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 Bachelor's 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. In 2021, Wendy was honored to become a Steward of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, which consists of ABCD practitioners from across the globe. 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 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. She is the founder and CEO of Kaleidoscope Collaborative RVA, a Richmond-based consulting firm serving as a proactive and effective relationship steward and champion for racial equity, empowered communities and inspired citizens. 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.
Reverend John Maher
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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 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.