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Feb 16, 2015

As our country recognizes those who have served the highest office in the land on Presidents Day, we at Bethany remember our own organization’s presidents. In its 70-year history, four presidents have served: Hudson Nyenhuis, James Haveman, Glenn DeMots, and our current president, William Blacquiere. And while Bill is leading today, each former president has already left a legacy defined by the difference he made.

Our first president, Hudson “Huds” Nyenhuis, served 31 years and was engaged in politics, policy, advocacy, and expanding partnerships. Following his lead, each subsequent president developed government relations enabling Bethany to expand into new areas and make a broader impact. Hudson was the first to seek state funding and grants that grew our programming and services without compromising our standards and beliefs. He set the stage—and an example—for Bethany’s leaders for years to come.

During his tenure as president, Jim Haveman served six years and incorporated a national board. Some of those inaugural board members are still involved with local branches today. At that time, every branch operated independently, but Jim recognized that they all had a singular mission and brought them together with a clear national message and brand. He also articulated Bethany’s mission statement: Demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families through quality social services.    

With branches unified under Jim’s leadership, Glenn DeMots served 15 years and further helped to establish Bethany’s identity. Glenn’s presidency began during a strong, national pro-life movement. As a growing number of women faced unplanned pregnancies, he helped establish many new branches across the country to provide them with more options. Glenn was committed to diversifying Bethany’s programs beyond adoption and foster care.

Bill Blacquiere (2006–present) continues in the footsteps of those who came before him with an eye toward growth opportunities abroad. Bethany now serves children and families in more than 100 location in the United States and in more than a dozen countries— emerging as a global leader in child welfare and social services. With 70 years of expertise and best practices, Bethany Global partners with like-minded, on-the-ground agencies to keep children in safe, loving families right where they are rather than languishing in orphanages.

As leaders of the same Christian nonprofit organization, Bethany’s four presidents share a camaraderie—an understanding of challenges, opportunities, and vision for Bethany’s future. They enjoy meeting together several times a year to encourage and support one another. And even as they serve one another, their unified leadership serves the organization, ensuring Bethany stays true to its mission and brings glory to God.  

You, too, can belong to Bethany’s legacy serving others. Connect with us to learn how.

Listen to Bethany’s Every Child audio podcast. Bethany leadership engages Christian artists and leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in discussing issues relevant to children and families. Learn more and hear about topics such as child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and sustainable, culturally appropriate social services in developing countries

Read more from Bethany’s Every Child blog on Christian Post.