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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. I even did a bit of time as a biology teacher in California. And the best career choice for me has been working with families experiencing homelessness.

I had been blessed to have worked as a volunteer for over 30+ years with families experiencing homelessness prior to joining Family Promise of Lawrence. My first introduction to the challenges and obstacles for families was when volunteering monthly as an overnight host in a family shelter in San Jose, California in the 1990’s with my then sweetheart, now husband Leo, before we moved to Lawrence. We moved from the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995 for Leo to get his Ph.D. at KU. We fell in love with Lawrence and decided to raise our girls here. Leo is a Professor of American History at Baker University. Leo and I are the very proud parents of two amazing adult daughters, Emily and Jamie.

The best things in my life are my family, my friends, my faith, traveling, backpacking and my work.

This job is hard and is also a gift and brings great joy. I consider it an honor to work with Family Promise guests, graduates, clients, our board, staff, volunteers and alongside other non-profits and community leaders to make real changes in the lives of families who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8