When Richard E. Ring was told that he needed a heart transplant in 2009, he did not know what the future held. Facing a serious operation and an uncertain prognosis, Ring resigned from his position as Executive Director of FamilyAid Boston (then known as Travelers Aid Family Services), Boston’s only provider of 24/7 emergency shelter for homeless families and one of the largest service providers for families in the city. Ring left the position after eleven years at the agency and a long career of helping Boston’s poor and low-income residents.
Five years later, after receiving a new heart and making a full recovery, Ring will reassume the position of FamilyAid Boston’s Executive Director on November 1, 2014. He takes the reins from long-time board member Bruce W. Liddell, who assumed leadership of the agency when Ring became ill and led it through a period of rapid growth and change, during which the agency changed its name and saw an unprecedented rise in the number of homeless families seeking shelter and housing in Boston.
When he resigned, Ring never expected to be able to lead FamilyAid Boston again. Yet, he says, “I was blessed with a second chance at life, and I wanted to do something purposeful. The best thing I could possibly do was to come back to FamilyAid Boston and support the agency’s critically necessary work.”
For Ring, reassuming leadership of FamilyAid Boston is a return to a cause to which he has dedicated an entire career. He began as a counselor for homeless men at the Pine Street Inn in 1970, when the agency had only four full-time employees. He eventually became Executive Director at Pine Street, serving in that role from 1983-1995 and overseeing the agency’s transformation into one of the largest and most widely-recognized social service agencies in Boston.
About FamilyAid Boston
FamilyAid Boston shelters nearly 150 homeless families per night and is the only agency that provides 24/7 emergency shelter for families in Boston. We are a nearly 100 year-old nonprofit that works with families at all stages of the journey from homelessness to housing by providing homelessness prevention assistance, emergency shelter, and permanent, affordable housing in conjunction with support services. Along the way, we work with families to identify and address the problems that led to their current crisis. Our goal is for the families whom we serve to remain housed, stable, and able to provide for themselves long after they leave our care.