About

About Community Connected

Neither government agencies nor aid alone can solve the problems of poverty in our community. More than 30% of people in our community lack access to basic goods and services—from food and electricity to an education and the freedom to participate in the economy. We’re here to change that. Our desire is a community based on dignity, where every individual has the same opportunity.

At Community Connected, we see the poor as people with the potential to transform their lives. The current narrative around poverty, however, is to see the poor as a problem to be solved rather than as humans seeking a life of purpose, opportunity, and dignity. Our goal is to change that narrative.

Using the model of the Open Table, we seek to provide a platform for connections to be made and relationships to be built that transcend social, economic, racial, and generational barriers. Click the button below to learn how you can join us in this endeavor!

Get Involved

What We Do

We Recruit and train committed individuals to serve on Tables
We Invest in lasting, transformational relationships
We Develop self-sustaining individuals, families, and a stronger community

Our Story

Matt Schubert began his journey with Open Table over two years ago while working in his role providing technology solutions to measuring social service outcomes. He discovered Open Table, an evidence based movement, from founder Jon Katov, who spoke at a conference. After many months of exploring the model and seeking a partner for the initiative to be brought to Lynchburg, Matt met Neal Massey at a meeting of Christian business leaders. At the time Neal was working for an international organization interested in bringing their model of faith based community development to Lynchburg.

Community Connected, a registered nonprofit, was formed to bring a model that collaborates with Christian churches, businesses, universities,  government, and social service agencies to bring sustainable solutions to individuals and families in poverty.

Our Commitment

Starts by standing with the poor, listening to voices unheard, and recognizing potential where others see despair.

Demands sharing life experiences as a means to address poverty, daring to go where markets have failed and aid has fallen short. 

Thrives on faith-based, moral imagination: the humility to see the world as it is, and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be. It’s having the ambition to learn at the edge, the wisdom to admit failure, and the courage to start again.

Requires patience and kindness, resilience and grit: a hard-edged hope. It’s leadership that rejects complacency and breaks through bureaucracy. Doing what’s right, not what’s easy.

 

Our Team

Matt Schubert

Founder, Board Chair

Matt is a graduate of Liberty University and is working towards an M.A. in Law (Wealth Management & Financial Planning) at Regent University. He has been married for 21 years and has 4 children. He serves as a Board Member for Campbell County Social Services and is actively involved in bringing Open Table, an evidenced-based, anti-poverty movement, to Lynchburg.

Neal Massey

Founder, Director

Neal has over thirty years of experience in Organizational and Leadership Development in public, private, and nonprofit organizations.  He is a graduate of the University of Delaware in Psychology and has a Masters of Organizational Development from George Mason University. Neal is married with three daughters and six grandchildren. He also has over ten years of experience in the senior living field and has served in leadership roles with several churches and nonprofit organizations.

Rodney Suddith

Director

Rodney’s professional career has included a decade as teacher and coach in the cities of Richmond and Lynchburg, Virginia, 18 years on staff of a local church, and 12 years as executive leader of an international non-profit. In 2017, motivated to serve others, especially the poor and socially disadvantaged, Rodney decided to take those experiences to address challenges faced by the poor in Lynchburg, Virginia. He and his wife Janice, a retired career public school educator, have four adult children and ten grandchildren.

Josh Standeven

Treasurer, Board Member

Josh holds a Bachelor's in Human Resource Administration from Liberty University.  He is committed to helping the underserved in Lynchburg and is a founding board member of Community Connected. Josh and his wife recently spent time traveling to Ireland and Kazakhstan.

Wistar Nelligan

Secretary, Board Member

Wistar is a native of Lynchburg and attended E.C. Glass High School.  He earned a degree in Business Management from North Carolina State University in 1988 and is the owner of Nelligan Insulation, Inc.  Wistar is married and has three children (24,22,19).  He coached tennis at E.C. Glass from 2008-2017, and is an active member of Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church.  Wistar believes strongly that the Open Table provides a path out of poverty.

Dr. Todd Olsen

Board Member

A native of Pittsburgh, Olsen received his bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education in 1985 from Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pa., where he was a two-time Academic All-America selection. Olsen rounded out his academic career at the University of Pittsburgh where he earned a master’s degree in public health and a Ph.D. in epidemiology.

He has traveled to Africa multiple times in this role, where he is able to utilize his unique background as soccer coach and epidemiologist. He has developed and implemented community health workshops and programs on community public health issues in Kenya and Uganda. His work has helped serve some of the world’s poorest people with these training sessions

Rev. James Hobson

Board Member

Pastor James is a Lynchburg native, and he and his wife of five years have one beautiful daughter named Isabella. Pastor James serves as the lead pastor at Hc3 and has a Master’s degree in Global Studies from Liberty Divinity School.

James Cook

Board Member

James is the Director of Clinical Collaboration and Education with Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is responsible for the development of national and international medical outreach, patient care, and ministry opportunities for students, faculty, and staff of LUCOM.

James supervises the logistical support, planning, and operations of the short-term medical outreach events, as well as developing long-term clinical rotation partnerships in clinics and hospitals in Africa and Central America for the student doctors during their fourth year.

Joan Foster

Board Member

Joan Foster is a graduate of Lynchburg College and holds three degrees in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, as well as Special Education. She has served as Vice Mayor and Mayor of Lynchburg for eight years. The first female Mayor of the City, during her tenure as Mayor, Joan advocated for many key initiatives including race relations, pre-school literacy and healthy living.

She currently holds a position as Director of Development with Lynchburg Beacon of Hope, an organization which strives to instill in ALL Lynchburg City Public School students the aspiration to pursue AND attain a post-secondary education. Joan has lived in Lynchburg for 15 years. She is married to Bob Foster, and has three grown children and five grandchildren.

HONOR GOD

In all that we do

"And he said to him,'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."
– Matthew 22:37-38

 

DEVELOP PEOPLE

Both spiritually and physically

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” 
– 2 Timothy 2:2

PURSUE EXCELLENCE

God creates all things with excellence and therefore, we will do no less

“And whatever you do, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
– Colossians 3:17

BE GOOD STEWARDS

All things are gifts from God, on loan to us to help those in need

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
– 1 Peter 4:10