Cortland - Goshen Valley Boys Ranch Program Director

Jamie Crews - Goshen Homes Case Management Supervisor

Caitlin Brunson - Marketing and Community Engagement Coordinator

Kathleen Bradley - Goshen Homes Home Licensing Supervisor

 

Goshen Valley Chief of Staff, Chris Thomas, who led the Leadership Academy initiative, says, “I am so proud of this group of emerging leaders. Over the past year they have learned not only how to be better leaders, but more importantly they have learned more about themselves and what they bring to the mission of Goshen Valley. Goshen’s ability to continue to grow and thrive is greatly enhanced by the talent of this group.”

Finally, as with all things Goshen, our key community partners were front and center in this effort.  Goshen is appreciative of the community partners who took the time to share their experience and leadership experience with our class, including:

Dr. Debra Murdock - Chief Operating Officer, Cherokee County School District

Melissa Lindh - Global CFO, Universal Alloy Corporation

Kevin Williams - Chick-fil-A Operator

Rennie Curran - University of Georgia Football Alumni

Julie Carter - Cherokee County CASA

Brooke Ford - Cherokee County DFCS Director

Mark Roberts - President, Reinhardt University

Nathan Castleberry - Lead Pastor, Local Church Canton

Peter McGaffigan, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Private Bank/Goshen Board Chairman

Bryan Apinis - Director of Intersect Project, North Point Community Church

Jordyn Davis, Intersect Coordinator, Woodstock City Church

Meg Davidson, Community Relations Director, Woodstock City Church

 

Goshen is proud to have these emerging leaders on our team working for the foster youth in our care. Congratulations Goshen Leadership Academy!