We are elated to announce that Liz Kelly joined our team in late February 2020!
She is caring, thoughtful, and passionate about helping others, and we know that she will continue to provide immense value to the work we’re able to do with our partners in eastern Africa. Please join us in welcoming her to the Blood:Water family!
1. Where are you from and what is it like there?
I spent most of my life in upstate NY. When most people hear I’m from NY they think “the big city,” but really I’m from the beautiful part of the state! Between growing up in Ithaca, walking the gorge trails and wading in the streams, and spending the last 25 years in the southern Adirondack region, my life in NY was a wonderful blend of natural beauty, college towns, and (somewhat) small town life. My husband and I moved to Nashville in Fall of 2017, and though we are transplants, we have found Nashville to be a wonderful place to settle into this next season of life. It felt like home immediately- we love it here!
2. Tell us about your family!
I have the privilege of being married to, and sharing life with, my best friend, Brian. We enjoy camping, music, great food, entertaining friends and family, and exploring all that Middle TN has to offer. We met in 2003 when a mutual friend asked me to play piano for Brian to sing at an event. We started a band soon after, and have been playing music together – sometimes with others, sometimes just the two of us – ever since!
3. What is your favorite book? TV show? Movie?
I truly cannot choose a favorite (reading is one of my favorite pastimes), and movies are a close second! I enjoy historical fiction (WWII favorites include Beneath a Scarlet Sky and Daughters of the Night Sky, based on true stories), and I love a good mystery! As for TV, Blue Bloods is a favorite, but how can you beat classics like Andy Griffith and The Dick VanDyke Show?! Also, Henri Nouwen and John Maxwell’s books have both had a strong influence on my spiritual life and leadership development.
4. How did you come to work in the non-profit sphere/devoting your career to helping others?
My dad was a pastor and my Mom kept us very involved as a family. She always had us working with the ladies missionary society to make quilts and things to send to our missionaries, and on days like Valentine’s we would deliver our hand-made valentines and goodies to widows and single moms in our church. Big holidays always included people who didn’t have a place to go, and that culture of caring for others is deeply ingrained in my heart.
I didn’t seek out a non-profit career, but I found myself there after taking a job processing donations and maintaining donor files, and it became a passion! I spent 17 years working for a rescue mission in upstate New York focused on providing food and shelter to the homeless and hungry, then was recruited to be the executive director of a pregnancy center in the NY Capital Region. I am excited to be on board with Blood:Water, it is a joy to be able to bring the skills I’ve developed and serve with such a great team.
5. What called you to Blood:Water?
The most important thing to me is to equip and empower people.
I want to help people, yes, but I don’t want them to depend on services provided. The fact that Blood:Water’s entire mission revolves around supporting and equipping local leaders to transform their communities is what connects most deeply with me. It’s not about us and what we achieve, it’s about the impact we can make when everyone gets stronger.
The second most important thing is not shying away from difficult topics. It’s easy to talk about clean water and how vital it is, it’s so much harder to address issues like HIV/AIDS that have stigma and deep misunderstanding attached. Jesus modeled the behavior He desires from us – loving the outcast, and drawing in those who have experienced rejection. I believe deeply that we as Christians need to take on these hard topics from Jesus’ perspective, and lead with eyes that see the innate value and worth of every person, doing what we can to introduce people to the abundant life our Savior desires for them.
6. Can you tell us a little about what you’ll be doing at Blood:Water?
My role with Blood:Water is to manage the annual giving components. This includes overseeing our public communications and inviting people to participate in this work. With over 20 years of experience in development and fundraising, I am enjoying this opportunity to focus on specific aspects, while working with a phenomenal team!
7. What is one of your special quirks that people would be surprised to know about you?
I ride a Harley 😉