SoV – Meet an Executive Director

Kurtis Kaechele – Streams of Hope

Kurtis Kaechele took the reins at Streams of Hope on February 17, just weeks before Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer’s shelter-in-place order took effect.  So it’s fair to say that his introduction to the agency has been unusual.

Kurtis grew up in Caledonia, Michigan and got his bachelors degree in communications and media from Michigan State.  He spent the first 15 years of his career as a brand and marketing strategist, most recently as the Marketing Director for his local NBC affiliate.  He’d been looking for a new job for some time, never expecting that it would be in the nonprofit world.  But when he saw the position at Streams of Hope, he knew that was where God meant for him to be.

Kurtis is the first full-time employee in the agency’s history, but he oversees a dozen part-time employees and more than a hundred volunteers.  Streams of Hope’s mission is to demonstrate God’s love and foster sustainable change through services that build relationships, meet family needs, and promote a healthier community.  The agency does all this on a six acre campus that houses their food distribution program, a community garden, offices, and a rec center. 

Obviously, one of the biggest challenges Kurtis has encountered so far in his short time at Streams of Hope has been the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced him to turn away many of his most dedicated and willing volunteers, who were clamoring to keep working despite being in high risk categories.  But the way in which the agency was able to quickly pivot and respond to the rapid fire pace of change brought on by the virus has also been one of his proudest achievements.  While their rec center has been shuttered, and the many educational and empowerment-focused programs they run placed on hold, Streams of Hope still operates its food pantry, which had to be shifted from a choice model to a drive-through pick up.  And Kurtis’ own day-to-day schedule has changed from meeting with potential donors and pastors to packing up boxes of food.

In his free time, Kurtis is a drummer and actually managed a wedding band for twelve years.  They traveled all over the Midwest, playing as many as 25 gigs a year.  He also loves to fish, and to spend time with his wife, Jordan, and their four year old daughter, Brooklyn.  And, naturally, he’s a devoted fan of all things Michigan State.

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