Our story is embedded within the history of the Nazareth Trust. Explore the unique heritage of the organisation we support here.
Nazareth Project is an organization with a strong history and a legacy of passionate leadership.
Rev. Forest Eisenbise and his wife, Grace, moved to the Holy Land in the 1950s with a Quaker organization to help care for the large refugee population after the war of 1948. During their time of service, they became acquainted with the Nazareth Hospital. Upon returning to California, they formed a small nonprofit organization called the Holy Land Relief Fund (HLRF) to collect supplies for the hospital.
The fund changed location and leadership several times over the proceeding decades, moving to Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina and finally Pennsylvania in 1989 where it was reorganized and renamed the Nazareth Project, Inc. Dr. Darryl Landis gave volunteer leadership to developing a board of directors while completing a family practice residency at the Lancaster General Hospital. H. A. Penner was hired as the Executive Director of the Nazareth Project in 1990 and Sue Shirk worked actively with Landis and Penner to launch the new Lancaster-based organization.
In the late 1990s Midge Crystle became the Executive Director, with Bob Martin as the Board Chair. In 2012, Karen Miller Rauch assumed the Executive Director responsibilities, working with the NPI Board chair Welby Leaman. In 2016 Berry Friesen became the Executive Director, but stepped down within six months due to illness. Bob Herr then led NPI from mid-2017 through September 2018 when he retired and Howard Good replaced him as Executive Director.
Dr. Robert Martin and Dr. Nancy Martin have played significant roles for NPI, the Nazareth Hospital and School of Nursing over the years. They served at the hospital from 1965-1968 and again from 1971-1978. The Martins returned to Nazareth for a third term of service in 1987, during which time Bob served as Medical Director of the hospital (1988-1995) and Nancy worked with the School of Nursing to develop an RN degree program. Later, Nancy served on the board of the Nazareth Trust and Bob provided leadership to the NPI board.