AOD’s mission is to provide education and training opportunities for low-income families that fight generational poverty and transform communities.
All AOD board members and staff are unpaid volunteers. AOD board members fund the administrative expenses so that 100% of your donation is applied to program expenses.
Gary Mathis – President and Executive Director
Gary is a retired Air Force veteran and currently works for a Department of Defense contractor as a Program Management analyst. Gary and his family have lived in Alabama since 2008.
Jeff Coggin – Vice President
Jeff is a retired Air Force veteran and now owns a leadership and management consulting and training firm. Jeff and his family have lived in Auburn, Alabama since 2008.
Jeff Dennison – Treasurer
Jeff is a Securities Registered Representative and civil engineering technician. Jeff grew up in the Huntsville, Alabama area and resides here with his family.
Tony Russell - Secretary
Tony is a retired Air Force veteran and currently works for the Department of Defense as a Contracting Officer. Tony and his family have lived in the Huntsville, Alabama area since 2006.
Learn and Earn Scholarship Program:
Provide vocational and technical training through J.F. Drake Technical State College to low-income adults who are ready for success that will dramatically increase their take-home pay and reduce poverty.
Imagination and Aspiration Scholarship Program:
Send children from low-income families to science and technology summer camps offered by Space Camp and Sci-Quest, in order to motivate them toward educational achievement.
Priority will be given to children of our adult Learn and Earn scholarship recipients in order to maximize the impact in each family.
Jeff Coggin (Lt Col, USAF Retired) is an AOD board member and became the Air Force Junior ROTC Instructor at Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Mississippi in 2012. Most of the cadets and students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the high school is in conservatorshihp of the state until several school performance metrics are improved. In 2012, AOD provided a $300 grant for bus transporation to a state Junior ROTC drill and rifle meet at Ole Miss. In 2013, AOD provided $250 for bus transportation for a March 9-10 trip to visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and Redstone Arsenal. AOD will assist with one other trip during 2013.
AOD Madison County Job Fair:
On March 20, 2013, AOD conducted its first community job fair targeting jobseekers without degrees at the Southeast Family YMCA gym. 45 employers, schools, and community groups participated and about 400 jobseekers attended. For more information about the job fair, go the News section of this website. AOD plans to make this an annual event.
We believe the Bible to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in the three persons of The Trinity, who are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 4:4-6)
We believe in the deity of The Lord Jesus Christ, in His sinless life, in His resurrection, in His ascension to the Father and in His return in power and glory. (John 1:1-4; Matthew 1:23; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-4 & 4:15; Acts 1:11 & 2:22-24; I Corinthians 15:3-4)
We believe all humans are sinful and in need of salvation through Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:23, John 3:16, John 6:28-29)
We believe we are called to help and love our fellow human beings. (James 2:14-17; Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:36-40)
We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, with equality across racial, gender and class differences. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27, Romans 1:16)
AOD was incorporated January 17, 2012 as a non-profit charitable organization in Huntsville, Alabama to help low-income families and fight generational poverty.
AOD’s mission was inspired by the struggles of a low-income family that Gary Mathis (AOD’s founder) and his family got to know when they lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The husband/father (Chris) and his family had recently moved to Cedar Rapids from Chicago after their public assistance benefits there expired. Chris had started a brick mason training program at Kirkwood Community College and was having trouble with fractions. Chris asked the principal of his daughter’s elementary school if someone could tutor him in fractions. The principal connected him with Gary’s wife, LaDonna who was volunteer tutoring kids in math. Through that connection, the two families got to know each other. Gary admired Chris for working toward self-sufficiency and came to understand some of the struggles of a low-income family.
When Gary and his family retired from the Air Force and moved to Huntsville, Alabama, their desire to continue helping low-income families followed them. In 2011, Gary and three friends (Jeff Coggin, Jeff Dennison, and Tony Russell who are now fellow AOD board members) started planning to form AOD. In August 2011, they sent two kids from the Lincoln Mills neighborhood to the Aviation day camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
In January 2012, AOD was officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation. Our IRS 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status was approved March 5, 2012.
What is Christianity? Can you trust the bible? If there is a God, why does God allow suffering? Why are Christians so old-fashioned about sex? Hasn't science shown the bible is wrong? Explore these questions and others at Christianity Explored.