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!


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Goshen 2022 Volunteers of the Year

On April 13, Goshen Valley presented 6 individuals with their Volunteer of the Year award, and also presented the first annual Goshen Educator of the Year award. The recipients of the Volunteer of the Year award were Debbie Rabjohn, Bill and Kathy DeMartino,  Nancy LaChance, Sydna Lowe, and Kyla Cromer. The Goshen Educator of the Year award was presented to Don Deaton. A bit about each of their service to Goshen is outlined below.

 

When speaking about the volunteers who make Goshen thrive, CEO Zach Blend said that “We have the opportunity to change lives through relationships, and the relationships with those honored today are one of Goshen’s most powerful assets. We are grateful for all who sacrifice in service to our youth.” 

 

Debbie Rabjohn is the Goshen Homes volunteer of the year. She is the president of the Cherokee County Optimist Club, and has led her club in providing Easter baskets for Goshen Homes youth for 3 years in a row. She has done much of this while going through health issues, and was unable to attend the ceremony for the same reasons. The Goshen Homes team is grateful for her service, but even more grateful for her kind heart and her selflessness while going through a difficult time in her personal life. 

 

Bill and Kathy DeMartino are the Goshen New Beginnings volunteers of the year. Bill and Kathy connected to Goshen when becoming a Connections Homes family. They were paired with Goshen New Beginnings youth Robert, and they were able to be a significant part of his life through prom, graduation, and navigating adult life afterwards. After opening a room in their home for him and mentoring him for three years, they joined the Goshen staff in traveling to Missouri to celebrate Robert’s graduation from Basic Training. Bill commented at the ceremony how much the team traveling to the graduation meant to Robert, saying that he “had to do extra push-ups because he couldn’t stop smiling.” 

 

Nancy LaChance is the Goshen Valley Boys Ranch volunteer of the year. Nancy first connected with Goshen in 2016 while serving through Woodstock City Church’s Be Rich campaign. That day she was tasked with organizing the clothing closet, and since then she has led a group who comes to do the same task each month. This group led by Nancy has sorted and organized all clothing donations made to Goshen for 5 years. Additionally, Nancy has used her love of hiking to connect with and mentor boys at the Ranch during her time serving. 

 

Sydna Lowe was the Development volunteer of the year. Sydna chaired the Brasfield & Gorrie Charitable Committee, which was responsible for hosting their fall fundraiser and providing over $330,000 to support Goshen Valley. This made Brasfield & Gorrie Goshen’s largest ever single-year donor. Additionally, Sydna took her paid time off in advance of the fall fundraiser to make sure everything was organized as well as possible. When speaking about the partnership, Sydna said that "Brasfield and Gorrie takes pride in doing things with excellence.  We could not line up better with any other organization." 

 

Kyla Cromer was the Community Engagement volunteer of the year. Kyla is the Cherokee County School Board Chair, and she also serves on the Goshen Community Council. Kyla has continued to prioritize initiatives that help the school system better serve foster youth, including bringing in a Goshen staff person to lead a training to all school counselors on Trust-Based Relational Intervention. Additionally, Kyla invited 21 guests to join her for the Evening with Goshen dinner fundraiser, the most guests brought by any one Goshen supporter. Kyla remarked after receiving the award that "Respect and love are what our kids need. They come to school wondering where their next meal is coming from. They come after hearing their Mom and Dad fighting. We see the pride on their faces at graduation. Lots of people have poured into these kids to get them across that stage."

 

Don Deaton was recognized as Goshen’s first ever Educator of the Year. Don is the lead physical education teacher at Teasley Middle School. For many years Don headed up our Summer Academy program- the daily recreation program our boys participate in during summer break. He has continued to go above and beyond at school to learn who the Goshen youth are in his class, and to do all he can to provide them with extra support and encouragement during the school day. Don shared with the Goshen staff after receiving his award, “I want you to know we support you. We know the trauma our kids have experienced. Kids need to know they are loved. You are the footprint and the hands of God in their lives - you speak Jesus." 


Together Facing The Challenge: Goshen Homes

Goshen Homes has officially been certified in Together Facing the Challenge (TFTC), officially credentialing the foster care provider with an evidence-based approach.

TFTC certification means that Goshen Homes is able to provide a proven therapeutic foster care training and coaching program. Our goal is to ensure that our foster parents are equipped to best care for the children in their homes, learning systems that make fostering less confusing, and taking care of themselves in the process. This will in turn lead to foster youth experiencing more stable placements and greater lifelong outcomes. 

