Reverend Carl Spacone joined the Mission as a Board member in 1963 and became the Executive Director in 1969. That same year, the Mission moved to the former Utah Hotel at 440 W. Washington Street (now the site of Comerica Theater). For 22 years at that location, the Mission provided showers, three meals per day, clothing, family events, Sunday school, food boxes, and six beds for addiction recovery. In 1991, urban renewal forced the relocation of the Mission to 35th Avenue.
Reverend Spacone passed away in 1993, leaving his wife Dorothy to carry on as Acting Director. Dorothy ran the Mission until 1994, when she hired Don Johnson as Executive Director. Under his leadership the Mission continued to grow and change.
The Phoenix Gospel Mission became the Phoenix Rescue Mission in 1997. In the spring of 1999, the Board of Directors appointed Jerry Sandvig as its Executive Director. Under Jerry’s watch, the Mission expanded its services with outreach to the surrounding community, serving thousands of children and families at special events throughout the year by providing food, clothing, and other items they otherwise would not receive. Jerry ended his tenure as President and CEO with the opening of the brand new Changing Lives Center, a specialized facility for homeless women and their children.
Jay A. Cory became the new President and CEO in 2011, bringing more than 20 years of experience building and directing Christ-centered recovery programs. Before coming to Phoenix, Jay served as Executive Vice President of Atlanta Mission, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jay cast a new vision for the Phoenix Rescue Mission:
A community mobilized to transform lives and end hunger and homelessness.
With a true passion for helping the addicted heal and re-enter society as healthy Christians, Jay brought about significant change and immense growth. Under his leadership, he launched the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children, the first and only faith-based recovery program in the region offering long-term, comprehensive services to women and children. He further expanded the vision by introducing education, vocational training, life-skills, and, most importantly, spiritual guidance to those stricken with poverty and homelessness. He increased the Mission's footprint by adding 100 beds to the men's campus, the Transforming Lives Center; expanding outreach services to become a Valley-wide initiative; and, in 2015, the Mission entered the social enterprise arena with the launch of Mission Possible Industries, a means to generating revenue outside its private donor network.
His vision for a more impactful Phoenix Rescue Mission will culminate with the expansion of the Mission's Transforming Lives Center, a project to increase men's program capacity by over 200.
God continues to call us to grow and serve more people. As we do, we will continue to see that we are cared for by the Lord and so many other faithful Mission friends!