A Truly Diverse Company Starts From The Top Down — Pursuing Social Justice Through Employment Opportunities 

A Truly Diverse Company Starts From The Top Down — Pursuing Social Justice Through Employment Opportunities 

How do you ensure that companies are not just giving “lip service” when they say they have strong diversity policies? One local company that provides in-home care to the elderly believes you must start at the top.  

Agape In-Home Care, a new Bellevue company founded by both black and white owners, says it celebrates “top-down” diversity as opposed to most companies where homogeny is the norm. Pastor Alexis Ruhumuriza and Tim Cooke established Agape based on equality of a 50/50 ownership. Co-founder Ruhumuriza says, “Company policies describing diversity are not enough. We wanted to ensure at the outset that our company and its policies are based on equality, so we decided our ownership model had to be exactly 50/50.”  

Diverse Board of Directors

“We also want a diverse Board of Directors,” says co-founder Tim Cooke, “so we are holding off on hiring our Board to ensure we do so only if we can follow principles of diversity and equal access to opportunity. We want to recruit a Board and core staff that reflects diversity in gender, age and race.” 

Triple Bottom Line 

Agape In-Home Care provides high-quality care to the elderly while allowing them to stay in their homes. It was founded by Ruhumuriza and Cooke after they both felt a calling to serve the elderly in a way that support’s their church’s mission to “increase the spiritual, social and economic capital of the neighborhoods where they live, work, learn or play.” In short, they wanted to create a business that would focus on what they called the “triple bottom line” by serving the elderly community while pursuing social justice through employment opportunities for the historically oppressed.

Minority Staff

“Our staff is currently 99 percent minority,” says Cooke, who is the , but is also not a staff member. “We don’t and won’t discriminate against anyone. And our efforts to recruit are often focused on places and methods that are conducive to finding and hiring minority applicants.” The company’s staffing model is inherently multi-ethnic as it sources primarily from a pool of Cooke says, “Laws and policies regarding diversity and inclusion are important, but our strong belief is that true justice comes through human flourishing and the most efficient and effective route to flourishing is providing the underemployed vocation and employment opportunities. We go over and above to treat the historically oppressed with great care through liberal pay policies, as well as education and advancement opportunities.”

Employee Ownership Program

“We had a saying early on, ‘It’s not just a job, it’s a journey’ and we want to partner with our employees to walk with them on their journey,” said Ruhumuriza. Agape encourages its employees to pursue their dreams and passion to the maximum of their ability, even if it is at a different company or another industry. If an employee does want to pursue advancement with Agape, Ruhumuriza says, “We don’t want to put any artificial caps on their potential and therefore we created a program to equip employees to grow through the ranks to eventually become an owner in the company managing their own location.”

Agape Services

In providing care to the elderly, Agape offers a variety of services including 24-hour care with three caregivers rotating shifts throughout the day; daily visits to ensure routines are being followed and light housework is completed; drop-in visits or unattended errands to pick up and deliver medications, dry cleaning, groceries or packages; and companion errand runs to accompany the elderly on visits to the store, doctors, hair salons or spas. An added service is a free in-home safety assessment to provide action items needed to create a safer environment and present a proposed care plan if needed. 

Tim Cooke summarizes Agape’s mission saying, “We’re serving the community and overcoming prejudices by not only providing the highest level of care to the elderly, but doing it in such a way that it is enriching the lives of the ones providing that care.”

For Immediate Release

Day, July 2020

Contact: Tim Cooke; timc@agapeihc.com  – 425-818-9006 – www.AgapeIHC.com

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AGAPE IN HOME CARE FACT SHEET

Agape In Home Care celebrates diversity through a 50/50 partnership of two black and white owners who also pursue social justice through multiple opportunities for their employees. Hiring primarily minority employees, Agape treats the historically oppressed with above-average pay rates, generous interest-free loans, and training opportunities for advancements both in career and earning potential. The company also has created a “Vision Fund” where a portion of its profits are given back to caregivers to help them to further their education, pay for certification tests, send their own children to school or purchase their first home.

Agape’s mission is to:

  • Provide the highest quality care to the elderly allowing them to stay in their homes.
  • Provide the elderly and their families peace of mind with the best care available.
  • Provide job and advancement opportunities to the underemployed.

Co-Founder Alexis Ruhumuriza

In August 2015, Alexis Ruhumuriza left Rwanda as a refugee with his family and came to the United States as a refugee. He had been the founder of Rwanda Faith Academy that serves more than 1500 children. Earlier in Rwanda, he had met an associate pastor from the Bellevue Presbyterian Church (BelPres), which focuses on racial justice and reconciliation. Ruhumuriza was then sponsored by BelPres, where he was appointed Pastor of New Hope Revival, currently a worship community within BelPres. New Hope Revival serves many refugees and helps to facilitate multi-cultural worship and service as a community. To date, Ruhumuriza has been very successful ensuring newcomers to America are settled in their new home and helping them find employment. Co-founding Agape In Home Care was a natural extension of Alexis Ruhumuriza’s commitment to the church in bringing revival to areas underserved on the Eastside and serving inter-generational communities.

Co-founder Tim Cooke

In January 2018, Tim Cooke visited an investment organization that had an expressed mission of increasing economic, social and spiritual capital through the investments they make. Despite multiple educational degrees and professional accomplishments, working in Seattle, London and New York, Cooke was more interested in his future endeavors rather than past accomplishments. The following Sunday, his home church, Bellevue Presbyterian (BelPres), was unveiling its new direction for the church, which was to “increase the spiritual, social and economic well-being of the communities in which we live, work, learn and play.” He saw this as a sign for what God was calling him to do. Shortly thereafter, at the end of a faith/work networking meeting he was attending, Cooke introduced himself to Pastor Alexis Ruhumuriza, whom he recognized as the leader of New Hope Revival. By the end of that brief conversation, the basic concepts for Agape In-Home Care were given life and both agreed to pursue their new business partnership.

Agape Services

  • 24-Hour Care– Agape gives families of the elderly peace of mind that their parents and relatives have the best care available to age gracefully at home. They provide 24-hour care with three caregivers rotating shifts throughout the day. As the highest level of care available, pricing depends on the skills required for each part of the day.
  • In-Home Safety Assessment– A free safety evaluation from a trained Aging in Place expert is available with an assessment of action items needed to create a safer environment. Also, a proposed Plan of Care can be presented if needed.
  • Daily Visits – Caregivers can visit each morning to ensure daily routines are being followed and light housework is completed regularly depending on needs.
  • Ad-Hoc Drop-in Visits – Agape can assist outside the house by picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping, picking up medications or delivering packages.
  • Companion Errand Runs– If the elderly wants to get out of the house and shop on their own, caregivers are available to provide light errand services, such as picking their client up and either driving their vehicle or the caregiver’s vehicle to the store and assisting with shopping or doctors, hair or spa visits.
  • Unattended Errands – Caregivers can get things done outside the house by picking up medications or dry cleaning, grocery shopping or delivering packages.

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July 29, 2020