ChildFund’s Presidents Week: Verbon Kemp, 1964-1970

By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer

This week, we turn the spotlight on ChildFund’s top leaders throughout our history. Historical information comes from A Book About Children by Larry E. Tise and ChildFund archives. Please visit earlier posts about our founder and first executive director Dr. Calvitt Clarke, and Dr. Verent Mills, our third executive director.

Verbon Kemp

Verbon E. Kemp

Verbon Kemp, our second executive director, took over the reins of Christian Children’s Fund following Dr. Clarke’s retirement after 25 years as founder and executive director. Before, Kemp was a member of our board of directors, and he was a close friend of Dr. Clarke. Also, he served as executive secretary of Virginia’s State Chamber of Commerce before stepping down in 1963.

It came as a surprise to many that Kemp made major changes right away at CCF, including hiring staff members with backgrounds in development and child care, making record-keeping and financial accountability high priorities, and also updating technology, including bringing in computers for the first time.

“If anyone was a hero [in the transition], it was Kemp,” said Jerald Huntsinger, CCF’s public relations director at the time. “Kemp made the board an active, participating body with social welfare expertise. And he brought a new version of business management techniques to CCF. He equipped CCF to deal with the realities and complexities of the modern world.”

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