Kathy Izard grew up “a little off the grid” in El Paso, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s of Science in Adverting. For the last 30 years, she has primarily lived out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She began her career as an art director for ad agencies, and then opened her own graphic design business. Kathy enjoyed her work, but she felt that, while she was helping others communicate their vision and mission, she was missing her own. At 44, Kathy realized she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life.
She found that mission after being inspired by Denver Moore, a formerly homeless man turned best-selling author of “Same Kind of Different As Me.” Denver challenged Izard to do something about providing the homeless with what they really needed—a home. She closed her graphic design business and joined the staff of Urban Ministry Center, where she already volunteered, as the director of Homeless to Homes. There Izard developed the only Housing First program for the chronically homeless in Charlotte. From a start-up program, Homeless to Homes became to a $10,000,000 capital campaign that built an apartment complex, Moore Place, named after the man who inspired it.
Izard then used the experiences she had building Homeless to Homes to build the first nonprofit mental health treatment center in the Charlotte area: HopeWay. HopeWay is now has a 12-acre campus and serves both residential and day treatment clients.
Izard writes about her experiences and her journey in “The Hundred Story Home: a memoir of finding faith in ourselves and something bigger.”