Art Serna

City on a Hill Names Art Serna New CEO

The City on a Hill board of directors announced today that it has named Art Serna as CEO. Serna, who joined the organization in August of 2020, will lead City on A Hill at a significant time in its history as the organization expands its service offerings to address the needs of those living in generational poverty.

Serna has been working closely with former executive director Diane De La Santos who will continue to work with City on a Hill overseeing high impact philanthropy, racial reconciliation programs and spiritual direction for the organization’s dinner church model. De La Santos founded City on a Hill in 2001.

With over 20 years of experience, Serna began his career as a youth program coordinator and development professional. Through roles with AmeriCorps, Texas Charter Schools Association and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, among others, his work has focused on community development and education working for children and families who are left behind or systemically barred from access to opportunities, in the US and abroad. Serna most recently served as executive director for Teach For America in Oklahoma City where he led the expansion of their social entrepreneurship offering, alumni programming and learning around the intersection of education and economic mobility indicators.

“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,” said Serna. “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.”

As CEO, Serna has embarked on a community wide listening tour continuing to broaden the diverse coalition of support for City on a Hill.  The feedback from the community is being incorporated into City on a Hill’s new 10-year plan with the goal of expanding programs and services that end poverty in all its forms including educational, economic, social and spiritual.  The organization is also ramping up programing to bridge the urban and suburban divide to foster understanding, action and cross-cultural relationships.

“Art is a gifted leader with a wealth of knowledge about leading nonprofits, especially those focused on urban youth and families,” said City on a Hill board president John Davis. “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.”

Generational Poverty Symposium

City on a Hill will host Ending Generations of Poverty: A Collaborative Framework for Milwaukee this fall. The four-part series is designed to help people understand the vicious cycle of generational poverty in Milwaukee – what sustains it, and more importantly, how it can be broken as evidenced by national research, local case studies, and powerful stories of transformation.

Sessions include:

  • How We Got Here: Understanding the Data & Dynamics around Poverty

Aug. 24, 7-8 p.m. or Aug. 26, 8-9 a.m.

Moderator: Keith Stanley, Executive Director, Near West Side Partners

  • How Research Informs Breaking Cycles of Poverty: Frontline Stories of Next Generation Leaders

Sept. 28, 7-8 p.m. or Sept. 30, 8-9 a.m.

Moderator: Maria Lopez Vento, Vice President Grants & Impact Investments, Bader Philanthropies

  • How Human-Centered Design & Faith Shape the Model: Case Studies of Families in Transformation

Oct. 26, 7-8 p.m. or Oct. 28, 8-9 a.m.

Moderator: Linda Maris, President, National Christian Foundation-Wisconsin

  • How Philanthropy Is Scaling the Impact: Mobilizing Public & Private Action

Nov. 16, 7-8 p.m. or Nov. 19, 8-9 a.m.

Moderator: John Stanley, Author and Founder, The Legacy Group

The public is invited to sign-up for the series via

About City on a Hill

City on a Hill is a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating poverty in one of Milwaukee’s most challenged neighborhoods. Founded in 2001, the organization employs 20 people and provides programming and support for 1,200 youth and their families annually. City on a Hill provides a full offering of services including social, academic, emotional and spiritual to help transform lives and overcome generational poverty, and at the same time train people in the broader community in solutions to persistent poverty and racial disparity. For more information, visit