What is the Ridgecrest Foundation?
Following Lifeway’s 2020 announcement of plans to sell Ridgecrest Conference Center, Camp Crestridge for Girls, and Camp Ridgecrest for Boys, a dedicated group of men and women started praying for Lifeway leadership, Ridgecrest team members, and the next steward of these ministries – whomever that might be. Over time they began exploring the possibility of becoming that steward, adding specific expertise, prayer supporters, and counsel from wise advisors – and God provided the opportunity.
Formalized in September 2020 as a Delaware nonprofit corporation, the Ridgecrest Foundation, Inc., now serves as the parent organization for each of the Ridgecrest ministries and their respective assets. As stated in the Foundation’s by-laws, the primary purposes of the Foundation are “to share the love of God, as revealed through the life and teachings of his only son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Bible, God’s Word; to be a steward of the legacy and assets of the Ridgecrest Conference Center and the Ridgecrest Summer Camps; and to support the ministries of the Ridgecrest Conference Center and Ridgecrest Summer Camps and their opportunities to impact lives for God’s glory within a loving, servant-minded, purposefully hospitable, and gospel-centered environment.” In short, the Ridgecrest Foundation exists to carry on the ministries of Ridgecrest Conference Center, Camp Crestridge, and Camp Ridgecrest so that millions more lives will be impacted in the decades to come.
Who is part of the Ridgecrest Foundation?
The Foundation has a governing board providing oversight and strategic direction, but operational decisions are made by onsite leadership. Board members serve on a volunteer basis with no compensation for board service. Over time, the board will change as terms expire and new board members are added.
The Ridgecrest Foundation is not a membership organization and does not include official representatives from specific groups. However, the board understands and appreciates that many campers, families, summer staff, guests, volunteers, churches, event attendees, friends, and others have been personally impacted by our ministries and passionately believe in our mission. Our personal involvement with the conference center and camps spans over five decades and a variety of roles:
- Camp Crestridge and Camp Ridgecrest campers
- Conference center guests
- Summer staff
- Camp parents
- Members of both camps’ alumni boards
Each board member is a committed follower of Jesus and brings not only a passion for Ridgecrest, but a depth of professional experience including corporate executive leadership; mergers and acquisitions; capital planning and investment strategy; financial planning and accounting; legal transactional strategy; nonprofit advising; fundraising; risk management; communications; local government; and ministry leadership.
Current Ridgecrest Foundation Board of Directors
Jeff Buhler, Director & Chairman – Jeff leads the Ridgecrest Foundation Board, bringing to bear decades of expertise as a corporate executive, coach, and mentor. His connection to Ridgecrest began when he attended Camp Ridgecrest for Boys as a camper in 1980, where he continued to serve as a camper and staffer for the next 15 summers.
Jeff earned a B.A. in Religion from the University of Florida and an executive M.B.A. from the Rollins College Crummer School of Business. Jeff currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Massey Services, Inc., where he has overseen dozens of mergers and acquisitions, helping lead Massey’s growth from a family-owned, local company into a national business operating across seven states.
Jeff treasures his time with his wife, Faith, and their two children, Maya and Jackson, at their home in Winter Park, Florida. He is as quiet and modest as any typical Florida Gators fan.
Zack Fulmer, Director – Zack brings extensive investment and wealth management expertise to bear when serving and providing financial guidance for the Ridgecrest Foundation. His connection to Ridgecrest began when his children started attending Ridgecrest Summer Camps in 2018.
Zack earned a B.S. in Accounting from Clemson University and an M.B.A. from the University of Georgia. He is a CFP® professional and currently serves as the Managing Director of the Orlando, Florida office of Ronald Blue Trust.
When he isn’t serving his clients or pursuing his passion for adoption and orphan care, Zack spends as much time as possible with his wife, Kimberly, and his four children (Cecilia, Luke, Jacob, and Callie). If they are not on an adventure in a foreign country, they are most likely found at home in Winter Garden, Florida, watching Clemson football and planning their next trip.
Ellen Parker Gaffney, Director & Vice Chairman – Ellen helps lead the Ridgecrest Foundation with decades of nonprofit board, ministry, and fund-raising experience. Her Crestridge history includes being a camper, staffer, camp parent, and volunteer in the front office for the past 15 summers (and counting).
Ellen earned a B.A. in Biology-Psychology from Agnes Scott College and attended graduate school at Georgia State University before embarking on an extensive tenure serving numerous charitable, religious, and other nonprofit organizations in the metro-Atlanta area. She has also served on the board of Camp Crestridge Alumnae & Friends and is President-elect for Agnes Scott Alumnae.
