Board

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Nancy Regehr

Board Chair

Nancy joined the MennoHomes board in 2011 after retiring from her position as Associate Executive Director of Project Ploughshares after more than 30 years of service. 

During that time she had responsibilities for finances, fundraising, personnel, administration and board governance.

Nancy has a certificate in nonprofit and voluntary sector management from Ryerson University in Toronto. In addition to serving as chair of MennoHomes, Nancy is currently the chair of the Grand Philharmonic Choir and treasurer of the World Federalist Movement – Canada.

From 1974 to 1976 Nancy and her husband Ernie were MCC volunteers, living in Botswana, South Africa and Zambia where Ernie worked on a research and writing project on the role of South African churches in the struggle against apartheid.

Nancy grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario and met Ernie when they were students at Conrad Grebel University College. Nancy and Ernie were married in 1968 and have three children and six grandchildren. They live in Waterloo and are members of Rockway Mennonite Church.

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Chip Bender

Vice Chair

Chip joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. He is currently self-employed as a renovator. 

He became aware of the need for affordable housing while employed by The Working Centre in a position that supported the persistently homeless population in Kitchener. Prior to joining MennoHomes, he served on the board of directors at the House of Friendship.

He has served as a pastor in two different urban Mennonite congregations (Ottawa and Waterloo) and as an addiction counselor for the House of Friendship in the Addiction Supportive Housing (ASH) program.  He learned some building trades through two long-term stints with Mennonite Disaster Service.  He has studied theology in Winnipeg and Waterloo, receiving his MTS from Conrad Grebel University College. He has also been trained as a coach and as a spiritual director. Chip continues to learn valuable lessons from his wife, Wendy Janzen and their two elementary school-aged sons with whom he shares a residence in downtown Kitchener.

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Brian Unrau

Secretary

Brian joined the MennoHomes board in 2016. He is president of Vigor Clean Tech, a local renewable energy developer. 

His work experience and education reflect his wide-ranging interests and skills including a Bachelor of Environmental Design, Masters of Business Administration, as well as being a Chartered Professional Accountant. He has worked as a consultant, business owner, teacher, and in finance.

In addition to his work with Vigor Clean Tech, Brian is President of Community Energy Development Co-operative Ltd. He also serves on the board of directors of the Federation of Community Power Co-operatives.

Brian and his wife Jennifer have three young children who enjoy living in Haysville (near New Hamburg). He sees his role with MennoHomes as an opportunity to further use his skills in shaping financing/business models while integrating this with his interests in design and the built environment.Brian is excited by the opportunity to look at energy efficiency and building systems in creating both sustainable and affordable housing.

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Amie Brubacher McPhee

Treasurer

Amie joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a 2002 graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Masters of Accounting degree. 

Amie is the Sr. Director, Corporate Finance at Mennonite Economic Development Associates in Waterloo. She has been working with MEDA since 2004, starting as Assistant Controller. Amie enjoys getting involved in local community events and sports organizations. Amie, her husband Chris, and their two children live in Wellesley.

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Arnie Bender

Board Member

Arnie has been associated with MennoHomes since 2002, more recently as Representative for Wellesley Mennonite Church. He joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. 

He and his wife, Barb, have called the village of Wellesley home for the past 16 years. They have three grown children and six grandchildren.

Graduating from OAC Guelph in 1966, his career focus has been the construction industry, both residential and commercial.He’s held a licenced carpenter certificate for more than 40 years, and retired as a Construction Site Superintendent.He’s also served on various committees within the church, as well as, in the construction trade. He “officially” retired from the construction industry but stays involved in various projects. Arnie enjoys helping others and staying busy.

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Cheryl Buehler

Board Member

Cheryl joined the MennoHomes board in 2017. Cheryl is Senior Legal Counsel at Family and Children’s Services (FCS) of the Waterloo Region.She been with FCS since 2001 after having her own practice in Elmira for several years. 

Cheryl currently serves as co-chair of the Senior Counsel Networking Group of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.

Through her work at Family and Children’s Services, she has gained a greater understanding of the importance of the needs of the community and the huge impact that volunteers, charities and not-for-profit groups can have in the life of a child and family.She passionately believes that stable and affordable housing is a critical need in the community and vital to the strength of our families and well-being of our children.

Cheryl hopes that her experience in child welfare and her legal training will be of benefit to the MennoHomes team.

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Steven Reesor Rempel

Board Member

Steven joined the MennoHomes board in 2014. He works as the Development Assistant at Shalom Counselling Services in Waterloo. 

After working with Mennonite Central Committee in Bangladesh for 1 year, and with the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support in Kitchener for 5 years, he returned to school for his Masters of Business Administration, graduating in 2014.

As an avid soccer player, Steven captains the “Mennos in Black” soccer team. Steven and his wife Jessica live in downtown Kitchener.

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John Oudyk

Board Member

John believes the research—the single most important factor in reducing the impact of poverty is affordable, stable housing. He wants to be a part of that process in Waterloo Region. 

John joined the MennoHomes Board in 2017. In 2016, John sold his business entering into early retirement which has provided time and energy for more volunteer activities such as joining the MennoHomes board.

John has extensive experience at the Board level: 10 years on the Better Business Bureau, 3 years on the Condominium board where he lives in Kitchener, 6 years on the executive of a trade association and 3 years with the leadership team at his local church.

These board positions, business experience, and life lessons have taught John that goals can be achieved best through partnerships when like-minded people and organizations come together and join forces.

William Wallace

William Wallace

Board Member

William joined the MennoHomes board in 2016. He is a former actor, teacher and now branding expert who has resided in the Waterloo Region for 17 years.

He leads The Brand Architect, a local firm that specializes in helping clients with marketing promotions and overall branding.

As part of his urge to become more involved in his community, he founded the local chapter of 100 Men Who Give a Damn. Not only has this charity conduit created ties to the community, it has made William that much more aware of what local charities there are, and the needs in the Waterloo Region.

William is interested in organizations like MennoHomes because of what he feels is the need for affordable housing locally. At present he lives In Brighton Yards Housing Cooperative, so he understands what is possible when industry and humanity work together.

William Wallace looks forward to working with the Board on marketing initiatives and strengthening the brand of MennoHomes as it increases its mandate and scope.

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Martin Buhr

President Emeritus

A Brief Overview of Martin’s Legacy

In late 2000 at the initiative of Mennonite Central Committee, a small working group was formed to explore how best to respond to the need for affordable housing in Waterloo Region. Martin Buhr had just retired after serving as the Executive Director of the House of Friendship from 1978 to 1998. He agreed to lead this new initiative along with his wife Pauline. In May 2001, the working group invited local Mennonite and Brethren in Christ pastors, together with members of their churches who were community leaders in health and social services into the discernment process to determine how best to respond. There was strong support for a collective response to the need for affordable housing.

The name MennoHomes was chosen and the decision was made on June 11, 2001 to incorporate as a not-for-profit organization and apply for charitable status. When an incorporation and registration process that often could take up to a year was accomplished by September 2001, a short three months later, Martin Buhr say, “We realized something very unusual was happening. God’s blessing was at hand.”

From the onset, the inspired leadership of Martin Buhr ensured new opportunities would be pursued and the stock of affordable housing increased. Upon Martin’s retirement in October 2013, MennoHomes had created 105 affordable rental units in Waterloo Region housing hundreds. Recognizing that residents need more than just a building, MennoHomes also provides connections to social services through Community Support Workers.

As MennoHomes moves into its second decade, the need for affordable housing still exists – but so does the will to support neighbours in need. MennoHomes continues to respond building on the work of Martin Buhr.