Wendy McCaig

Wendy McCaig

Executive Director

Wendy McCaig is the founder and Executive Director of Embrace and the author of “From the Sanctuary to the Streets” (CASCADE books 2010). Wendy holds a Master’s degree in Divinity from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and a Bachelors in Accounting from Texas A&M University. Wendy started her career as an auditor, initially with Ernst and Young before finding her way into leadership in the local church where she served for more than twenty years. In 2005, Wendy started Embrace and launched a career in community development. In 2009, Wendy was trained and certified in Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) by Communities First Association.

She has spent the past twenty years doing community building in communities across Metro Richmond using ABCD principles and practices and began coaching and training institutions in how to strengthen communities from the inside out using ABCD in 2012. As a coach and a trainer in ABCD, Wendy has gained experience working a variety of stakeholders including community leaders, congregations, non-profits and governmental agencies. Wendy is married to her high school sweetheart and they have three lovely young adult daughters.

Cheryl Groce Wright

Cheryl Groce-Wright

Affiliate

Cheryl is joining the Embrace team as an affiliate helping to develop a network of support for community builders who are working to strengthen communities from the inside out.  Cheryl Groce-Wright is a seasoned non-profit executive with a career spanning over thirty-five years in education, program management and community development.  She has held positions in nonprofit management, youth programming and development, fund-raising and fund development, academic and social science research, substance abuse and family counseling, and college student development.  Cheryl was the 2015 Pat Asch Fellowship for Social Justice Recipient awarded by the YWCA and used the fellowship to delve more deeply into the area of Asset-Based Community Development and brought that knowledge and experience back to Richmond VA to continue working toward community change that involves community residents in every aspect of community development work. 

Fr. John Maher

Reverend John Maher

President

Reverend John Maher became the new Vicar for St. Francis Episcopal Church on April 1, 2013.  John retired from the Diocese of Arizona in 2012 after serving as the Vicar of Prince of Peace Episcopal Church.  Before accepting the call there, he served as Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Elverson, PA.  Following his retirement, John became involved as a part-time Vicar at St. Judes Episcopal Church in Phoenix, AZ.  John received his Master of Divinity from General Theological Seminary in 1979 and his Doctorate of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1992.  We are very fortunate to have John working with us on the next stage of Embrace's development.

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones

Vice President

Kelly is the co-founder and Operations Manager for Da Spot Recording Studio in Brookland Park RVA . Kelly spent six years in the United States Army where he was a supply sergeant. Upon completing his service to his country, Mr. Jones ventured into business for himself opening En’ Faith Entertainment (an artist management firm.) En’ Faith eventually evolved into much more than an artist management firm, producing several cable TV shows such as The Comfort Zone and Night Moods. In 1994, En’ Faith opened its own recording studio, recording many of Richmond’s top musical acts like the Good Guys, Black Source, Skillz, and Tribe of Judah. Mr. Jones then partnered with Todd Easter to form what is now DSR Studios.

Karen Scherling

Karen Scherling

Treasurer

Karen began her involvement with Embrace first as a volunteer and then as a board member. She retired from Henrico County schools as a school social worker and currently is teaching English as a Second Language to adults. Her career has included teaching on the elementary and university levels and inner city work in Newark, New Jersey. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Ohio State University. She and her late husband, Bill, began a Stephen Ministry program in their church. Karen continues with this ministry today. Karen believes strongly in Embrace’s philosophy of empowering people.

“As a retired social worker, I support Embrace because the way they approach the complex problems in our community offers long term solutions.”

Susan Custer

Susan Custer

Secretary

As an occupational therapist, Susan has over twenty-four years experience encompassing home health care, hospital and outpatient settings, nursing home, rehabilitation, and school system settings, dealing with a wide spectrum of disabilities.  Susan has a broad background in public relations gained from extensive patient interactions, and liaison activities involving physicians, nursing/hospital staff and patient families.

Susan served as Mission Chair for Woodlake UMC (1997-2003), Assistant Chair of Missions (2012-2013) as Church Council Chair (2004-07), and  Lay Leader of Church (2008-present).  During her time as the Mission Chair at Woodlake UMC, Susan engaged the church in CARITAS, led international mission trips, North American missions trips, and local mission engagement.

Don Reich

Don Reich

Board Member

Don joined Embrace in 2008 as a volunteer and then as a member of the Board of Directors. Don's career was both as a civilian with the Army and then in the defense industry. When he retired in 2007 he was Senior Director of Business Development for his company. Don joined Embrace as a way to become more active and to give back to the community. The Reichs have two daughters and three granddaughters. Besides the work Don does for Embrace, his church and the Brandermill Region Men’s Club, Don is an avid automotive and auto racing fan.

Patricia Carcaise-Edinboro

Patricia Carcaise-Edinboro

Board Member

Trish currently serves at VCU as Adjunct Faculty for the Department of Health Administration and Affiliate Graduate Faculty at the School of Allied Health. She is the Team Lead for photovoice RVA, The Community Voice Project in which members of Richmond’s Highland Park community articulate through their own photos and stories the challenges and successes they encounter in living a healthy life and accessing health care services. Trish has published widely on the intersectionality betwen race, poverty and age in relation to healthcare accessibility.

Prior to her professorship at VCU, Trish worked at the Massey Cancer Center and the American Cancer Center. She holds a PhD in Health Services Research from VCU, a M.S. in Nutrition from Virginia Tech and B.S. in Chemistry from her alma mater, Gannon University.

Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett

Board Member

The Rev. Chris Bennett is an associate consultant and facilitator with The Spark Mill, a Richmond-based strategic planning & consulting firm that works with non-profits & associations, small businesses & start-ups, and higher education & faith-based groups.  Prior to his role at The Spark Mill, Chris, an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, spent 13 years leading in small, medium and large congregations in both rural and suburban settings.

In 2016, Chris partnered with two other community leaders to create the Ministry Accelerator, a capacity-building pre-accelerator for the Virginia Conference’s Sustaining and Special Grants. Chris is a graduate of Virginia Tech, from which he holds a BA in Communication Studies, and Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond), from which he holds a Masters of Divinity. He and his wife, Jill, live in Richmond with their two boys, Henry and Nicholas.

Diane Hayes

Diane Hayes

Advisory Board

Diane is an Advisory Board Member, as well as a resident of the Brookland Park area. She is a professional artist and an educator who believes in helping students express themselves more fully through art, music, and design - particularly with those who are challenged socially, physically and emotionally.  She serves as the Director of the Pine Camp Cultural Arts Center for the City of Richmond. Diane serves with Embrace as a means to act on her passion and compassion for people in the area.

Jim Allen

Jim Allen

Board Emeritus

Jim is our first Board Emeritus. Jim has served Embrace for over a decade! He was with us in the early days as we hauled furniture up and down those steps at what used to be Highland Park United Methodist Church.  Jim set up our accounting system and co-authored our bylaws during his term as our Board Treasurer, serving for over 10 years. He and his wife became our first monthly donors and are now our longest running financial supporters. While all of these gifts made a lasting mark on our organization, it is Jim’s patient presence that created a lasting impact on Embrace.