Our Team
Bart Smelley – Founder

Bart Smelley
Bart is a lifelong entrepreneur and has been blessed with the gifts and talents to make ideas come to life. During his corporate career, he started numerous companies in a wide variety of business sectors. Over the years he has received several honors for his coaching, business success, and community service. Bart has traveled extensively to third world countries and is now devoting his life to creating lasting, meaningful change in the lives of the poor. He and his wife Sissi are the very proud parents of three children who each earned college athletic scholarships. Their youngest son was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2012. Bart and Sissi live in Northport, Alabama and have recently become grandparents.

Don Johnson – Director of Sales & Partnerships

Don Johnson
Don comes to Filter of Hope with a wide background that has prepared him to work with our partners of all types.  He spent 25 years working on a local church staff,  spent 10 years working for a Fortune 1000 company as a regional sales manager and several years working as business consultant. Don has developed the unique skills required to work with churches, mission organizations and individuals of all types.   He directs the sales efforts of FoH, along with our Intern Program for students across America.   
Don lives in Northport, Alabama with his wife Christy. 

Davis Looney – Director of Campus Partnerships

Davis Looney
Davis was born and raised in Nashville, TN where he was blessed with wonderful parents and a great family. He is the middle child of three boys, but is undoubtably the best looking of the bunch. Davis has always had a heart for serving people. In fact, after returning from his first mission trip to Mexico at the age of fourteen, he acknowledged that serving others is what he wanted to do as a career. After becoming a Christian in college, Davis became very involved in Greek ministry at the University of Alabama through Cru. Upon graduating, he spent a year in Uganda before returning to lead a college ministry in Alabama for the last two years. Davis now gets to combine his passion for missions with his heart for college students by leading Campus Partnerships for Filter of Hope.

Will and Tara Miller – Dominican Republic Country Directors

Will and Tara Miller
Born and raised in Alabama, God provided Will Miller unique gifts and instilled in him a desire to serve others at an early age. While in college, he led after-school programs and youth ministry, worked with the University of Alabama Gymnastics team, taught school and coached high school football. Tara was raised in Arizona and spent summers serving at various camps as a counselor, interning at a homeless shelter and going on mission trips. They both are extremely passionate about serving the underprivileged and loving on people. After college in 2009, Will and Tara both signed up for The World Race and met each other while traveling and doing ministry in 15 different countries. They married 2 years later and felt the calling to become full-time missionaries. They served in beLove Ministries in Mozambique, Africa and Malaybalay, Phillipines for 3 years launching many programs to teach, train and lead students and adults to become fully devoted followers of Christ. They also had their son Liam in 2013. After much prayer, they felt God calling them to the Dominican Republic to continue serving. They are now living in the La Vega Province of the Dominican Republic serving as Country Directors for Filter Of Hope and are involved in all aspects of the many projects underway there from water filter distribution, various ministry programs and leading short term teams.

Kate Waddell – Office Administration

Kate Waddell
Kate Waddell graduated from the University of Alabama in 2010 after which she spent a year doing mission work in Durban South Africa.  She has served with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) at the University of Alabama for the past 5 years.  Her experiences serving with Cru internationally gave her a greater heart for the world and opened her eyes to the need for the Gospel both locally and around the world.  Kate has great administrative and leadership skills needed for the rapid growth of Filter Of Hope.  She is an avid tennis player, loves to travel and has a passion for cooking.  Kate’s husband Brant works in management at Mercedes Benz USA and they live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Madding McFadden – Campaign Coordinator

Madding McFadden
Madding was born in Atlanta but moved to Nashville as an infant and has been raised there ever since. She has been so fortunate to grow up in a home with wonderful parents and a younger brother, Wren, who currently attends the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Madding recently graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Supply Chain Management and a minor in Spanish. Since a young age, Madding has been devoted to those around her, serving wherever possible.  As a part of the Filter of Hope leadership team at Auburn, Madding spent her last spring break in Haiti with a team of 22 students and was blown away by the mission and ministry that is Filter of Hope in action. She is thrilled to have the chance to live out her innate desire to serve others as she works with campuses and partners around the world to further the mission of Filter of Hope.

