Nazareth Project, Inc. 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 and when they returned to California they formed a small non-profit organization called the Holy Land Relief Fund (HLRF) to collect supplies and send them to the hospital.
The fund changed location and leadership a number of times over the next decades — moving to Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina and finally to 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 Nazareth Project, Inc. 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.
Drs. Robert and Nancy Martin have played significant roles with NPI, Nazareth Hospital and School of Nursing over the years. During 1965-68 they served at the Nazareth Hospital and returned to Nazareth from 1971-1978 for a second term or service. In 1987 they returned for a third time during which Bob served as the Medical Director of the Hospital (1988-1995) and Nancy worked with the nursing school to develop an RN degree program. Later, Nancy served on the board of the Nazareth Trust and Bob provided leadership to the NPI board.