About Us

Welcome to Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand knows these life-changing experiences are great teachers of compassion, generosity and knowledge of real needs and wants. People who volunteer with us are always inspired to do more. The energy is contagious. By lending a hand, you will be changing a life… and in most cases, it will be your own!

Learn more about our programs
Appalachia| Belize | Louisville | Nicaragua 

Our Mission: We work hand in hand with individuals and communities to transform lives by responding to expressed needs through cultural immersion, education, housing and health care.

Our Vision: We seek to build community one person, one family at a time. Our ongoing programs provide access to quality education, safe housing and health care. Our immersion trips encourage individuals to deepen their perspective and realize their potential impact locally, regionally and globally.

Our Inspiration: We are an organization driven by faith in a loving God who embraces all people.

A Message from Marla

My journey with Hand in Hand began in 2005, when I met Wayne Fowler, Co-Founder of Hand in Hand along with several board members. We were all attending a fundraising seminar. I remember being struck by the peaceful nature of the group. They all seemed so committed to each other – to the mission of Hand in Hand. I was intrigued. I began following the results of their annual fundraising Breakfast. I admit it. I was jealous. Their Legacy Breakfast events were a phenomenal success year after year. How did they do it? What was their secret?

So, when Wayne Fowler invited me for coffee in 2009 I jumped at the chance. He told me about Belize and building houses and providing care for infants infected with HIV/AIDS. He told me about low-income kids in Nicaragua who were getting the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty by attending good schools. He told me about a home repair program and food pantry in Appalachia. I said: “Wow, that’s a lot of places and a lot of different programs – how do you decide what to do in each place”. His answer inspires me to this day. “We ask them how we can help and if we have the resources available to respond – we help.” Within weeks of that coffee, I took the next step in my journey when I came on board as the Development Director.

Soon after joining the staff, I took my first immersion trip to Belize and I was hooked. I will never forget the moment when we raised the walls and all those nails and boards magically became a house. I remember Jeremy, a 12 year-old neighbor who helped us remove bent nails, over and over again. I remember when his mother Rosalie brought us enchiladas for lunch. I remember talking about sports with the neighbor next door who was a retired professional soccer player. I began to understand how Hand in Hand could have such successful fundraising events.

You see, on the surface it looks like we build or repair houses. It looks like we educate kids. It looks like we provide medical care. Yes, we do all of those things, but we do more than that. We bring people together to build understanding, and breakdown barriers. We reach across oceans, mountains and city streets to offer a hand up for those who have fallen on (or were born into) hard times. We seek to build understanding and compassion in those who have never had to rely on the kindness of strangers to survive. We bring love and hope and a sense of belonging to our world. That’s the secret.

God Bless,

marla sig

Marla Cautilli,
CEO of Hand in Hand

Who We Are and What We Do

On the surface, it looks like we build and repair homes, provide medical care and educate children and young adults. But it goes beyond that, way beyond that. We’re about connecting people – not through cell phones – but by working side by side with people who don’t look the same, talk the same or have the same amount of stuff.

We’re about crossing boundaries, and building compassion in one another by swinging a hammer,  blowing bubbles or dancing to Bluegrass music. We’re about recognizing and addressing needs – but we’re also about seeing resilience, beauty, and ingenuity, where others only see poverty. We’re about celebrating that which is good in all of us.

Our History and Founders

In 1999, brothers Wayne and Father Joe Fowler founded Hand in Hand Ministries in Louisville, KY. Originating in a church basement with an annual budget of just $26,000 with 100 supporters.

In November of 1994, Wayne visited an orphanage for handicapped and abandoned children in Kingston, Jamaica. The people of Jamaica touched his heart, but the conditions of the children’s orphanage and family living conditions were unimaginable. His first trip abroad not only changed the way he looked at himself but also how he viewed his country and the world. His life was forever transformed. Wayne and Father Joe began helping in small ways. In January 1997, Wayne led 29 people to Kingston for construction and medical work. Upon returning, the group hosted a potluck dinner for family and friends to share their stories and photos of their trip. More than 75 people showed up to experience the passion and excitement of the volunteers…and in many ways, that was how Hand in Hand was born.

Hand in Hand Ministries was incorporated in August 1999. With the brothers’ leadership and vision, Hand in Hand has continued to grow and has helped thousands of children, families and communities along the way.

Retired priest, Father Fowler, has stayed very active with Hand in Hand managing a weekly bingo that provides significant financial support and serving on the board of directors.

After a battle with cancer, Wayne died on March 3, 2016. His greatest legacy is compassion. And we will do all we can every day to ensure that vision lives on forever!

