Local nonprofit organization Village of Promise (VoP) celebrates the one-year service anniversary and leadership of CEO Dana M. Gillis, who is dedicated to transforming lives – one family at a time. Gillis wholly supports VoP’s mission “to empower families to advance out of poverty using a multi-generational approach, promising support through a continuum of services and inspiring them to achieve their goals and contribute to their community.”
“Walking alongside Village of Promise families as they take active steps to create a better life for generations to come is truly humbling,” said Gillis, adding that he is honored to serve and is grateful for the generosity that the Huntsville community continually provides. “The one word I chose to focus on this past year was partnerships – from our families, staff, local and state government, volunteers, donors and corporate partners – all fuel the programming that allows our families to earmark dreams and move towards ending the cycle of poverty.”
Over the past year, VoP has taken strides in moving forward by:
- Adopting a new strategic plan in July 2022.
- Creating a Health Services Program, in partnership with HEALS, Inc. and WellStone, Inc. to provide an on-site clinic for students and families to access mental health and general healthcare – fully funded by a Community Foundation Compass Society grant award.
- Holding their annual One Table Huntsville event, which was nominated by Downtown Huntsville, Inc. as a candidate for Event of the Year.
- Building closer relationships with the Northwoods community through a Family Advancement Center-led, door-knocking campaign.
- Establishing a healthy eating program that provides preschool scholars with two meals and a snack every school day.
- Re-establishing the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® VoP summer reading program for area students.
- Completing the Outdoor STEAM Learning Lab and Garden, along with ribbon-cutting event to honor community partners that made the area possible.
- Holding two successful Speaker Series events: Manny Scott (August 2023); Leland Melvin (May 2023).
- Establishing a new corporate partnership program.
- Initiating community outreach programs like “Valentine’s Night Out” and “Donuts for Dads” to recognize and reward Village families on special occasions.
- Increasing professional development opportunities to include understanding communication preferences, team dynamics, participating in professional organizations and hosting the first overnight staff offsite retreat for learning and team bonding.
“Under Dana’s guidance, the Village of Promise has flourished, providing invaluable support and resources to those in need. His commitment to empowering individuals and fostering a sense of community has transformed lives and brought hope to many,” said Village of Promise Board of Directors Chair Beth B. Richardson. “His leadership style, characterized by compassion and a strong sense of purpose has undoubtedly been instrumental in driving the organization’s success. We applaud the positive impact he has made in his first year as CEO.”
Gillis came to VoP with over 30 years of experience in varied organizational leadership positions with a demonstrated passion for servant stewardship, as evidenced by his military service as a U.S. Army Field Artillery officer and his twenty-four-year career as a Special Agent of the FBI. Gillis’s community service includes work on the boards of directors for several organizations in the Huntsville community, including the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama (currently known as The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship), Leadership Greater Huntsville, and Arts Huntsville. Gillis is a Rotarian and previously served as the president of the Huntsville Rotary Club for the 2019-2020 service year