Maryum Lewis Gibson
President & Chief Executive Officer
Jerusalem House, Inc.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Industry: Housing, Homelessness, Healthcare
When Maryum Lewis Gibson started working with a fundraising consulting firm, the president of the organization said, “Hope is not a strategy.” He explained that if you’re depending on hope, then you probably didn’t take the best steps to plan strategically for the ask. “That lesson stays with me, even beyond fundraising considerations,” said Gibson. “It reminds me to keep strategy first — and to keep asking the question: And then what? Keeping an eye on my strategy and the end-goal of my efforts has kept me pushing the ball forward for nonprofits for over 20 years.”
These strategic efforts have led Gibson to Jerusalem House where she serves as the President and CEO. Founded in 1988, Jerusalem House provides homeless and low-income individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Greater Atlanta with a continuum of housing options, supportive services and educational opportunities that contribute to a resident’s overall self-sufficiency.
The organization evolved when five men and women who had been tossed aside by society because of discrimination and fear, were left to die alone and homeless. Today, the non-profit provides stable housing for 620 residents through four residential programs, one small building with 12 apartments owned by Jerusalem House, a rented building with 23 apartments and master-lease agreements with corporate and privately-owned apartment complexes and a rental assistance program throughout 11 counties in Metro Atlanta.
Gibson has forged and renewed the agency’s relationship with the City of Atlanta. According to her staff, she has secured new credit facilities for the organization to ensure long-term sustainability and liquidity and reinvigorated the board of directors, bringing clarity and focus to the organization’s challenges and a strong path toward sustainability and expansion.
“My vision for Jerusalem House is really more about the people we serve than the organization,” Gibson said. “My vision is also for us to refine our programmatic services, expanding collaborations to include organizations and businesses that are beneficial to our residents.”
Gibson also works to support those who are at the heart of the organization. “My vision is that Jerusalem House will provide a top-tier employment experience for those that do the heart of the work,” she said. “We can do this by providing aggressive compensation and benefits, work/life symbiosis, and empathetic understanding leadership that encourages every employee to show up their best and work their hardest.”
Maryum is an avid reader, completing at least one book every week.