“All of the experiences that I’ve been able to be part of, the many facets of this work that I’ve been involved in over the years…it’s all prepared me for what I do now with Lutheran Housing Support. I suppose I have a unique and quirky skill set now that is especially applicable here, if not anywhere else!”
Have you met Nicole? As the chief executive of LCMS National Housing Support Corporation (NHSC), Nicole Ridley truly does have a “quirky” skill set, developed over the course of nearly three decades of work in the community development realm. She started her work with a Fort Wayne (Ind.) Community Development Corporation in 1991, that included working on the St. Peter/Zion Project with the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison serving on the board.
Her hands-on-experience includes: mortgage lending, homebuyer education and counseling, property acquisition, loan originations, and of course managing the wonderful people in those roles. Over the years, she’s added grant writing, fundraising, and other variations of community development know-how to her repertoire.
In 2007 she ‘made it official,’ and became the project director for NHSC, providing expertise to LCMS entities and moving projects along smoothly. When it came time to hire a new chief executive in 2012, Nicole was appointed by the board of directors to carry the torch and lead NHSC as it carries out its mission to help LCMS congregations, districts, and Recognized Service Organizations in revitalizing local communities.
Best of all, Nicole said, is that they “get to use this community development work to open doors to share the Gospel.”
“For example, in many communities,” explained Nicole, “homeowners cannot make critical home repairs because of their limited available resources. NHSC works with congregations, out in their community, loving on their neighbors, usually bringing in Laborers For Christ and on a daily basis bringing Christians into these homes. It’s quite an opportunity to share the Gospel. The owners’ smiles and appreciation is very special to witness.”
For Nicole, the way that her Lutheran faith informs her work is “so simple!” “It’s what we’re called to do,” shared Nicole. “Just to love our neighbors! This work embodies all of that. We’re not only addressing their spiritual needs, but physical needs too.”
Nicole spends perhaps half of her time at home in the D.C. area, and half of her time on the road. She and her husband, James, have been married for 12 years and have five children.