Ellen and her husband Chris split their time between Atlanta, Georgia, and Black Mountain, North Carolina. They enjoy traveling and visiting their adult children (Robert married to Elizabeth, Ryan, Meredith, and Madeline married to Thomas) and two grandchildren who are future Crestridgers (Emeline and Adelaide).
Nathan Headrick, Director – Nathan serves the Ridgecrest Foundation with a depth of private equity, public fund, securities law and transactional expertise. He first began attending pastors’ conferences at Ridgecrest when he was two-years old with his grandfather, a revival minister whose sons would later follow in his footsteps as Southern Baptist pastors. Nathan served as a Home Mission Board missionary for a year.
He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and completed his master’s degree from Harvard University and his juris doctorate from Georgetown Law. He has served as counsel and a corporate officer for multiple public companies.
Nathan and his wife Kerry live in Winter Park, Florida, and have five children, three cats, two dogs – and a related dependency on caffeine.
Steve LaSota, Director & Secretary/Treasurer – Steve serves the Ridgecrest Foundation with a depth of legal, corporate governance, transactional, and communications expertise. His relationship with Ridgecrest began as a young child in the nursery at the Ridgecrest Conference Center while his parents attended events and was strengthened when he spent eleven summers as a camper and staffer at Camp Ridgecrest.
Steve earned a B.A. in English from Furman University and a J.D. and M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Florida. He is currently a practicing attorney with the law firm of Brooks Pearce, LLP, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He served on the board of Camp Ridgecrest Alumni & Friends, Inc., for over ten years.
Steve and his wife Jennifer live in Greensboro, North Carolina. They enjoy good food, minor league baseball, and frequent trips to the Ridgecrest area with their three children (Elle, Matthew, and Clara).
Robin Thompson Parish, Director – Robin enriches the Ridgecrest Foundation with her extensive ministry involvement, leadership training, and communication skills. Her relationship with Ridgecrest began in 1974 when she attended Sunday School week with her parents at the Conference Center. She stumbled upon Crestridge while hiking with her dad and spent nine summers as a camper and staffer. Later, she returned as Religious Director for a decade and has spoken at Mother-Daughter Camp for five years.
Robin earned a B.A. in English from Belmont University and an M.A. in Christian Leadership from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Robin has served as a Bible Study Fellowship Teaching Leader and Area Advisor and worked in communications for Christian nonprofit ministries. She is the owner of Robin Parish Photography LLC and currently serves on the Camp Crestridge Alumnae & Friends board.
Robin met her husband Ken when they were both on staff at Ridgecrest Summer Camps. They currently live in Hickory, North Carolina, enjoy fly-fishing together in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and have two adult children (Zak and Hannah).
Art Snead, President & Chief Executive Officer Ex Officio – Art leads the Ridgecrest Foundation and the Ridgecrest ministries as a strong, servant-minded executive passionate about team culture and mission alignment. His Ridgecrest journey began as a young child with a family visit to the conference center and includes eight summers at Camp Ridgecrest as a camper and eleven summers on staff.
Art earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Furman University, an M.S. in Mathematics from Florida State University, and an M.Ed. in Secondary Mathematics Education from Auburn University. He most recently served LifeWay Christian Resources as the Executive Director of the Ridgecrest Conference Center and Ridgecrest Summer Camps.
Art once self-selected the nickname “P.K.” (Preacher’s Kid) early in his tenure at Camp Ridgecrest, and that is how he is still known to many in the Ridgecrest Summer Camps family. Art and his wife Shelly live in Fletcher, North Carolina, where he spends time having fun with his kids (Silas, Josiah, Samuel, Komera), reading, and reliving his basketball glory days (which, truth be told, were not especially glorious).
- So, the Ridgecrest Foundation owns the property and ministries? Yes – but we understand we are stewarding what ultimately belongs to God!
- Are the conference center and camp names changing to The Ridgecrest Foundation? No, our ministries remain Camp Crestridge for Girls, Camp Ridgecrest for Boys, and Ridgecrest Conference Center – but instead of being part of Lifeway, they are part of the Ridgecrest Foundation.
- Does the Ridgecrest Foundation have a separate website? No. The conference center and camp websites remain our primary presence on the internet.
- Does the Ridgecrest Foundation have a Statement of Faith? Yes, and you can review it here.
- How can I support the Foundation? Thank you for asking – and thanks to the many of you who have done so already! We will continue to share opportunities as we move forward, but here are some specific ways to pray for us as the Lord brings us to your mind: (1) wisdom – for our board and ministry leaders; (2) safety for our people, property, and purpose; (3) accomplishment of our mission – Impacting lives for God’s glory!
- How can I receive communication from the Ridgecrest Foundation? Please complete the form found here.
Need More Information?
For more information about Ridgecrest, contact us today!