WSU honors Isaiah’s Place chief

DAYTON — Robert Lybarger II, executive director of the Troy-based foster care agency, Isaiah’s Place, was one of the top three nominees for Outstanding Nonprofit Leader at the Wright State University Nonprofit Leadership Alliance awards ceremony, Thursday, April 11.

“I am honored to have been selected as one of the top nonprofit leaders in the region,” Lybarger stated. “It was a surprise when the Wright State University staff contacted me. With the caliber of nonprofit leaders in Miami Valley, I am grateful to have been selected for this leadership recognition. I am truly humbled, and I recognize that this honor is a reflection of our entire team, not just me.”

Isaiah’s Place Board President Michael Cargill, along with Lybarger, who was named executive director in January 2017, both have brought their strong leadership skills and convictions of integrity to Isaiah’s Place. The foster care agency, which has been in existence since 2003, was in a state of crisis at the end of 2016, when the new board of directors took over. The former agency director and financial officer were misappropriating funds from Isaiah’s Place, putting the agency, its staff and the foster families they serve in peril. The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, along with the Better Business Bureau of Dayton, gave praise and recognition to Lybarger for turning the agency around.

“In 2017, Robert Lybarger II took an existing organization experiencing difficulty and turned it around,” said Vice President of Operations for the BBB Christy Mauch, who nominated Lybarger for the award. “He recognized our community’s need for providing quality treatment foster care in Ohio and to re-establish and develop Isaiah’s Place to do just that.

“He made people, integrity and community-building key priorities to achieving the mission. He made sure that finances, policies and procedures were updated and followed, and that included meeting BBB standards for charity accountability at a very early stage when many organizations would have delayed. Ethics and integrity are high priorities,” Mauch added. “The organization now offers a variety of services, resources and training to enhance the foster care experience for children and caregivers.”

Isaiah’s Place is a faith-based, therapeutic foster care agency serving 14 counties in southwest Ohio. The agency is licensed by the state of Ohio, and it has placed foster children from all regions of the state. Therapeutic foster care, sometimes called “treatment foster care,” means the foster families licensed with Isaiah’s Place are trained to handle children from hard places due to neglect, abuse, physical limitations and behavioral issues. Evidence-based, trauma-informed trainings take place at the agency’s location, 1100 Wayne Ave., Troy, as well as newly-added locations throughout the region, including the Isaiah’s Place satellite office in Hillsboro.

“We are very proud of the hard work accomplished in the past two years by Bob Lybarger, the board of directors and the Isaiah’s Place staff,” said Cargill. “The real winners are the foster children and the families that are opening up their homes to care for these children. We are grateful for Bob’s leadership, and we celebrate this honor as a milestone that we have turned the ship around and have become a leader in the foster care movement.”