Leadership Development Expert, Local Businessman to Head Faith-Based Nonprofit
(ALLENTOWN, PA) – Building on a legacy of leadership and service to the community that began some 115 years ago, the Allentown Rescue Mission has named long-time Lehigh Valley resident and business leader Jim Byrnes as President and CEO. The appointment becomes effectively immediately.
As CEO, Mr. Byrnes assumes all day-to-day oversight responsibilities at the faith-based homeless shelter, including programs, development, financial and administrative. He succeeds Thomas Gibson, who will re-focus his efforts exclusively on Board leadership after serving in an interim management role during the mission’s search for a permanent chief executive.
A highly accomplished ambassador and leader within the worldwide Toastmasters International organization, Mr. Byrnes brings a wealth of leadership development experience to the charity. He spent the past nine years as a consultant for various firms, advising clients across the nonprofit spectrum, as well as as companies focused on manufacturing, entertainment and customer service. His work ranged from team building and job coaching to communication, sales management and professional development.
Prior to that the Lehigh Valley resident served as President, CEO of Early American Industries, Inc., a retail and wholesale distribution, management company. During his three-plus decades there, Mr. Byrnes led a team of more than 180 associates that provided end-to-end operations, sales and financial management for company-branded stores such as Hallmark Gold Crown, Ford, Hershey and Crayola.
“Jim’s professional accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Mr. Gibson. “When you overlay his leadership skills with his deep faith and love for the life-changing work we do at the mission, you have the ideal person to lead this organization. We’re delighted to welcome him aboard.”
Recognizable for its iconic “God is Love” sign atop the historic building located near the corner of 7th Avenue and Hamilton Streets downtown, the Allentown Rescue Mission operates programs that transform the lives of homeless men and help them regain financial independence. Most of the funding for the mission is provided through individual and corporate donations.
The mission is perhaps best known for its emergency shelter, which provides men with overnight accommodations, food, and employment resource support. Many then enroll in the organization’s Christian Living Program, learning spiritually rooted life management skills that help turn their lives around. From there, graduates move to transitional housing as well as the Mission’s Clean Team, where they learn and earn while providing labor to companies and community organizations that contract for their services.
For more information on the Allentown Rescue Mission, interested individuals or organizations are encouraged to call 610-MISSION (610-740-5500).