Rainbow Village’s Chief Operating Officer announced on Thursday that she’ll retire at the end of this year after 24 years of service in that role.
“I have been blessed to serve Rainbow Village for the past 24 years,” COO Nancy Yancey said in a statement. “I could never have imagined what a miraculous journey God had in store for me and Rainbow Village during my time here.”
Yancey’s time with Rainbow Village began when she helped create the 501(c)3 in 1991. She became COO in 1993.
The idea of the village is to house homeless families and help them get back on their feet.
“Our vision is to become a national model for permanently breaking the cycles of homelessness, poverty and domestic violence,” Yancey said in a Daily Post article last year. “We believe the best way to bless more families in need is to teach other the lessons we have learned in the past 25 years that they may begin similar programs in their community.”
By 2011, Yancey’s work at Rainbow Village had garnered state-wide attention. In March of that year, she was awarded the Essential Piece Award by the Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness.
Her staff came together to nominate her for the honor.
“Nancy is long overdue to receive recognition for what she has given to the families of Rainbow Village,” Rainbow Village’s Director of Adult Programs Lynette Ward said at the time. “She is not just the COO; she is the heart of Rainbow Village.”
Today, Rainbow Village is located on its own all-inclusive campus in Duluth consisting of five apartment buildings that can house up to 30 families. The campus also includes a family services center, a community center with a playground, a kitchen, child care and more.
The 501(c)3 has improved the lives of more than 1,000 people by transforming “the lives of homeless families and children,” according to a press release. By the end of 2015, 99 percent of families who lived in the village for a year or two secured and maintained their own housing without subsidy.
According to the release, 100 percent of post-residential heads of household became employed and 92 percent had increased their earnings from when they entered the program.
Yancey had a hand in all that growth.
“I am proud of all that has been accomplished and honored to have been a part of the success,” she said.
She has high hopes for the future of the program, too.
“Rainbow Village is well positioned to continue its success over the next 25 years and beyond,” Yancey said. “Rainbow Village can look forward to new leadership to work with the amazing staff and board of directors to continue to fulfill the mission of Rainbow Village. I am sure God has already chosen the one who is to succeed me.”
She said she’ll continue to keep in mind the homeless she’s helped and those who haven’t been helped yet.
“I offer prayers of thanksgiving for the hundreds of lives that have been transformed at Rainbow Village and the ones who are to come,” she said. “I am certain God will continue to bless each one of us.”