How Tom Slemmer enhances National Church Residences’ mission for seniors

Pillar Nonprofit Executive Director Finalist

Thomas W. Slemmer
president and CEO
National Church Residences
(614) 273-3504 |

“No money, no mission.” That’s not just Tom Slemmer’s mantra; it’s the reason that National Church Residences has grown to become the nation’s largest not-for-profit owner and manager of affordable senior housing.

When Slemmer joined National Church Residences in 1975, the organization had just one senior residence and a handful of employees. Since taking the helm as president and CEO in 1988, Slemmer has directed the organization’s successful growth to more than 330 communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico, with 3,000 employees.

To meet the challenges of a difficult housing environment, cuts in public funding and changes in health care policy, Slemmer has helped National Church Residences institute the business best practices and management techniques to better drive its faith-based, mission-driven organization. This includes creating a five-year strategic plan, developing measurable goals and holding each of the organization’s departments accountable for its own bottom line.

By instilling both the philosophy and the infrastructure, he continues to help the organization fund its mission successfully and look for ways to enhance its services — for example, by investing in a National Church Residences University that trains housing and health care workers.

With an effective growth strategy, National Church Residences has been able to enhance many of its offerings for seniors. Today, the organization owns and operates six continuing care retirement communities and five supportive housing communities for the formerly homeless and disabled.

Slemmer also oversaw development of a robust health care program for seniors, which added services such as adult day health, assisted living, skilled nursing homes, rehabilitation, hospice and others. Today, National Church Residences Home & Community Services serves 450 clients and National Church Residences Center for Senior Health serves 560 clients.