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Serve Indiana > News & Events > BIO - Jeffery L. Cardwell, Executive Director BIO - Jeffery L. Cardwell, Executive Director

Jeff was born on December 7, 1959, in Morgantown, Kentucky, and was raised in Indianapolis. He is a graduate of Ben Davis High School. Jeff earned his college degree at Indiana Wesleyan University, and in 1976 he began his career in the lumber industry. In October 1994, Builder/Architect Magazine named Jeff “Builder of the Month.”

In 1994, Jeff’s radio career began when he appeared as a guest on a local radio show discussing his passion for community service through his work with Habitat for Humanity. Soon after, he was invited to become a co-host to share his knowledge of the real estate industry and the home improvement market with a weekly call-in audience.

Jeff was accredited by the Residential Sales Council as a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) in 1996, a distinction awarded to only 4 percent of REALTORS nationwide.

In 1998, as President and CEO of Cardwell Do-it Best Home Center, Jeff built the first prototype of the “Do-it Best Hardware Store,” a new retail concept now being built around the world. Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Do-It Best Corp’s world headquarters serves more than 4,000 independent members in more than 50 nations.

Jeff went on his first mission trip in June 2000, traveling to El Salvador. It was during that trip that the idea for creating “World In Need” (WIN), a not-for-profit charitable organization, was born. Jeff, along with four other men, established the organization on December 19, 2000, to serve those in need. Three weeks later, on January 13, 2001, a devastating earthquake hit El Salvador, killing several thousand people and leaving more than 1 million people homeless. In less than 90 days, World In Need provided more than $2 million in emergency relief supplies to the earthquake victims.

On September 4, 2001, Jeff launched the “People Helping People” radio network, which airs weekly on several radio stations in Central Indiana. In 2003, he was commissioned a “Kentucky Colonel” by Governor Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky, commissioned an “Honorary Colonel” by Governor Bob Riley of Alabama and presented with a United States “Congressional Salute” for his community service.

Jeff led a first response team of volunteers to assist the survivors of “Hurricane Katrina” in September of 2005 delivering more than 2 millions pounds of donated relief items within the first 60 days after the storm. In October, Jeff traveled to Pattaya, Thailand for the “Third Global Summit on Peace through Tourism”, with more than 60 nations represented, presenting his views on “Traveling with a Purpose” and the new concept of worldwide “Voluntourism”.

In November of 2007, Jeff was elected to the Indianapolis City-County Council and was re-elected again in November of 2011. In June of 2009, Jeff was named “Honorary Consulate” to the Republic of El Salvador.

Governor-Elect Mike Pence appointed Jeff to serve as the Executive Director of the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) in December 2012, a Cabinet position in the Pence Administration.

Jeff is co-President of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Motorcycle Drill Team, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis and Grace Assembly of God of Greenwood. Jeff resides in Indianapolis with his wife, Cheryl. They have three children.