Mary Virginia Coleman – Campaign Coordinator

Mary Virginia Coleman
Mary Virginia was born and raised in Dothan, AL where she was blessed to grow up in a home with parents and siblings that have a heart for serving the Lord.  She recently graduated from Auburn University where she majored in Communication Disorders with a minor in philanthropy and nonprofit studies. After participating in a number of different mission trips across the globe, the passion the Lord instilled within Mary Virginia for serving His people became unavoidable. She had the opportunity to travel to Haiti with Auburn this past year where she fell in love with the mission and ministry behind Filter of Hope. This year, Mary Virginia will have the chance to live out this passion for serving the nations as she works to develop and further campus partnerships for Filter of Hope! 

Meghan Ryan – Campaign Coordinator

Meghan Ryan
Meghan was born and raised Santa Rosa Beach, Florida with her parents and three younger siblings. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in English and uses her gift of writing to share the love of Christ with others. After graduating, she decided to stay in Gainesville to work for Cru and minister to sorority women. After taking students on a Filter of Hope trip over spring break, she knew the Lord was calling her to serve college students in a new way. Meghan’s greatest joys are missions and discipleship and she is excited to bring both elements together working with campus partnerships through Filter of Hope.

Gabriel Polanco – Ministry Director, La Vega, Dominican Republic

Gabriel Polanco
Gabriel was born and raised in La Vega, Dominican Republic, which is the hub for Filter of Hope operations in the DR.  After living on his own for the majority of his life, Gabriel was introduced to a relationship with Jesus through a local church and has never turned back.  Anyone who has been on a trip to the DR with FOH knows that Gabriel is intellectual brilliant, all smiles and has totally given his life to not only knowing God, but also to studying God’s word so he can serve the Lord to his best ability and reach as many people for Jesus as possible.  Gabriel is finishing up his college degree with a focus on Modern Languages and it’s his desire to share the Gospel of Jesus in multiple languages.  He would say his prized position is his Bible.  As Filter Of Hope is growing to other areas of the Dominican Republic, Gabriel has begun directing most ministry programs in LaVega, leading and training church leaders in the communities we serve and also lead prison ministry in LaVega and Moca.

Louise Price – Director of Specialized Programs

Louise Price
Louise has a God-given heart for the nations. While traveling abroad, she developed a love for the Spanish language. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Foreign Language Education (P-12) with a concentration in Spanish. After graduation, she married Bradford and taught Spanish until they had their first child. Louise’s world was rocked after traveling to Haiti and the Dominican Republic with Filter of Hope to distribute the filters. She has never been able to forget the mothers, children, and families she encountered who were living without access to their most basic needs. Her heart to help has only grown now that she is a mother of two boys herself. Louise works with Filter of Hope on curriculum development and promotion, as well as connecting communities to the cause of FoH. She is the contact for all things relating to the Filter of Hope VBS Mission curriculum. Louise and her family reside in Birmingham AL. and are active members of Cahaba Park Presbyterian Church.

Michael Bownes – Board Chairman

Michael Bownes
Michael Bownes earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and J.D. from Cumberland School of Law. He served 16 years with Alabama Attorney General’s Office where he held the positions of Director of the Consumer Protection Division and then General Counsel  to the Alabama Department of Insurance. Michael then accepted employment with the University of Alabama System where he served as Deputy General Counsel, Secretary to the UA System Board of Trustees, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and Director of Federal Congressional Relations. He is the founder of the University Resiliency Initiative which is a student-centered program that gives our youth a focused opportunity to strengthen their resiliency skills and gain lifelong tools for success.  Michael also teaches resiliency classes at the University of Alabama. Michael serves on the board of Outback America Christian Ministries and True Vine Christian Ministries.  He has been married to his soul mate Karen for 9 years. Karen has spent over 20 years in mission fields all over the world and was Michael’s inspiration for going on his first mission trip 6 years ago and they have true a passion and calling for the Great Commission. They 4 incredible children, Laura and Elizabeth Bownes and Mac and Chris Walker.

Ron Buck – Board Member

Ron Buck
Ron Buck was the son of a sharecropper in Montgomery County Tennessee and lived and worked on the farm until he moved to Nashville in 1965.  He served in the US Navy until 1973 after which he enrolled at Austin Peay State University.  Ron graduated with a degree in Agri-Business and Marketing.  He worked for a property management firm Harvey Freemen and Sons and developed a passion for real estate.  After earning his CPM certification, Ron formed his own company Ronald D. Buck Inc. and specialized in real estate acquisitions and rehabilitation of underperforming assets.  God has richly blessed Ron as he used his God given skills and work ethic to close a large number of very successful real estate deals throughout the years.  Ron took his first mission trip in 1987 to Zimbabwe and developed a huge heart for those living in poverty. Ron’s strong faith and desire to use his blessings to serve others led him to help create a mission organization in Zambia Africa called Mufutuli Ministries which consists of an orphanage, school and farm.  Ron has been active in Nashville prison ministry and enjoys golf and traveling with friends and family.  He currently lives with his precious wife of 49 years, Mary and their son EJ on a beautiful farm in Franklin Tennessee which borders the Harpeth River.  They attend Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville.

