City on a Hill hires new CEO

Milwaukee-based nonprofit City on a Hill has hired Art Serna as the organization’s new CEO.

City on a Hill at 2224 W. Kilbourn Ave in Milwaukee has a mission to break the cycle of generational poverty through assistance in central city neighborhoods. The organization has a 20-person staff that provides services to 1,200 youth and families annually.

Serna previously served as the deputy director of the organization from August 2020 to April of this year. He officially became the CEO in May though it was only formally announced Aug. 17. Serna worked closely with former executive director Diane De La Santos to become prepared for this new role.

De La Santos founded City on a Hill in 2001. She will continue work in the organization, specifically overseeing high impact philanthropy, racial reconciliation programs and spiritual direction for City on a Hill’s dinner church model.

“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 in a press release. “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.”

Serna has over 20 years in nonprofit work, building a career as a youth program coordinator and development professional. Prior to City on a Hill, he most recently served as executive director of Oklahoma City’s Teach for America. In this role, Serna expanded Teach for America’s social entrepreneurship services and alumni programming. Serna has also worked for organizations such as AmeriCorps, Texas Charter Schools Association and the 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,” City on a Hill board president John Davis said in a press release. “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.”

To begin his time as CEO, Serna plans to conduct a community wide listening tour. He hopes the feedback from the community discussions can be incorporated in City on a Hill’s new 10-year plan. City on a Hill hopes to expand its programming and services in the areas of educational, economic, social and spiritual assistance.