Meet our Team
"Serving our cherished, precious older adults is a privilege and a very enjoyable one too. Their stories, wisdom, perspective and outlook are inspiring - and they definitely know how to enjoy life!"
As the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation of Wesley Woods, Tracy is responsible for the overall vision and strategy around fundraising to support Wesley Woods Senior Living. Her role, in conjunction with generous donors who make the work of the Foundation possible, is critical in keeping the 1,800 older adults we serve in their Wesley Woods homes with all of the love and care they need, no matter what financial challenges they face.
Under her guidance, the Foundation was awarded one of the largest grants in its history, a $3.3M endowment from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation which will support the director position of the Wesley Woods Pastoral Care Program in perpetuity. Tracy was also an integral part in raising $10.3M – which exceeded the $9.8M goal – in our recent Community of Caring Campaign. It's clear Tracy’s passion for the ministry of Wesley Woods is infectious and drives others to join her in serving an often forgotten generation.
She has over 20 years of leadership experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. A proven effective leader with clear vision, Tracy has an incredible work ethic paired with an upbeat and positive attitude. You would be hard pressed to find her without a smile from ear to ear!
Prior to joining the Foundation of Wesley Woods, Tracy held positions such as COO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of the South, Vice President of Enterprise Support Services for ServiceMaster, and as a National Account Manager for AT&T.
Tracy feels called to give back to others and is involved in many community initiatives, such as: Chair of the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Women of Tocqueville Cabinet, Chair of the United Way Leading a Life of Purpose annual women’s leadership event, a sustaining member of Junior League of Atlanta, membership in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Georgia Planned Giving Council (GPGC), and an active volunteer and supporter of Year Up, where she was named the 2013 Mentor of the Year. Tracy has also served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of FirstWorks, a 501C(3) nonprofit based in Memphis, TN, whose mission is to meet the inner needs of inner city children, serving homeless children in the poorest zip codes of downtown Memphis.
Tracy has a BBA from the University of Memphis, and is an alumnus of the Diversity Leadership Academy of Atlanta Class of 2011 and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation’s Women on Board.
“I’ve long admired Wesley Woods and its critically important mission and ministry, and feel privileged to have an opportunity to directly serve older adults. The need is greater than ever and growing, so I hope to make a positive difference.”
Ty joined the Foundation of Wesley Woods in 2017 as our Distinguished Gifts Officer to help connect caring people in the community to the life-changing work of Wesley Woods through major and estate/legacy gifts.
Ty has a true gift of connecting people to the causes they are passionate about and has done so in various roles over his career. Most recently, Ty served as the Vice President of the Foundation & Volunteer Services Department of DeKalb Medical, a 4,000+ employee health system in DeKalb County, GA. Prior to DeKalb, he was the Senior Director of Planned Gifts for the Shepherd Center Foundation in Atlanta for 13 years, and managed a portfolio of known expectancies of more than $40M. In addition, Ty is an attorney and was engaged in the general civil practice of law for 20 years, after which he served as a Vice President in the Personal Trust and Wealth Management Department of SunTrust Bank in Atlanta.
Ty is very involved in the Atlanta community, including serving as a Past President of both the Rotary Club of Buckhead and the Georgia Planned Giving Council. He is also a member of the Atlanta Estate Planning Council, the Buckhead Business Association, and the Atlanta and Georgia Bar Associations. He is an active member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church where he sings in the Chancel Choir and chairs the Friends of Music program.
Ty earned a BA from Davidson College and a Juris Doctorate degree from the Emory University School of Law.
When he’s not working or singing, Ty enjoys spending time with his son Jordan, daughter-in-law Katie, and granddaughters Raines, Mae and Bonnie in Saint Simons Island, GA, and daughter Mary Kathryn Tippett who resides in Decatur, GA.
“In Japanese culture, the wisdom of society resides in our elders. The responsibility to care for people as they age belongs to everyone. My own grandmothers lived to be 92 and 102, and because of their love and wisdom, I feel a great sense of call to this ministry. I am honored to serve as the first O. Wayne Rollins Director of Pastoral Care!”
Rev. Karen Kagiyama brings a passion for older adult ministry developed over 27 years of ministry in The United Methodist Church. Her call to ministry came with a clear vision of the church’s responsibility to love and serve the “least of these.” Wesley Woods provides a unique opportunity to serve older adults who are often among the most economically and social vulnerable.
The big vision of Wesley Woods Pastoral Care is to provide on-site chaplains for each community who will serve as pastors with residents and staff, offering ministries that include worship, small groups, pastoral counseling, fellowship and service. Karen will work to connect more directly with United Methodist clergy and churches to support this ministry through their stewardship and mission outreach.
Karen holds a B.A. in English and an M.Div. from Emory University. She is an ordained Elder in The North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Karen is married to Dr. David Newton, a college professor, and they have two children, Kelcy and Caroline. She enjoys singing in the church choir, the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, gardening, tai chi and yoga, and “shinrin yoku,” the Japanese practice of “forest-bathing.” She is currently learning to the play the bodhran, an Irish drum, hoping to create some new neural pathways in her brain.
"I’ve always been drawn to older adults and feel that it is important that we, as a society, do what it takes to make sure their needs are met."
Rhonda joined the Foundation of Wesley Woods in 2000 and serves as Manager of Grants and Administration. During her tenure at the Foundation, Rhonda has been responsible for a wide range of tasks including the preparation of grant proposals and foundation reports, research of prospective donors, coordination of the Annual and Employee Giving Campaigns, development of the Foundation’s first website, management of the donor database, and the daily processing of donor gifts.
Rhonda’s role is integral in identifying funding opportunities from caring government and family foundations that have a heart for the challenges older adults face in their golden years. Through her efforts, significant funding is provided for all 1,800 Wesley Woods residents, and includes: age-specific, outcomes-based Wellness Programming, Capital improvements, Pastoral Care Programming, and Benevolence care.
Rhonda’s work is especially important to the 40% of our residents who live below the poverty level and live in our HUD-subsidized, Section 8 communities. Without this critical funding, many of these beloved older adults would not have access to life-giving care and programming that keep our residents homes and lives so happy.
Originally from Houston, TX, Rhonda came to Atlanta to attend Emory University where she obtained a BA in English. She is an avid pet lover and fervent reader.
"My belief is we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to give back to our communities. I am particularly drawn to Wesley Woods’ mission to help the older adults in our care age with grace, dignity and purpose."
Kelli serves as the Donor Relations Manager for the Foundation and is considered our database management guru. She is responsible for many of our day-to-day accounting and reconciliation tasks including database management, gift coding and reporting, and donor mailings. She is an integral part of the Development team with key functions in our Heroes, Saints & Legends fundraising gall and the annual Mother’s Day Offering taken by North Georgia Conference Methodist Churches, as well as the Annual Fund.
Kelli has served in non-profits since graduating with a BS in Management from Georgia Tech in 2000. Before joining the Foundation in 2013, she was the Membership Director at Zoo Atlanta and later managed the donor databases at the Atlanta History Center, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, and Atlanta International School.