Meet UP Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ryan Lugalia-Hollon

Meet UP Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ryan Lugalia-Hollon

Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, Ph.D., has served as the chief executive of UP Partnership for six years, ensuring alignment across UP’s board, staff, partners and leaders in pursuit of the mission of ensuring all young people in Bexar County are ready for the future.

Ryan identifies as a human development planner. He was drawn to UP Partnership and the work the organization does because of the “opportunity to help increase youth outcomes while working across sectors,” he said.

Prior to joining UP Partnership, he served as the executive director for Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio, which is now one of UP Partnership’s systems change networks, as well as worked at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Youth Safe and Violence Prevention department.

He is also a poet and an author. His poem, Vision, helps to explain some of the underlying motivation that drives him in this work daily…

Lugalia-Hollon is committed to working towards racial equity both locally and nationally.

Prophecies cannot restore the past,
yet each dream we cast
buries a secret weapon
in the not too distant future.

Our young ones
will soon need to dig them up
and use them for their defense.

Ryan’s first book, The War on Neighborhoods, was published by Beacon Press and tracks the devastating impact of mass incarceration on one Chicago community area. It helped influence the birth of the R3 Program in Illinois. R3 — Restore. Reinvest. Renew. — which provides a model for how to support those neighborhoods most impacted by the War on Drugs.

Ryan is committed to working towards racial equity both locally and nationally. He is an active leader in the national StriveTogether network and serves as the Board Chair for the Children’s Funding Project, a nonprofit organization that helps communities and states to expand equitable opportunities for children and youth through strategic public financing.

He was selected as the Outstanding Young San Antonian of 2020 by the Rotary Club of San Antonio. Ryan received his doctorate in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of Chicago.

When not supporting social change efforts, Ryan enjoys time with his family, practicing Tai Chi, hiking, cooking, coaching, and studying the Enneagram of Personality types. He is a big fan of the book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, the show Foundation, and the rapper Lacrae.

As UP Partnership staff can attest, Lugalia-Hollon also loves telling dad jokes. Including this gem: “When does a regular joke become a dad joke? When it’s a-parent!”

All joking aside, Ryan’s advice to the work is “Take it easy, but take it.” If he could be any dinosaur, he would be a Pterodactyl “for the views.”