Rufus Friday named executive director of the Hope Center in Lexington

By Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader

Rufus Friday

The Hope Center has named longtime board member Rufus Friday as its next executive director.

Friday served as the publisher and president of the Lexington Herald-Leader for seven years before stepping down in 2018. He most recently served as a special assistant to the Kentucky Community and Technical College system.

“We conducted an extensive search for our new executive director and found the perfect fit was close to home,” said Cathy Jacobs, chair of the board. “Rufus has been a longtime Hope Center board member and actively engaged in many efforts that make our community a better place. He has a heart and passion for our work, which is needed now more than ever as homelessness and substance abuse have grown during the pandemic.”

Friday succeeds Cecil Dunn, who served as executive director for 24 years and retired in 2019. Chief Operating Officer Janice James served as interim executive director after Dunn retired.

“I am delighted, thrilled and blessed to have this opportunity to lead a great team at the Hope Center, and I look forward to sharing the vision and advocating for the Hope Center’s mission as we make an impact and move forward in providing a clear path to self-sufficiency for anyone who comes to us for help,” Friday said.

The Hope Center is the city’s largest homeless center for men. It also has addiction treatment programs for men and women as well as transitional housing to help those struggling with homelessness, mental illness or addiction.

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