Steve Hillis – Board Member

Steve Hillis
Steve has over 32 years experience in developing sales organizations by recruiting, training and managing sales teams. Steve is an expert in business turn-around, strategic planning, sales force structure and national account programs. He is currently a professional sales consultant and coach for Southwestern Consulting. Steve is committed to using his God given talents to do mission work. In his home town of Smyrna, GA., he is the leader of missions to Africa and Italy for Vinings Church and Crossroads Church. Because of his strong desire to give back, Steve joined the Filter of Hope team to provide leadership and training to enable Filter of Hope to accomplish its mission. He is passionate about getting as many filters as possible into the hands of people around the world in desperate need of clean water as quickly as possible. Steve resides in Smyrna, GA. with his wife, Ann Gladden Hillis. He and Ann have 3 sons and 2 beautiful grandchildren.

Alan Cunningham – Board Member

Alan Cunningham
After six years of service in the US Navy, Alan studied Biology and Geology and received a Master’s degree from the University of Alabama. Alan’s extensive business experience began with Mobil Exploration and Exxon Mobil where he worked in 14 countries over a 22 year period. Alan served as President of Exxon Mobil Trinidad before retiring to go into private business. He has launched, developed and sold many small businesses through the years. Alan has spent a great deal of time in developing countries and has helped serve the poor in a variety of ways from building schools, working on water projects and community economic development. He has served on the board of the International Chamber of Commerce, worked with the US Embassy in the Port of Spain and has partnered with many other international Christian ministries. As an avid tennis player, Alan is very involved in the USTA Junior Tennis, Alabama Tennis Association and is President of the Crimson Racket Club. Alan played a major role in developing and securing the funding for the new Tuscaloosa Indoor Tennis Center and set up a program for low income children to pursue the sport. Alan brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion of serving the poor, job creation and global ministry to Filter Of Hope. Alan and his wife Nancy live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Dr. Bony Barrineau – Board Member and Medical Director

Dr. Bony Barrineau
Born and raised in the small country town of Demopolis, Alabama. Bony, which is his given name, dreamed of becoming a doctor. His dream became reality as he attended medical school at the University of Alabama and University of Alabama at Birmingham and began his practice in 1981. Dr. Bony Barrineau retired from orthopedic surgery in 2009 and is currently the Director of Rehabilitation for Northport Health Services. He has been involved in ministry projects and missions for the past 10 years and has participated in mission trips all around the world. His education and passion for micro-biology, health and serving the poor makes him a valuable part of the Filter of Hope team. Dr. Bony Barrineau also teaches Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Alabama. Bony resides in Northport, Alabama with his wife of 31 years, Robbie and has four children.

Vicky Patterson – Board Member

Vicky Patterson
Vicky worked in the corporate world for over 20 years. Most of that time was with a large employee benefit and consulting firm. Late in life, she went back to school and got her masters in Economics. She worked at the Center for Economic Education at Middle Tennessee State and then went on to teach micro and macro Economics at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Vicky has always believed in giving back but after traveling to Haiti and the Dominican Republic on a mission trip, she was hooked. She began as a volunteer using her time and talents to help direct the financial side of the non-profit organization. Vicky now serves as the Board Chairman and is very involved with the day-to-day operations of Filter of Hope. She resides in Panama City Beach, Florida and looks forward to visits from her family and friends. She loves living where other people go on vacation!

Todd Prevost – Board Member

Todd Prevost

Todd Prevost is a native of Nashville, graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy, and attended Furman University on a football scholarship. He currently works in the Commercial Real Estate community in Nashville. Supporting 3rd world communities first grabbed his attention while serving on mission trips to Africa in 2003 and 2006. A visit to one of the world’s largest slums, located outside of Nairobi, Kenya, illustrated the tremendous financial efficiencies that can exist when capital is partnered with the right organization. Filter of Hope is an example of the right organization. Shortly after becoming acquainted with Filter of Hope and seeing their eternal and life changing impact first hand, partnering with them became a no brainer. Being a part of a cause greater than self and improving thousands of lives annually anchors Todd’s connection with Filter of Hope.