Dana Ortiz, Executive Director
I came to this vocation in a bit of an odd manner – through a variety of professional experiences that have enriched my life tremendously. I have enjoyed a career in biochemistry working in a few different industries, including, pharmaceutical development, project management, agricultural metabolism, and winemaking. What was God doing when He called me to this position? I may have been slow to listen and heed his call, but He is persistent!
I have been blessed to have worked with the homeless population over the past 30+ years as a volunteer, including working early on with my sweetheart/ husband in a family shelter in San Jose, California before we moved to Lawrence. We moved from the San Francisco Bay Area 24 years ago for Leo to get his Ph.D. at KU. We fell in love with Lawrence and decided to raise our girls here. Leo teaches American History at Baker University. Leo and I are the very proud parents of two amazing daughters, Emily and Jamie. Emily is serving in Americorps NCCC in the Southern Region and Jamie attends Creighton University.
The best things in my life are my faith, my family, friends and travel. I love to read, the study of scripture, music, exercise and backpacking and hiking, especially in the mountains. Leo and I joke that we fell in love while I was eating his trail dust on trips in the Sierra, and by working alongside homeless families in San Jose. And so this job is a bit of a full circle for us!
This job is a gift and joy. I consider it an honor to work though grace with Family Promise guests, board, staff and volunteers. To offer the lost art of hospitality, to come alongside the families in the program through a very difficult period in life, to see God actively at work in the lives of so many on a daily basis and to meet people who strive to make the world a bit brighter. This organization truly models one of my favorite passages of scripture, from the minor prophet, Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”