LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Vincent James Sr. has faithfully served his community his entire life. The once chief of community building for Metro Louisville and pastor of Elim Baptist Church is now the president and CEO of the city's fourth-largest nonprofit, Dare to Care.
After graduating from Atherton High School, James received a degree in finance from the University of Louisville, hoping to become a Wall Street investment banker. Then, he said his purpose in life shifted.
James attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and became a licensed Minister of the Gospel, eventually passing up his original career track to become a pastor. He said his church was "involved and engaged in the community," but "we were doing things in isolation as many churches do."
Then, violence renewed his purpose.
“It was a life changing moment. May 17, 2012 there was a triple homicide outside my church. I was there, I actually arrived when the first responders arrived. I saw two young men who had shot at each other and had killed each other and that was devastating to me," James said. "And then a couple of hours later...another young lady [was shot]. That was traumatic for the community, myself. I said whatever I need to do I'm going to do it."
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer put James at the forefront as chief of community building. He said he believes he laid the ground work for the office during his time.
"I know I made a change," James said. "Not as much as I wanted to, but when I look at the response of the community, how our community was hurting...one of the things I intentionally did as a pastor and chief of community building was how do we begin to build healing in our community.”
Now, James said he plans to nourish the community as president and CEO of Dare to Care.
“I'm excited," James said. "I can’t tell you enough how excited I am about Dare to Care Food Bank. It’s an incredible organization. Dare to Care's mission is to led the community feed the hungry and ending the cycle of need."
James said he has found his mission in life.
“I'm walking in my purpose," James said. "I get excited every morning when I wake up and I get to live out my dream in terms of helping people."