According to the TFTC website, the program aims “to improve the skills of foster parents and their agency staff. The model focuses specifically on the in-home intervention elements (and creating adequate skill levels to implement these strategies effectively) and on the important role of supervision and coaching in helping foster parents work effectively. We don’t ask agencies to “re-invent the wheel” — instead, the goal of TFTC is to work with agencies to enhance what they already do well by growing their knowledge & expertise with evidence-informed approaches to improve practice & outcomes for youth in care.” 

Gaining this TFTC certification was an 18-month process for the Goshen Homes team, involving many trainings and a great deal of refining to programmatic elements. Goshen Valley CEO Zach Blend shared his praise of the Goshen Homes team when stating what this means for the future of Goshen. 

“I am both pleased and equally proud of our Goshen Homes Staff and foster families for the dedication and commitment it has taken to complete the Together Facing the Challenge certification. To be recognized with other therapeutic foster care providers has been a goal of ours that was laid out as part of our most recent strategic plan. We’re confident the utilization of this evidenced-based model will provide the tools needed for our families to thrive in their capacity as foster parents”

To learn more about fostering with Goshen Homes, visit Goshencalley.org/homes. To learn more about Together Facing the Challenge, visit sites.duke.edu/tftc.


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Goshen Valley named a 2022 AJC Top Workplace

Goshen Valley has been named one of the AJC’s Top 20 Workplaces 2022!

The Goshen Valley Foundation has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For the 2022 rankings, 4,583 companies were nominated or asked to participate. Out of 87 small businesses, Goshen Valley is ranked number 16 among Top Workplaces in Atlanta.

We are grateful to the 81 full time employees at Goshen Valley who felt that we were deserving of this recognition. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 culture drivers that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

Goshen Valley AJC Top Workplace Logo

"More than ever, we strive to create environments where our staff experiences a certain sense of purpose in their work. The idea of just coming to the office has never fit our culture, more so we emphasize the impact of being of service - not only in the lives we have been entrusted to provide care for, but for one another as well.
I find that people are often surprised by the size of our organization. Over the past four years Goshen has grown by nearly 50% with today 80 or so full time employees. We are selective in the process of adding talent to our team and have been successful at keeping our turnover low in a season where there is almost an expected staff fluidity due to the economic state of things.
To truly lean into our mission of providing peace and purpose to children and families at risk Goshen has to ensure that our staff is healthy, engaged, and equipped to perform their roles well.
We appreciate the AJC recognizing our efforts for a second year in a row. Ultimately we strive to be a leading not-for-profit in the region and a highly regarded place of employment in the process."  - Zach Blend, CEO Goshen Valley

Not only is this announcement meaningful for Goshen employees, it also makes a major impact on the youth and families that we serve. The 115 kids in our care have had family come in and out of their lives previously, and Goshen wants to ensure the staff and foster parents that work with them are in it for the long haul. The vulnerable families in need of mental health services coming to Goshen can know that their case worker and therapist will be better equipped to get them back on their feet. Prospective foster families who are considering making a life altering change to bring kids into their home know that they will have the training and support of a great team that will be by their side through the journey.

This announcement means a great deal to the team at Goshen Valley, and we are excited for the ways that it will impact our youth and families as we work to create generational change in the lives of families and foster youth in Georgia.


A Letter from our CEO.

To our Goshen Family,

People often ask me what makes Goshen special. My answer is that everything starts with relationships. Trust is born out of relationship, respect is born out of relationship, and belief in one another is born out of relationship.

Transformation in the life of someone who has experienced trauma doesn’t happen as a result of infrequent, fluid connections but through steady and consistent interaction. It happens through a caring person being present in the good times and the bad. It happens through establishing a healthy boundary of empathy without enabling.

In a time of challenging labor shortages, Goshen has been blessed with a called and consistent staff. If I could wave a magic wand I would allow each of you, who have made so much possible in the life of our ministry, to have the opportunity to shadow one of our house parents, foster parents, or case workers for a day. These men and women care deeply and individually for our kids. They make daily sacrifices and engage in the challenging work of seeing the children’s complex needs. As a result, deep, genuine, trusting relationships are forged. It is not by coincidence or by chance that our kids heal from their hurts, do better in school, and learn to establish healthy friendships. It is due to the example set for them and the grace that is extended to them when our team works together to ensure that they might live to their full potential.

Our story has been a good one thus far, but there is more to write. There are chapters on how Goshen can establish similar relationships with at-risk families through preventive services such as counseling and parent education. I also believe that there is a chapter in which Goshen serves teenage girls through the opening of therapeutic foster homes. Just as you have supported us this far, we will need you all with us on that next journey.

We’ve navigated uncharted waters in the past 18 months. We have been challenged, but we are stronger for it. Through it all you never left our side, and your constant presence has made all the difference. You have allowed the Goshen Valley Foundation to be built on rock, not on sand. A foundation built to last.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of Holidays,

Zach Blend | CEO Goshen Valley Foundation

 

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