Executive Directors

Charles L. Bender, III's Picture

Charles L. Bender, III
Founding CEO

Charles is the Founding CEO 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.

  • Opened Place of Hope, Inc., a faith-based, family-style child welfare organization, November 1999.
  • Leader and administrator of Place of Hope’s activities.
  • Director of comprehensive $3 million infrastructure project, site development order and housing construction in support of unique residential campus for foster children.
  • Served on the Korean Churches for Community Development Advisory Board, Los Angeles.
  • Served on The Salvation Army Center of Hope Advisory Board.
  • Served on the Federal Emergency Management Association’s Emergency Food & Shelter Program through the local board of the United Way Palm Beach County.
  • Guest presenter at the Seventh National Child Welfare Conference, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Washington, D.C., 2002.
  • Guest presenter for the Florida Faith-Based Association in collaboration with Governor Bush’s “Faith-Based Summit,” Orlando, 2002.
  • Federal grant reviewer for Children’s Bureau – Adoption, Abuse and Neglect Project (Discretionary Grant Program), DHHS, ACF, 2002.
  • Federal panel chairman and grant reviewer for Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Program, DHHS, Office of Community Services, 2002.
  • Focus group participant, Committee on Child & Family Security, Florida House of Representatives, “Faith-Based Services for Children and Families Project,” Tallahassee, October 2002.
  • Guest presenter at the “Governor’s Faith & Community Conference – Strengthening Florida’s Families” (Children & Families – Healthy Marriage Promotion & Foster Care), Ft. Lauderdale, 2003.
  • Guest presenter at the Florida Department of Children and Families’ (DCF’s) Community-Based Care Conference, “Working with Faith-Based Organizations,” Tampa, 2003.
  • Guest presenter for the Florida DCF Prevention Conference, “Sunshine on Prevention – Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Florida,” Orlando, 2003.
  • Invocated at the “Governor’s Strengthening Families Symposium,” Tallahassee, 2003.
  • Member of the Palm Beach County Children’s Services Council (independent taxing authority), appointed by Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush, February 2003.
  • Member of the Governor’s Faith-Based Advisory Board, appointed by Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush, May 2003.
  • Federal panel chairman for Compassion Capital Fund Demonstration Program, DHHS, Office of Community Services, 2003.
  • Guest presenter at the Annual Conference for Florida Community Development Association in 2005.
  • Received Whitney Young Service Award from the Gulf Stream Council Boy Scouts of America, 2005.
  • Opened Seven Stars Emergency Shelter for boys, 2006.
  • Opened Villages of Hope, Inc., a transitional residential facility for emancipated foster and other homeless youth, 2006.
  • Director of comprehensive infrastructure project, site development order and housing construction in support of unique residential campus for transitioning youth.
  • Completed the Invite Only Palm Beach County Leadership Program, 2007.
  • Steering Committee participant, Families and Children in the Court, 2007.
  • Served on the Palm Beach County Child Fatality Review and the Local Abuse Death Review Committees, 2005-2008.
  • Opened Homes of Hope, a traditional foster care and adoption recruitment and support program, 2008.
  • Served on the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Family Law Advisory Group, 2008-2009.
  • Guest presenter for the HOPE Orphan Care, Foster Care and Adoption Seminar, 2008.
  • Founded Voices of Hope Child Welfare Network, 2008.
  • Served on the Governor’s Faith-Based Adoption Initiative Core Group, 2008-2009.
  • Member of the Office of Adoption and Child Protection Committee Executive Office of the Governor, appointed by Florida’s Governor Charlie Crist, 2009.
  • Received 10 Year Outstanding Service Award from the Board of Directors at Place of Hope, 2009.
  • Received Community Champion Award from Florida Department of Children and Families, 2010.
  • Received Shining Star Award from Child and Family Connections, 2010.
  • Member of the Palm Healthcare Foundation Strategic Priorities – Behavioral Health Panel, 2010.
  • Received American Achievement Award from the American Health Association, 2010.
  • Subcommittee participant for Children and Families to Governor-Elect Rick Scott’s Health and Human Services Transition Team, 2010.
  • Participant of the Legislative Sub-Committee of the Community Alliance Committee, 2011.
  • Received Excellence in Child Welfare Award from DCF, 2011.
  • Guest presenter for Palm Beach Atlantic University on Child Abuse & Neglect, 2011.
  • Jupiter Christian School Board Member, 2011-2013.
  • Opened Joann’s Cottage, a maternity home for young mothers and mothers-to-be, 2012.
  • Board Member, Palm Beach County Food Bank, 2012-2013.
  • Guest speaker on Charitable Giving for The Republican Club – Palm Beach County, 2012.
  • Served on the Governor’s Faith-based Adoption Initiative Core Group – Governor Rick Scott, 2012.
  • Corporate Board Member, Florida Coalition for Children, 2012.
  • Member, Governor Rick Scott’s Transition Team for the Florida Department of Children and Families, 2012.
  • Elected to Governance & Leadership’s Co-Lead Role, 2012.
  • Opened Hope House, Florida, the first safe house for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking in South Florida, 2012.
  • Opened a southern Place of Hope Campus, Place of Hope at KidSanctuary Campus, 2012.
  • Opened Treasures for Hope Charity Store, 2013.
  • Opened Place of Hope at The Haven Campus in Boca Raton, 2013.
  • Secured 1.25M Legislative Funds for Place of Hope at The Haven Campus, 2013.
  • Awarded with Florida’s Children First Children’s Advocacy Award, 2013.
  • Awarded with Florida’s Coalition for Children Residential Caregiver of the Year Award, 2014.
  • Participant in a panel with Florida’s House of Representatives’ Healthy Family Committee re: sex trafficking.
  • Featured as guest speaker for the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce’s young professional’s luncheon.
  • Featured in Florida Weekly’s 2014 Palm Beach Leaders of Distinction special edition.
  • Place of Hope was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the “11 Top-Rated Charities That Changed the World in 2014” according to Charity Navigator.
  • Place of Hope launches its family style foster care program in Martin County with Place of Hope, Treasure Coast.
  • Appointed to Palm Beach County’s Economic Council April 2015.
  • Given the honor to provide the commencement address for Jupiter Christian School’s graduating class in May of 2015.
  • Member of the Palm Beach Round Table during the 2015-2016 season.
  • Appointed to Martin County’s Economic Council December 2015.
  • Place of Hope is a 2016 Sun Sentinel top workplace under the leadership of Charles Bender.
  • Member of The Rotary Club of Boca Raton May 2016.