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Posted: January 27, 2010 12:30 a.m.

MIT grad named chair of FaithWorks non-profit

Former MIT graduate Kendra Boone was elected as the next chairman of FaithWorks, following in the footsteps of founder Bob Furnad.

Boone has been on the non-profit’s executive committee since it was formed in 2005, and said she looks forward to carrying on the group’s mission of providing rent and utility assistance.

However, she said she also wants to take FaithWorks in a new direction by offering educational classes on budgeting, résumé building and computer usage.

"We want to continue to positively affect the community and take the next step of enriching our clients," Boone said. "With education on budgeting, families can utilize what they already have to make even better use of their resources. With education in résumé building and computer skills, many clients may improve their qualifications to position themselves for job improvement and opportunity."

Boone is one who knows what it takes to succeed in the business world. A mechanical engineering graduate from the prestigious MIT, Boone originally worked in the areas of planned engineering and supply chain management with UPS.

Although she started in New Jersey, UPS transferred her to their corporate office in Atlanta. Her husband took a job in Augusta. Befitting her career in distribution, Boone selected the city in the middle — Covington.

She fell in love with the community and the congregation at Springfield Baptist Church. When her first child was born, Boone decided to become a stay-at-home at least at first. As the itch to work returned, she found the perfect job to combine her passions and stay local and was hired as director of business administration at Springfield.

The church has grown greatly under the leadership of dynamic pastor Eric Lee. When he became pastor in 1998, the church had 162 members. Now, it’s grown to more than 3,500 and plans are being considered to build a new mega church on Sockwell Road.

Boone joined the church in 2003 and is in charge directing the financial and administration future of the church and oversees the departments of member services, finance, accounting, human resources, office administration and church scheduling.

Because of the importance of faith in her life and her strong connections to her own church, Boone was a natural choice for the executive committee of the newly formed FaithWorks in 2005. And Furnad said she’s a great choice to replace him as the next chairman.

"She is just as smart as a whip. Very unassuming, smart and as well educated as can be. She was such a great contributor to the original executive committee and has all sorts of skills to prove that she is the right choice to lead," Furnad said.

The duties of the chairman are to oversee the day-to-day operations of Faithworks and being in touch with Executive Director Dennis Cheek on a daily basis. The chairman has to monitor how much money is the bank and how much is being given to clients. She runs both the executive committee and board of directors’ meetings and has a big influence on the future direction.

In addition to expanding new programs, Boone said she will continue to build the relationships among the local churches. FaithWorks currently has 34 member churches, but Boone’s hope to bring in even more.

"My vision as the chair of FaithWorks is twofold: inclusion and education. At this time, interchurch relations are precious, hard to establish, and easy to tear down. More churches coming together mean more people in the community are helped and see that we care," she said.

Because of the sputtering economy, FaithWorks had to close because of a lack of funds multiple times in 2009. However, Boone said the finances have stabilized, and FaithWorks plans to be open during its normal full-time schedule. However, the organization can always use more help.

In 2009, FaithWorks had budgeted to receive $200,600, but only received $179,717. More than 940 clients received an average of $156 of assistance.

FaithWorks is funded by member churches, grants and gifts from corporations and individuals, and help residents in need with mortgage or utility assistance. Assistance is limited from $100 to $150 once a year and is paid directly to the landlord, mortgagee or the utility. Applications are taken Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Applicants must bring Social Security cards for everyone in the household and a picture ID.

To receive assistance or donate to the cause, visit FaithWorks at 7129 Turner Lake Circle in Covington or visit the Web site at faithworkscovington.org.

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