Our Founders’ Stories
Gene Heckathorn and Bob Cummings had a driving desire to be of service in their community. The two businessmen dreamed of lay people, like themselves, living out their faith in the world, using their skills for the betterment of humankind. They traveled all over the country doing management consulting with nonprofit and church organizations.
One day in May 1965, Heckathorn and Cummings were comparing notes about their work over dinner at a Philadelphia restaurant, named Vesper Club. They began to sketch out an organizational chart and their idea for a network of lay people on the back of their dinner placemat. What resulted was Vesper Society, named after the restaurant and to reflect the network concept they had created. And so began the first fifty years.
THE FLAME OF VOCATION
Gene Heckathorn passed away in 1973. Bob Cummings said that Gene was the engine that powered the dream into a reality. Bob Cummings passed away in 2010. Both men believed in the possibility of a better world, and to journey toward this vision with others was their vocation. We are grateful for the opportunity to do the same.
Part 1 – Our Founding
Part 2 – Springboard for Social Action
Part 3 – From Hospital Owner to Foundation