LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Richard Carnes, the president and CEO of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, is stepping into retirement this week after completing a dozen years of service to Kentucky Baptists.
Carnes served as the Foundation president and CEO from 1988 to 1995 and completes his second term as its president and CEO that started in 2015. He had also served with the Kentucky Baptist Convention Mission Board financial staff from 1982 to 1988.
He leaves an organization that Carnes says is “healthy, sound and has a tremendous heritage of leadership. I look back on these five years of what we’ve done to continue to undergird the strength of the Foundation with great satisfaction.”
Carnes said the individual relationships with donors are what will always remain special to him. “These are individuals that work through the Foundation who see beyond their life to have the passion to benefit people and generations that they’ll never physically come in contact with,” he said. “They have that passion to be obedient to God’s stewardship and leadership and want to bless the lives of people across the world.”
He and his wife, Karen, will be transitioning to Nashville to live closer to their two sons, daughters-in-laws and granddaughters. They already have a home there and look forward to investing in the lives of their family.
“I thank the Lord for the integrity, skill, kindness and relational leadership demonstrated by Richard Carnes over the tenure of his service with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation,” said Todd Gray, the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “He has earned the trust of Kentucky Baptists and has left the Foundation poised to move forward into the future. While we will miss him in Kentucky, we are also grateful for God in allowing him to live closer to his family.”
Due to gifts of so many generations of donors, the Kentucky Baptist Foundation has distributed $8.7 million back to various Baptist churches, institutions, agencies and mission causes. The Foundation has a healthy relationship with the KBC and the administrators who Carnes worked with through the convention have shown “great leadership and wisdom,” he said.
“Each of these individuals are very talented business, administrative persons who in any other industry certainly would be making a higher income,” he said. “They’re working out of servants' hearts because they feel called to it.”
He has likewise earned the respect of those administrators who worked alongside him.
“During his two periods of service as the Kentucky Baptist Foundation president, Richard has been a wonderful ministry partner,” said Jim Donnell, associate executive director for convention operations of the KBC. “Kentucky Baptists have been blessed to have someone of Richard's competence and character leading the KBF ministry.”
Don’t expect Carnes, who turned 66 earlier this month, to walk off into the sunset. For one, he has become an avid runner. For another, that’s just not him.
“I’m hoping to engage in the community and volunteer,” he said. “Karen and I are looking forward to it.”
Besides doting over his two granddaughters, Carnes said he and his wife will be spending time with their sons and wives, Jay and Bethany and Chip and Tai. He will also be making trips back to Louisville to be part of the grounds crew during collegiate cross-country races in Tom Sawyer Park. Louisville has been a multiple host for the Division I national championships.
“My sons did cross-country running and they got me back into that on a very, very non-competitive basis,” he said. “I’ll run the occasional 5K, but I do enjoy that with my sons and look forward to more of that.”
As he transitions out of the office, French Harmon steps into his seat beginning Wednesday.
Harmon, a longtime Kentucky Baptist, has served the past 13 years as pastor of First Baptist Church in Somerset.