Cummins Named Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bethel College

Erin Kinzel

Rich Cummins, CFRE, has been named vice president for institutional advancement at Bethel College. He most recently served as the executive vice president at The Rescue Mission in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he doubled the annual fund value and managed a capital campaign of similar scale to Bethel’s GREATer agenda. Cummins, who will begin at Bethel on August 7, will lead the team for Bethel’s fundraising, communications and alumni services.

As executive vice president at The Rescue Mission, Cummins served on a leadership team overseeing nearly 100 employees, 1,500 volunteers and 14,500 donors. He was responsible for all development functions, including fundraising, marketing, public relations, social enterprise, community relations and volunteers. During his tenure, giving increased from $3.2 million to $5.7 million and he solicited and secured two $1 million contributions. He co-led the fundraising strategy for the mission’s $17.5 million capital campaign and secured more than $6 million in support in 18 months.

Cummins’ skill and experience will further advance the goals of Bethel’s GREATer agenda, launched in 2014. Since then, the college has moved from one to 10 online programs and certificates; achieved record graduate program enrollment; launched new degrees such as the financial services professional major and a worship arts major and minor; and created two 4-1 programs in international health and pastoral ministries, which allow students to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. Bethel’s focus on innovation has led to the start of a Lab Kindergarten, a collaboration with School City of Mishawaka; the development of a college-run record label, HCM records; and the advancement of Bethel’s Center for Professional Development, which has awarded more than 750 certificates within workplaces around the state. The college has raised $5 million for scholarships and $3 million for athletic, academic and office spaces, such as the new $1.1 million nursing simulation laboratory. Bethel’s nursing programs ranked No. 7 in the nation in 2017.  

These recent developments provide a strong foundation for Cummins’ energy and fresh vision. “Rich’s passion for developing people and organizations will be an asset to Bethel as we continue moving the institution forward,” says President Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D. “He brings a depth and breadth of experience that will give added momentum to the mission and vision of the college.”

Cummins’ early career included serving as the president and chief executive officer for QC Printing Co., Inc., and chief executive officer and publisher at Providence Communications. He oversaw the publishing of regional magazines including HealthCares Magazine, Fort Wayne Business Journal and Fort Wayne Woman Magazine, and developed programs to annually recognize Fort Wayne’s Future 40, Top Docs and Best Places to Work.

In 2008, he joined STAR 88.3 in Fort Wayne as the executive vice president, and in 2009 facilitated a partnership with Huntington University to create STAR Educational Media Network, the non-profit entity that now oversees the station. Cummins was responsible for raising the funding, awareness and strategic partners to fulfill the mission of the organization. In 2009 and in 2013, the station was named the Radio Station of the Year for medium markets by Christian Music Broadcasters.

A native of Fort Wayne, Cummins earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Purdue University in 1995 and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Huntington University in 2017, where he also earned an advanced credential in leadership and executive coaching. In 2014, he completed his Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

"I am excited about the opportunity to help advance the mission of Bethel College by engaging the constituents of the institution, developing resources, and heightening community awareness and public perception,” says Cummins. “My family is also enthusiastic about joining me in the pursuit of Christian community at the college and in the Mishawaka area. Challenging young minds, enlarging their vision, and equipping the whole person for lifelong service will be our clarion call as we seek excellence with Christ at the Helm."

Cummins and his wife, Danielle, have been married for eight years and are raising a family with four daughters and one son.