Interactive Timeline
Staff and Board of Directors
Louisville Staff: Main Office
518 N. 26th Street • Louisville, KY 40212 (Map) • Office: (502) 459.9930
 Fax: (502) 459.9945

Marla Cautilli
Tandee Ogburn
Director of Development
Allison Ridenour
Director of Immersion Trips
Susan Gerstle
Accounting Manager
Chandra Stroud
Office Manager
Hannah Schuster
Director of Engagement
John Fitzgerald
Engagement Coordinator
Daniel Dunaway
Louisville Project Manager
Luke Chase
Louisville Program Coordinator
Appalachia Staff
21 S. River Street • Auxier, KY 41602 (Map) • Office: (606) 886.0709 ​

Gail Spradlin
Director of the Auxier Center
Jerry Jones
Construction Site Leader
Gloria Powers
Housekeeping/Food Service
Tracey Sloane
Administrative Assistant
Belize Staff
1 1/2 Miles George Price Highway • Belize City, Belize (Map) • Office: 011.501.610.6677 • Outreach Program: 011.501.610.1922

Abel Vargas
Director of Operations
Nadia Armstrong
Director of the Outreach Center
Rashida Bethran
Director of the Building for Change Program
James Muschamp
Immersion Trip Coordinator
Maggie Vargas
Development Director
Beto Coc
Construction Supervisor
Luis Cho
Assistant Construction Supervisor
Shannon Stuart
Intake Social Worker
Ms. Cherry
Cook and Nutritionist
Ms. Prudence
Daycare Caregiver
Ms. Jamila
Receptionist and Scholarship
Ms. Maxine
Custodial Staff
Nicaragua Staff
Office: Calling from North America (502) 713.1233
Nicaragua: 011.505.2265.8320 • Ed Dunsworth # 011.505.8849.5999 Barbara (475) 988.8417​

Edward T. Dunsworth
Director of Operations
Barbara J. Dunsworth
Assistant Director of Operations
Arlen Bolaños
Program Coordinator
Juan Avendaño
Student Support Team
Dalieska Benavides
Social Worker
Luvy Martinez
Student Support Team
Darling Zambrana
Social Worker
Ivonne Perez
Student Support Team
Conny Sanchez
Social Worker
Guillermo Fuentes
Student Support Team
Anielka Pineda
Social Worker
Yury Sanchez
Student Support Team
Board of Directors
Charisse Wright Kinslow, Board Chair Fidelity Investments, Director of Client Communications
Mike PotterBoard Vice Chair Flexowash, Retired business owner
Courtney BaxterBoard Secretary Commonwealth Attorney – Judicial Circuit
Larry BloemerBoard Treasurer     Bloemer Foods, President
Mike Beach Brown-Forman, Project Manager
Sally Beane Provide, Vice President Senior Growth Manager
Michael Croce Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co., Executive Vice President
Bruce Gillis Businessolver, Benefits/Healthcare
Matt Gleitz The Legacy Companies, Director of Product Mgmt, Engineering and Sourcing
Marcus Goodwin Wild Eggs, Human Resources
Luke Haire Champion Waterproofing, Construction
Kelley Helgeson H2R Consulting, President
Paul Hirn Abel Construction, Architect
Scott Karem Karem Law Group, Attorney
Shane Raymond Interapt, Growth & Engagement
Deloris White Retired, Community Member
Reverend Joe Fowler, Emeritus

Interested in joining our board? We are looking for a few good men and women to spread and support our mission. As a board member, you would be required to attend a bi-monthly board meeting, bi-monthly committee meeting, attend events throughout the year, assist with fundraising goals and make a personal contribution. Please contact our CEO, Marla Cautilli, at marla@myhandinhand.org or call (502) 459.9930 for more information.

Informational Sessions: Meet, Greet & Eat
Hand in Hand invites you to an “Meet, Greet & Eat” Tour to learn more about us, our work and how you can get involved! You will get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of individuals whose lives have been forever changed by the work of our volunteers and staff. We would love to answer all your burning questions.

“Meet, Greet & Eat” Tour
Meetings are at the Louisville Office • 518 N. 26th Street • Louisville, KY 40212
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Join us for a one-hour interactive, engaging tour of our building and programs!

Whether you are new to Hand in Hand’s mission or you simply want to learn more, this short program will help you understand the important work Hand in Hand is doing locally, regionally and internationally.

Invite your friends, colleagues, neighbors and family!

RSVP to our Director of Development, Tandee Ogburn, tandee@myhandinhand.org or call (502) 459.9930.

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