Highlighting Our Community of Leaders: Tonya Holody

Highlighting Our Community of Leaders

Tonya Holody, Board Chair of ISDD

by Ro

Highlighting Our Community of Leaders

Tonya Holody, Board Chair of ISDD

by Ro

by Ro

What’s going on at ISDD this year that you are excited about?

There’s a lot going on! We recently updated our strategic plan for the next five years and we have many exciting projects in our future! As we continue to grow, we are able to hire more staff members and reach more grandfamilies. We’ve also been working on new services like in-home tutoring and bringing in case managers with specific expertise like housing navigation. 

As part of our strategic plan, we decided to pursue our goal of opening an intergenerational housing unit for grandparents or other family members raising grandchildren. Affordable housing is a huge problem for the families we serve. We also identified a goal to rebrand. My background from my corporate days is branding and marketing, so I’m excited to get to work on that, too.

What should we know about your upcoming golf tournament?

We usually have over 100 golfers. We start with breakfast so everyone has some time to mingle before finding their golf carts and getting everything loaded. We have raffles and games throughout the day — including some hole-in-one contests. I’m personally not a golfer, but I’ve been told by many that this is one of the best tournaments and lots of fun!

We also hold a silent auction. We use an app, so the auction runs the whole day. We aim to provide experiences and excursions in or near Atlanta — once we had a trip to Dollywood! I love that we’ve also started putting items in our auction for our grandfamilies like beds or school supplies. It’s such a tangible way to help our grandfamilies and it really resonates with our golfers.

For others like me who aren’t golfers, there’s still a lot of ways to engage. There’s of course plenty of volunteer opportunities. And we love when folks come and hang out with us — I love riding around the golf course as the tournament goes on to check on all our golfers. Then of course there’s the silent auction, which you can participate in from anywhere thanks to the app.

You can learn more and register on our website.

What do you do for fun?

My two passions are tennis and gardening, so I’m super happy that the temperatures are getting a bit warmer. I’m also a mom of twin girls and I do a lot of volunteer work with my church and in my community.

How have you set good boundaries between your personal life and your work?

Time management is huge. My kids are my priority, so I like to have things done during the day so when they come home from school, I can focus on them. I keep everything on a calendar and an ongoing to-do list.

As a Board Chair, what is your secret to a strong Chair / ED relationship?

I’m not a typical Board Chair in that I never had any nonprofit experience. I simply wanted to volunteer and give back to my community. I found out about ISDD through my husband, who is a golfer. I got involved when ISDD was super small, so we all relied on each other and worked closely together. At one point we were debating closing our doors. But we decided that we were really committed to making ISDD work. And building ISDD into what it is today helped our ED and me really come to respect and trust each other. We also complement each other’s skills and experiences well.

Now that we are established and growing, scheduling regular check-ins has been very helpful. Life gets busy and it’s easy to forget to stay in touch outside of Board meetings or emergencies.

Mission: Empower, educate, and equip kinship caregivers of disadvantaged children in Metro Atlanta

Vision: Kinship caregivers receive all the support they need to raise healthy, successful children outside of the foster care system community where every animal is treated humanely.

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