Executive Directors

Charles L. Bender, III's Picture

Charles L. Bender, III
Founding Executive Director

Charles is the Founding Executive Director of Place of Hope, a faith-based and state-licensed family-style residential child-caring agency for abused and neglected children, located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He earned his B.A. degree in Sociology from Florida Atlantic University and also studied at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

Charles came to Place of Hope in 1999 following many years of work with various housing, social, and human services organizations throughout Palm Beach County. He has participated in numerous community committees, task forces, special initiatives, and boards. He has been a team member of several other local leading organizations including: Palm Beach County Housing and Community Development, Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, Inc., the City of Delray Beach Community Development Division. The majority of Charles’ work has involved low-income individuals and families, homeless and substance abusing populations, and at-risk/dependent children and youth. Prior to spearheading implementation of Place of Hope, Charles was a primary volunteer in the multi-year visioning and development processes while still a “vision” of Christ Fellowship (founding church).

Charles has significant experience developing and administering social programs and low-income housing initiatives, executing growth plans, implementing federal, state, and local funding programs, building organizational capacity and community coalitions, enhancing service delivery systems, raising capital and annual operating funds, and managing overall non-profit operations.

  • Currently leading Place of Hope’s activities with regard to the Administration’s Faith-Based Initiative (federal and state levels)
  • Guest presenter: Seventh National Child Welfare Conference, DHHS (2002) – Washington DC (Faith-Based Initiative)
  • Guest presenter: Florida Faith-Based Association in collaboration with Governor Bush’s Faith-Based Summit (2002).
  • Guest presenter: Florida DCF Community Based Care Conference (2003) “Working with Faith-Based Organizations” – Tampa, FL
  • Guest presenter: Florida DCF Prevention Conference (2003) “Sunshine on Prevention – Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Florida” – Orlando, FL
  • Federal Grant Reviewer: DHHS, ACF, ACYF, Children’s Bureau – 2002 Adoption/Abuse and Neglect Project (Discretionary Grant Program)
  • Federal Panel Chairman and Grant Reviewer: Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services (2002) Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Program
  • Member: Palm Beach County Children’s Services Council (independent taxing authority) – Appointed by Florida Governor, Jeb Bush February 2003
  • Member: Governor’s Faith-Based Advisory Board – Appointed by Florida Governor, Jeb Bush May 2003
  • Member: Korean Churches for Community Development Advisory Board, Washington DC
  • Member: FEMA Emergency Food & Shelter Program local board-United Way Palm Beach County
  • Community Relations Deacon – Christ Fellowship Church (one of Florida’s largest churches)
  • Lead volunteer and liaison for church-based voter registration / GOTV initiatives
  • Awarded with Florida’s Children First Children’s Advocacy Award, 2013.