A Message from Our CEO: Embracing our mission, strengthening our future.

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Earlier this year, as I considered taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer for Embrace Living Communities, I had in my head how I would approach my first 90 days. The funny thing about plans … sometimes a global pandemic can throw a monkey wrench into them.

I was in my third year in public service, first as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, and then as Chief Operations Officer for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. My focus was on helping people in need whether that be those affected by national disasters, needing development block grants, homelessness or affordable senior housing. We were focused on the understanding that there is a nationwide gap between need and availability. Seeing Embrace Living Communities’ mission and success, I knew it aligned with my own values and passion.

Not many organizations can successfully and consistently achieve their mission over a small number of years, let alone decades. Embrace Living Communities has done it for 125 years – giving seniors warm, welcoming and affordable homes to live out their lives with dignity. That is a remarkable achievement and says so much about the team that residents place their trust in.

My first 90 days

That same team is the one that has placed their own trust in me. I have had the pleasure of visiting more than 20 of our communities since my first day. Hearing from the team at each community helps me better understand why this culture and environment is so inspiring. It starts with them and how they embody our mission and values.

As for that monkey wrench I mentioned earlier, my first day in my new role was April 20th. By that time, COVID-19 cases were rising, especially in senior care homes. The team here put protocols in place to keep infections and risk as low as possible. They did so while working hard to keep the spirits up of our residents. I couldn’t be prouder of their dedication and success in handling the crisis, which they continue to do today.

Pictured left to right: Scott Gipson – Maintenance Technician at Greencastle of Mulford in Rockford, Dede Smith – Manager, Greencastle Mulford, Ralph Gaines – President & CEO, John Diehl – Senior Director Housing Operations, Scott Sockness – Project Manager, Jim Frykman – Project Estimator


Looking forward

Our short-term plans continue to focus on the health and safety of our residents and employees until the pandemic ends. Nothing is more important.

In the meantime, we look to the future as we establish a solid foundation to meet the needs and demands in senior housing that continue to grow. We have exceptional programs and processes in place that keep our communities at the highest standards. This unique approach makes the experience special to those who call our communities home. We look to expand our own physical footprint while also partnering with existing senior living residences, which can take advantage of our consulting and social service solutions.

As for me, I am committed to building on the strength and greatness of Embrace Living Communities. It starts with creating an environment that empowers our employees to develop and grow. And it’s their work that fulfills our promise of providing affordable welcoming homes embracing compassion, respect and family, and delivering to our residents an enriching living experience.

Our story is 125 years old, but I feel that we are just beginning to tell it. It’s remarkable what happens every day in our communities. And the work we do is more important today than it’s ever been.

I am very proud to now be a part of this story and look forward to helping build on it for many years to come.                                                                                                                                                     

Ralph Gaines

President & CEO