Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer
Kirk Hinkleman is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Kinship Project. Having worked in the human services field since 1998, Kirk has a wide range of experience working with people with unique and challenging support needs. Upon graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2001, with a degree in Sociology, Kirk shifted his career focus to working with adults looking to live fully inclusive, independent lives in the community. Kirk met his current partner, Beth Gallagher, in 2007, and the pairing has proven to be dynamic every step of the way. Having an already established, well-respected agency supporting individuals with developmental disabilities living in their own homes, Life Works (in business since 2004), Kirk and Beth decided to open Kinship Project in February 2013. With mirroring visions and mission statements, Kinship Project runs along side Life Works, making it possible for seniors needing customized support teams to maintain the life of their choosing for the duration of their life, in the comfort of their own home. Kirk is excited about the future of Kinship Project and how he, along with Beth, can shape the future of in-home care for seniors.
Co-author (along with Beth Gallagher) of Intentional Teaming: Shifting Organizational Culture, Kirk believes that developing creative, qualified teams of support, intentionally around the person receiving the support, is paramount in providing the highest quality of care possible. When asked about his mission, Kirk says: “We need to shatter the walls our culture and society create that preclude us from making simple human connections with each other in the community and in our neighborhoods. I’m particularly fascinated with the idea of kinship and love. It is my hope, with Kinship Project, that we are able to embrace the idea that we all inherently belong to one another. Love should drive the care we provide…we are all human, and thusly, all deserve love, dignity and respect.”
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Gallagher is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kinship Project. Kinship Project was founded in 2013 when Beth collaborated with her long time colleague Kirk Hinkleman to formulate customized supports for persons who are elderly. Her work with people with unique support needs began just weeks after graduating from California State University, Chico in 1986 with degrees in Child Development and Psychology. While for over 2 decades her emphasis has been on creating personalized services, she began her career operating group homes for persons with behavioral support needs and/or medical concerns. The vast majority of her career has been focused on identifying unique support situations for individuals with severe reputations. Because Beth has chosen to work with people that have been historically under-served, she has spent a great deal of time studying person centered planning methods that allow people to be heard and understood as individuals.
Collaboration is entrenched in Beth’s personal philosophy as well as the philosophy of Kinship Project. She has helped coordinate strong collaborations between agencies while serving as a state wide policy maker and a served on several boards of directors. Beth is an advocate for people to live a life worth living, emphasizing that people be able to live in their own homes whenever it makes sense to do so. When asked what her mission is Beth says, “My hope for Kinship Project is that we can team with people and their families to achieve unique, customized and fully realized lives. We want to do this one person at a time in a way that makes particular sense to that person.”
Megan Ballow serves as the Care Coordinator at Kinship Project. As a graduate of Western Michigan University, her education and direct care experience led her to a passion for personalized planning. After college, she helped start an AFC, a family oriented home atmosphere for developmental disabled adults, in Kalamazoo, MI. As an on-site program coordinator, she worked with clients, families, and the community to identify specific needs and find solid supports for comfortable living. Megan values relationships and loves being a liaison. Connecting individuals with resources and recommendations allowed Megan to experience a variety of non-profit positions. She has provided case management and client support for developmentally disabled adults, foster families and litigation matters. Working for these organization strengthened her skills in organizational efficiency and community outreach.
Megan wishes to serve the Kinship Project with integrity, respect and compassion. She supports the elderly by listening and learning the individual requirements to find comfort in a happy home environment.
When asked about her mission, Megan replies: “My mission is to cultivate collaborative relationships with coworkers, clients and the community, to accomplish goals and strengthen clear communication. My passion lies in honest human connection and creating comfort in life. I hope to offer kindness, respect and guidance to our senior citizens, their families, caregivers, neighborhoods and the communities they call home.”