George Hendrickson, Executive Director of Nexus-Kindred Family Healing, one of Minnesota’s largest private foster care/adoption organizations, will be retiring at the end of 2020. Hendrickson has guided the organization through many transitions, including its affiliation with Nexus Family Healing and two mergers to grow and strengthen Nexus’ foster care services in Minnesota. However, his biggest accomplishment, he says, “is the unending stories where a youth’s life is positively impacted and the ensuing success.”
Hendrickson began his work in foster care in 1979 with PATH MN, which eventually morphed into the Nexus-Kindred organization of today. After working his way through many positions and different capacities of the organization, he was hired for the Executive Director position in 2003. His leadership has helped the agency serve more children in need of safe and loving foster homes, growing their capacity form 40 youth in 1979 to providing care for 400 youth today.
Together with his family, the Hendrickson’s also served as foster parents for 20 years. “I strongly believe that family can make a difference in the life of a child. And it was a blessing to share life-changing work with my own kids – it helped them appreciate what they have and feel proud to be part of helping another child along on their life’s journey,” Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson recalled one of his most memorable moments, transporting an 11-year-old girl to her new foster family. She had been horribly abused by several men in her life and was frightened of “alone time” with any male. Knowing that they’d be in a car alone together, Hendrickson gave the girl a small recorder to help her feel safe. They worked together for many years until she graduated high school and moved into independent living. Years later at her foster father’s funeral, the girl found George, hugged him, and shared that she was getting married, buying a house, and loving her work. She thanked him for being “safe” and showing her that there were decent men in life, allowing her to learn to trust.
After retirement, Hendrickson plans to spend more time with his family and keep busy with home projects, maybe even a part-time job to stay active. His hopes for Nexus-Kindred: “To continue to impact the lives of the youth we are blessed to serve. I believe family is the best place to change the course of a child’s life. Nexus and Nexus-Kindred have an important focus on trauma, clinical supports, and seeing the great responsibility in providing only the best care possible.”
Dr. Michelle K. Murray, CEO of Nexus Family Healing, Nexus-Kindred’s parent organization, said, “George has made a tremendous impact in Minnesota’s foster care system over the years. We are grateful for his leadership and dedication to youth and families. His passion to serve others has always been apparent and we hope to find another leader for the agency with the same commitment to restoring hope for children and families.”
After months of extensive search for the Executive Director, Nexus has appointed Susan McPherson, MSW, to the role. McPherson comes to Nexus-Kindred with an extensive history serving youth and families in foster care and the human services system. She will take over at the end of this year.
About Nexus-Kindred Family Healing
Nexus-Kindred Family Healing is part of Nexus Family Healing, a national nonprofit network of mental health agencies with over 45 years of restoring hope for thousands of children and families through outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. We use innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters.