Mark A. Wright

Execute Director

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Gene Donaldson

Shipping Clerk

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We are committed to helping our communities in every way possible in order to be the positive change we want to see in the world. 

As a commitment to serving these families, a percentage of our governing board and staff are residents of low-income neighborhoods in Nashville. This representation gives the foundation the opportunity to gain better insight into the specific needs of the community that we serve.


Mark A. Wright

Executive Director

As a long-term resident and active community member of North Nashville for over 20 years, Mark appreciates the importance of serving his own community. He served as President of the Historic Buena Vista Community for over 10 years, as well as multiple boards and committees. He holds a degree in Architectural Engineering and has more than twenty-four years of experience in the construction industry. His business experience includes ownership and operation of an Engineering and GIS staffing augmentation company.

Mark realized his passion and love for community while serving as co-chair of the Scovel Street Advisory committee where he administered $600,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding awarded by Nashville’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. Continuing his efforts and desire to serve his community, he became an active board member of Be a Helping Hand where he recognized a very real need for greater opportunity for his neighbors in the North Nashville community. He had the skills to match this need so he stepped up to become their Executive Director. His experience as an architectural engineer and his construction expertise has helped the organization achieve a broader mission of serving the North Nashville community and beyond. He has acquired, negotiated, and managed over forty-five building projects, construction loans, and permanent financing for the support of affordable housing and community preservation in North Nashville and surrounding Metro areas.

Monique Neely

Office Manager/Administration-Certification Specialist

Monique assists our Executive Director and Housing Coordinator to ensure the daily tasks of the organization are taken care of and running smoothly. She maintains the records and monitoring of our affordable housing properties. She coordinates with our maintenance team to ensure that our homes meet or exceed the Visibility and Universal Design, HOME, and Energy Star standards.

Tonya Sherrell-Bond

Staff Accountant

Tonya has a degree in Accounting and Non-Profit Management. She has extensive involvement with the community as a community organizer, grant writer, fundraising event coordinator, and advocator. Tonya has served as a Board Member for Be a Helping Hand, 2nd Chances, Wang Foundation, Whites Creek Watershed Alliance, and The Buchanan Street Neighborhood Association.


Charles Tydus

Housing Coordinator

Charles is in charge of our housing maintenance and upkeep. He also brings his accounting skills and over forty-five years of experience in the insurance industry to the organization. He has owned an insurance agency since 1992. He is retired from the United States Army and is actively involved in the community. He is an ordained deacon at the Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and was the president of the Nashville Association of Brotherhood Union.

Charles Tydus

Maria Harris

Project Manager

Sara Jean Schweitzer

Outreach Coordinator/Programs Administrator

Sara Jean develops and administers green initiatives for our Spreading the Wealth of Nature program and assists in providing person-centered support for our residents. She also handles our outreach and social media. She is a native of California, although she grew up in an intentional community not far from Nashville. The community was founded by 60’s counterculture youth from San Francisco who strived to create an egalitarian community with a focus on environmentalism, vegetarianism, pacifism, and natural birth. She lives these ideals and has a passion for bringing people together, and fighting for social equity and the environment.

Sumayya Coleman

Programs Administrator

Sumayya is an old-school advocate who recently returned to Nashville and is committed to the Be a Helping Hand mission. She has developed programs and services for our neighbors who need affordable housing within the local community. She is abundantly gifted in developing organizations and programs that focus on women’s overall safety and wellness, economic empowerment, and self-advocacy. She is the creator of our Gaining Prosperity Program which supports and empowers women.

Anne K. Yakabayashi


Anne was born and raised in Hawaii. She moved to Nashville with her family after retiring from the United States Military. She previously worked as a claims adjuster until she realized that she prefers having her independence and solitude working in the garden.

Anne Yakabayashi


Anita Holmes

Board Chair

Anita has worked at Vanderbilt University in the Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships since 1997. She also serves as the Faculty Advisor to the Vanderbilt Voices of Praise, a student-run organization, since 1998. She has a B.S (1983) in Sociology and Social Work from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She belongs to Hicks Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church where she serves as the Administrative Assistant. She provides volunteer counseling and social enhancement activities for young people, particularly young women. Anita’s late husband, Kelly Holmes, was the Founder of Be a Helping Hand Foundation. His love and passion for the programs is honored and shared by Anita.

Sabrina A. Battle

Secretary/Engineering and Construction Advisor

Sabrina brings over fourteen years of experience in plumbing and fire protection design and has more than nine years of experience in HVAC design for commercial and healthcare facilities. She has a deep passion for charitable work. Her work includes volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Greening of Detroit program, and Love Helps. Following Hurricane Katrina, she assisted with the plumbing and fire protection design of the Marrero Commons public housing development in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This project was recognized by the Secretary of HUD for hiring the largest number of Section 3 employees in the city’s history. She is motivated by the positive impact of job training and employment opportunity programs for low-income residents.

Douglas Williams


Douglas is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Volunteer State Community College and has a Master of Science Degree in Public Health from Meharry Medical College and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Tennessee State University. He has been teaching Chemistry for twenty-seven years. He is an Elder at his church and a long-standing community volunteer and mentor. He volunteers with the nonprofit 4:13 Strong to help provide training, skills, and job placement for underserved men in Nashville.

Douglas Williams

Kerry McKibbens

Property Management Advisor

Kerry studied at Draughons Junior College, Urban League of Middle Tennessee, and the Emmanuel Bible College. He serves as assistant minister at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. He has over twenty-nine years of experience in the renovation of residential and commercial properties and is the owner of McKibbens’ Maintenance and Repair company.

Sheena Wright


Sheena has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from Fisk University and a Master’s Degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science from Lipscomb University. Her true passion and desire are to assist those in need and to treat everyone with the same amount of respect, no matter what their circumstances may be. She volunteers with Nashville food organizations preparing meals and serving food to people experiencing homelessness. She is also a volunteer with the Nashville Children’s Theatre and works as a physical trainer at the YMCA and has trademarked her own fitness program.

Douglas Johnson

Construction Advisor

Douglas lends many skills to the organization. He has over seventeen years of experience in electrical and mechanical engineering, HVAC systems replacement and repair, and home construction management. He is a graduate of the Be a Helping Hand job training program.

Douglas Johnson