The history of Community Ministries International begins with Quo Vadis Christian Bookstore. Elmer Hiebert, the founder of Quo Vadis in Tempe, AZ, in 1972 established Community Ministries Inc. as a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization in the 1980s. (The name was changed to Community Ministries International in 2009 to reflect the current world-wide scope of its ministries.) He chaired the CMI board of directors, which included a few close associates and Tempe student ministers. Together, they established its charitable organization status with the IRS.
One of CMI’s goals was to support the outreach efforts of the not-for-profit Quo Vadis bookstore with its monthly rent and expenses through tax-deductible donations. Besides being a book ministry, Quo Vadis also ministered to the believers and non-believers on the ASU campus through church and small group meetings and as a hospitable gathering place. Another goal for CMI was helping independent and unique ministries that did not fit denominational or church-commissioning parameters, i.e., para-church groups of various kinds: ministries to the mission field in faraway places, ministries to the homeless, to Muslims, to international students, and especially to the students and faculty at Arizona State University.
Since Elmer stepped away from leading CMI in 2005, the board has been filled by ASU faculty and staff, local businessmen and women, and church volunteers. The vision is still loyal to its founder: to assist independent and unique ministers with raising funds for their callings to serve the kingdom of God and to help Quo Vadis Bookstore maintain its forty-plus year presence as a light to Tempe and the ASU campus.