City on a Hill, a nonprofit focused on eliminating poverty in Milwaukee, has named Art Serna as its next chief executive officer.
Serna joined the organization in August 2020 as deputy director.
“I’m humbled to have the opportunity to help guide City on a Hill through its next decades as a beacon of hope for young people in Milwaukee,” Serna said. “Generational poverty impacts our entire community and I will continue to dedicate my career to working on solutions, both simple and complex, that break that cycle.”
The organization, which is based in a former hospital at 2224 W. Kilbourn Ave. in Milwaukee, employs 20 people and serves 1,200 youth and their families annually through its social, academic, emotional and spiritual services.
As CEO, Serna has begun a community-wide listening tour to seek feedback that will be integrated into the organization's 10-year plan with the goal of expanding programs and services that end poverty. City on a Hill is also increasing programing to bridge the urban and suburban divide to foster understanding, action and cross-cultural relationships, the organization said.
In his new role, Serna will work closely with former executive director Diane De La Santos. De La Santos, who founded City on a Hill in 2001, will continue to work with the organization overseeing high impact philanthropy, racial reconciliation programs and spiritual direction for the organization’s dinner church model.
Serna’s background in education and community development has focused on working for children and families who are left behind or systemically barred from access to opportunities, in the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, he served as executive director for Teach For America in Oklahoma City. He previously worked for AmeriCorps, Texas Charter Schools Association and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
“Art is a gifted leader with a wealth of knowledge about leading nonprofits, especially those focused on urban youth and families,” said John Davis, board president of City on a Hill. “His breadth of experience and strong vision will help guide City on a Hill as we continue to invest in a better future for all Milwaukeeans.”
City on a Hill also announced it is hosting a four-part symposium called “Ending Generations of Poverty: A Collaborative Framework for Milwaukee” this fall. Sessions will be moderated by Keith Stanley of Near West Side Partners, Maria Lopez Vento of Bader Philanthropies, Linda Maris of the National Christian Foundation-Wisconsin and John Stanley of The Legacy Group. More information is available here.