Education: Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and psychology, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro, Kentucky; Master of Health Administration, University of Southern Indiana
Resume: Community group home manager, director and vice president of group home program, vice president of group homes and medical services, vice president of operations, (currently) president/CEO, Easterseals Rehabilitation Center (1988-present)
Hometown: Henderson, Kentucky
Few nonprofit agencies in Evansville cover as much territory as Easterseals, founded in 1946, which provides rehabilitative services to residents of at least 30 Tri-State counties, regardless of their ability to pay. CEO Kelly Schneider is leading Easterseals as it grows its mental health diagnostic and counseling outreach, while also maintaining its high-quality, well-known physical rehabilitation programs and other services.
What’s the most gratifying part about your work as Easterseals’ CEO?
There really are a lot of different things. Obviously, knowing the difference that we make in people’s lives every day and helping them be more independent, helping them reach whatever goals they have. I enjoy dealing with people in the community and talking to them about Easterseals. People have such a tremendous, positive attitude about Easterseals. I’m out in the community a lot, so I would say, at this point, that’s almost more gratifying than the work that we do every day. You can’t fulfill the mission without the fundraising, and the reputation and community support this organization has is just phenomenal.
How has Easterseals’ mission expanded?
Our core services are physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and audiology, and that’s very important. But the mental health aspects that go along with that are also very important. And, as we know, the need has increased so much. So, we made the decision in 2017 to expand that program based on the needs in the community. We created a doctoral level internship program under the supervision of Dr. Jim Schroeder. That program has two goals — to provide more services to many more children now, and to train the providers of the future, because we know there are not enough psychologists in this area. Southern Indiana particularly has a very low number of clinical psychologists per capita compared to the rest of the state.
Tell us about the ensuring the future campaign.
Our goal is to ensure that people at all income levels have access to the highest quality of clinical services in psychology. What sets us apart is the psychological testing we do. There’s counseling available, but if you don’t have the right diagnosis, counseling’s not going to help you. We knew when we started that program that we were providing that service — like our other clinical services — regardless of ability to pay. We knew that was going to increase our need for fundraising. We knew we could not provide that underwriting by just raising more money the traditional way. We decided we needed a campaign to raise restricted funds that will support mental health expansion exclusively, so we’re not detracting from other core services we’re most known for and that we know are so important. This campaign will allow us to continue to have the doctoral level internship program, and even continue to grow it.
Where does the campaign stand?
The goal is $5 million. We are at about a little more than 80 percent of goal. The last part is always the hardest to raise, but we’re blessed with some really good benefactors, and we are counting on more support to help us achieve this goal. The community always comes through, and so far, people have responded really well. Everybody knows the need. We’d love to finish by the end of the year, but I think we’re probably looking at the first quarter of next year.