Seasoned Nonprofit Professional Brings Wealth of Experience and Fresh Perspective to the Organization Dedicated to Ending Homelessness – One Family at a Time
Duluth, Ga., March 7, 2023 – Rainbow Village announced today the addition of Cheryl Deluca-Johnson, LPC, to its team as Special Projects Coordinator. Her impressive resume includes turns as CEO of StreetGrace, Women’s Program Supervisor at MARR Addiction Treatment Center, and Consultant with World Hope International. She has also served on the board of the Community Foundation for Northeast GA and the strategic planning committee for Annandale Village. Bringing Deluca-Johnson to the team committed to ending homelessness – one family at a time – is the latest strategic move to expand the nonprofit’s scope beyond its 2.5-acre campus in Duluth with an outreach model geared toward homelessness prevention. An estimated 10,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Gwinnett County alone.
In 2022, the nonprofit dedicated to bringing Help, Hope, Housing, and Healing to families experiencing homelessness announced the addition of Randy Redner to its leadership team as Chief Strategy & Philanthropy Officer. Before joining the Rainbow Village team, Redner earned his stripes in the nonprofit space as President & CEO for the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia (CFNEG). In a momentous turn of events, it was Redner who first introduced Deluca-Johnson to Rainbow Village and its CEO, Melanie Conner. After learning about her wealth of experience in the nonprofit sector, Conner told Deluca-Johnson she could make an impactful addition to the team.
“Having Cheryl on our team is a godsend,” said Conner. “I knew from the moment that I met her that I had to have her here. Randy introduced us and didn’t get another word in during our conversation. God took over from there. She has already made an impact on the organization, and she will be a tremendous help to me and the entire staff as we plan our Next Big Thing.”
Deluca-Johnson agrees that her experience makes her uniquely qualified to take on this newly created role at Rainbow Village. Having served what she deems “the underserved and misunderstood” for the last 20+ years, she knows that the focus of each of the nonprofits for which she’s worked – from trafficked children to addicts to the homeless – is entirely different from the image that the public holds and the media portrays. They are victims of trafficking, people contending with addiction, and people experiencing homelessness. Their situation is just one element of who they are, and she endeavors to see the whole person. Her focus is on changing perceptions.
“I want to begin telling the story differently in the public arena, so homelessness is less of a stigma,” said Deluca-Johnson. “Many parents who come to Rainbow Village have full-time jobs but, due to unforeseen circumstances, find themselves unable to support their families completely and need help. I love that Rainbow Village is not merely addressing homelessness as housing. Simply giving them a place to live may not break the cycle. Instead, they address the circumstances that led them here holistically, including income, education, family, health… all of it. They focus on teaching the families they serve how NOT to get into that situation again. When they leave Rainbow Village, they will have the tools they need to avoid being homeless in the future.”
In her new role as Special Projects Coordinator, Deluca-Johnson will compile data and work toward enhancing existing programs like Rainbow Village’s mentoring program and involving the alums as much as possible. She is perhaps most excited about the nonprofit’s homelessness prevention capabilities, believing it’s far easier to bolster at-risk families before they become homeless than it is to help them after the fact. Once that program is off the ground and as successful as they hope it will be, Deluca-Johnson also wants to help get the Rainbow Village story out there so other organizations can adopt their model, believing that’s the key to actually ending homelessness.
“Rainbow Village’s approach can sustain families and break the cycle of homelessness,” added Deluca-Johnson. “One of the best ways we can share this organization’s story is to discover practical ways for ordinary people to experience it firsthand by getting involved and making a difference.”
A longtime fan of former President Jimmy Carter and his model of service, she considers one of his most emblematic quotes her personal mantra: “My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I can, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.” She encourages others to do the same.
Cheryl Deluca-Johnson has lived in Gwinnett County for five decades. The wife of sportscaster Ernie Johnson, one of her favorite jobs has been “MOM” to six children – four of whom were adopted, and three with special needs. In 2021, the Johnsons lost their beloved son, Michael, due to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) complications. No longer able to serve as his caregiver, Deluca-Johnson took a year off to find her new identity. That quest led her to Rainbow Village. While she hasn’t been there long, she already appreciates the amazing leadership of Melanie Conner and the clear sense of community shared between staff members and residents. When not working to grow awareness about the nonprofit, you can find her playing with her five grandchildren, swinging a racquet on a tennis court, or worshipping with the congregation at 12Stone Church.
To learn more about Rainbow Village and its programs, make a donation, or register as a volunteer, visit www.RainbowVillage.org.
About Rainbow Village: Established in 1991, Rainbow Village is a transformative 501(c)3 nonprofit program located in Duluth, GA that serves families currently experiencing homelessness. Our model provides safe housing, education, and community support systems that allow families to confidently embark on the journey to self-sufficiency and thrive beyond our village. To learn more about the mission at the heart of Rainbow Village, make a tax-deductible donation, or register as a volunteer, visit www.RainbowVillage.org. To stay up-to-date on the latest Rainbow Village news and events, the nonprofit invites you to connect with them on social media, including Facebook @RainbowVillageInc, Instagram @rainbowvillageinc, Twitter @rainbowvillage1, and LinkedIn @rainbow-village-inc.