John Diffey, President & CEO of The Kendal Corporation (www.kendal.org) was the recent recipient of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging’s (AAHSA) highest award, The Award of Honor, on November 5th, during AAHSA’s annual meeting in San Francisco.
AAHSA, with headquarters in the Nation’s Capital, is the professional organization representing over 5,500 retirement and long term care, multi-and single-site providers nationwide. In reacting to the announcement about this award, John Diffey commented, "As there have only been two CEO’s of The Kendal Corporation, during its 33-year history, and both have received AAHSA’s top honor, it has as much to do with Kendal’s culture as it does with its leadership."
The Kendal Corporation, with offices in Kennett Square, PA, has been providing housing and services for older adults since the early 1970’s. Founded upon a grant from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers), Kendal now serves 3,000 residents and employs 1800 people in 14 community and program sites in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts.
Since its inception, Kendal’s growth has been by invitation from local groups, in the geographic areas that Kendal now serves, who have experienced or heard of Kendal’s communities, its Quaker connection, and a form of governance that is inclusive of the people who eventually make their home in a Kendal community. Often, members of such groups have ties with local colleges and universities, which have led to Kendal’s national reputation for creating retirement communities in collaboration with such institutions of higher learning as Dartmouth College, Oberlin College, and Cornell, Denison, and Washington & Lee Universities.
In announcing the Award of Honor to John Diffey, AAHSA took particular note of Kendal’s first response to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, which included Kendal’s outreach to a sister retirement community in New Orleans, Lambeth House, which lost over 80% of its staff. Teams from Kendal’s corporate office and communities flew to New Orleans to provide whatever support was needed in order to get Lambeth House back on its feet. These efforts served as a model for other AAHSA affiliate organizations and contributed to Kendal being named "Volunteer of the Year" by AAHSA’s Gulf States Association.