Father McKenna Center Staff: Front (left to right): Cortez McDaniel, Director of Men’s Programs and Services; Margaret Atkinson, Summer 2016 Food Pantry Coordinator; Kim Cox, Center President; Raymond Derr, Cook; Pat Kisicki, IVC Volunteer; Sr. Barbara Bartlett, Volunteer. Back (left to right): Colin McCarthy, Notre Dame student and SSLP Intern; Reggie Green, Facilities Team; Mike Jones, Operations Team; Ned Hogan, Development and Volunteer Director; Don Kisicki, IVC Volunteer; Dennis Dee, Case Manager.
Kim Cox, Center President Selected as the new President of the Father McKenna Center after a careful search in September 2014, Dr. Cox leads the Center through collaboration with the Board of Directors, through regular meetings with donors and supporters of the work of the Center, and by bringing vision and direction to the staff. She also makes it a point to interact with the guests of the Center and the patrons of the Food Pantry.
Dr. Cox previously served as the Chair of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Orange (CA), and as CEO of The Blind Children’s Learning Center in Santa Ana, CA. She was, for nearly two decades, a professor of economics at University of California at Irvine. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D. from Duke University.
Cortez McDaniel, Director of Men’s Programs and Services Cortez has been a key member of the Father McKenna Center staff since 2009. His role as Director of Men’s Programs and Services makes him the front line person with the homeless men we serve. Cortez meets with all new guests and works with them to identify their goals and objectives and to develop a strategy to assist them reach those goals and objectives. His dedication to helping these men move forward comes from a deep faith in God and a desire to pass on what he has learned through his life.
Cortez is a co-founder of the DC Peace Team, a collaborative group that works to teach mediation and creative conflict resolution strategies to youth and young adults across DC. He is also a founding member of the DC Homecomers Academy that works with recently incarcerated individuals. Cortez previously worked at Second Genesis as an addiction counselor and as a Regional Director at Quartermaine’s Coffee Roasters.
Dennis Dee, Assistant Case Manager Dennis is the newest member of the Father McKenna Center team, having joined the staff in December 2014. Dennis is a “graduate” of the Father McKenna Center’s programs having come to us in September 2014 with a renewed determination to battle his addiction to alcohol. Dennis is a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School, and he worked as an attorney at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) and later as a finance banker at Merrill Lynch and RBS. The reality was that alcoholism destroyed Dennis’ life and he lost everything: job, home, family and perhaps the most important relationship, with God. When he came to the Father McKenna Center he was determined to change the recent course of his life. An important part of the Dennis’ recovery has been reconnecting with his children and sisters. Dennis attributes this miraculous transformation to the work of the McKenna Center and the help of the Holy Spirit.
Dennis is now helping men who seek our support as a member of the case management team. By sharing his personal experience and by “walking with” the men, Dennis provides guidance to the men so they can access the full array of our services and resources available through other programs serving themarginalized. He is the Case Manager and Coordinator of the Hypothermia Program in 2015-16.
Mike Jones, Operations Manager Mike spent the winter of 2015-16 as a member of the Hypothermia Program staff. Three evenings each week he supervised the 18-20 men in the Hypothermia Program, overseeing the showers, coordinating with the Gonzaga families who cooked and served each evening’s meal and then making sure that the men were safe and secure. He did such a good job that the Center asked him to transition to the full-time staff. On April 1 Mike joined the team to oversee many of the workings of the facility, as well as coordinate the Food Pantry and the Clothing Distribution program in the Day Program for men struggling with homelessness.
Mike is a life-long resident of the DC area. He is committed to assisting our guests and Food Pantry patrons in part because he has experienced family struggles and homelessness himself.
Raymond Derr, Cook Raymond joined the Father McKenna Center staff in 2010 as a cook’s assistant, but was promoted to cook in 2012 when the previous cook left the Center. Raymond is typically the first member of staff to arrive each day, and prepares breakfast and lunch for an increasing number of our guests. He has developed a broader and broader menu of meals he serves, offering our guests a variety of healthy and filling meals. With Don Kisicki, a very dedicated volunteer, Raymond has developed a great rapport, and together they have provided all who share in the Midday Meal with great meals.
Raymond was himself someone like many of the men we serve but when given the chance at a steady job he has taken that opportunity to make changes in his life. In September 2014 Raymond married his long-time companion, Kim, and continues to work to improve himself every day.
Reggie Green, Facilities Coordinator Reggie is the longest serving member of the Father McKenna Center staff having been a part of the team since 2008. Reggie is one of the “front line” members of the team. He assists our guests with showers and laundry services, but he is also often the “gatekeeper” for the Center because his work puts him in direct contact with so many of our guests each day.
Reggie, like some of the men we serve, made some choices in his youth that had consequences he had not anticipated. But life has taught him many lessons and he has chosen to share his wisdom with our guests. He is a shining example for many men – he is a single father to an eleven year old son.
Christine Melekian, Bookkeeper Christine has been the Father McKenna Center’s bookkeeper since August, 2014. As such, she is responsible for processing the generous contributions of our donors, our accounts payable, and our payroll. In addition, she provides other management support to the Center’s efforts, including budget tracking and setting up organizational systems. She is formerly the Director of Business Operations for a federal training and organizational development contractor. She holds a Bachelor of Science in French and Chinese Languages and Literatures from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Community Planning (M.C.P.) from the University of Maryland.
Ned Hogan, Director of Development and Volunteer Coordinator Ned joined the Father McKenna Center team in 2014 as the first Director of Development, charged with planning and implementing a program to secure diverse funding from foundations, corporations and individuals and to oversee the communications efforts of the Center. He is also the coordinator of our hundreds of volunteers and the students who come through the Immersion program. Also among his duties is keeping the statistics on the programs.
Ned was a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for 22 years, serving at Gonzaga (1995-97) and Holy Trinity Parish (1988-92), among other places. After leaving the Society Ned has been a professional fundraiser since 1998. He has always worked in smaller organizations ranging from social service agencies to schools to arts centers. His joining the Father McKenna Center team is a “coming home” to work in a ministry to those living at the margins of society.