Eric Scharf Named New CEO

OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY – The Board of Directors of Wendell Foster has named Eric Scharf as its new Chief Executive Officer. Wendell Foster is an Owensboro based nonprofit organization that serves children and adults with disabilities.

Scharf, from Hubbardston, Massachusetts, was selected in a national search conducted by Wendell Foster. He was previously employed as Chief Operating Officer of Community Systems, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing services and homes for people with physical, developmental and mental disabilities in Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Delaware. Following his graduation from Northeastern University in Boston, Scharf began his career as a behavior specialist serving people with traumatic brain injuries. He is currently a candidate for a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Clark University. His career spans almost 28 years in services to and administration of programs for people with disabilities. Prior to working at Community Systems, Scharf served as Chief Executive Officer for the Becket Adult Services branch of the Becket Family of Services in Massachusetts, where he oversaw the development of sixteen residential programs and ancillary services for difficult to serve adults with high needs for emotional and behavioral supports.

Eric Scharf commented, “I am honored to be named as the new CEO of Wendell Foster and am looking forward to embracing and empowering the organization’s established mission and core principles. I am so pleased to introduce my family to a progressive and innovative community. It is my personal goal to establish a consistent person centered approach that fosters growth to optimize independence to all served. The Wendell Foster community has embraced my family and personal mission. It is my desire to now lead Wendell Foster towards continued excellence and innovation; together we will grow.”

Scharf is officially scheduled to begin his work at Wendell Foster on December 5, when he will be replacing Interim CEO Terry Brownson, who will be retiring from Wendell Foster for the second time. Brownson previously served as Wendell Foster’s CEO from 2004 to 2014. He has served as the organization’s interim CEO since July of this year. Married with three children, Scharf’s family hopes to be following him to Owensboro during the winter school break.

According to Wendell Foster’s Board Chair Clay Ford, “We are excited to have someone of Eric’s background coming to lead our excellent Wendell Foster team of employees. Eric was interviewed multiple times before he visited Wendell Foster in mid-October for a grueling day and a half of meetings and interviews. The search committee believes he will be a great fit for Wendell Foster and the Owensboro community.”

Interim CEO Terry Brownson had this to say about Scharf. “Besides being very experienced in services as well as knowledgeable of the various funding sources available for services for people with disabilities, our senior management team was especially impressed with Eric’s interactions with the children and adults whom we serve and with our employees. Our staff is excited to begin work with him in planning for Wendell Foster’s next seventy years,” Brownson said, referencing that Wendell Foster is celebrating its seventieth anniversary of serving people with developmental and other disabilities in the region.