About the Grace Alliance
The Grace Alliance was founded in 2010 in Waco, Texas by Joe Padilla and Dr. Matthew Stanford. After 12 years of serving as a licensed and ordained minister in missions and local church leadership, Joe left the ministry to care for his wife’s acute mental health care needs. Following eight years of seeking professional and ministry care with no positive improvement, Joe completed extensive research into clinical studies and biblical insights and worked with Dr. Stanford, a professor of psychology, neuroscience and biomedical studies at Baylor University at the time (now the CEO for the Hope and Healing Center and Institute) to develop a new process for a whole-health mental health recovery lifestyle with new professional care and newly discovered biblical values. After seeing miraculous results with his wife, Joe developed this process into a reproducible model of support to help other Christians and churches navigate mental health challenges. From there, Joe and Dr. Stanford co-founded Mental Health Grace Alliance (now known as The Grace Alliance). As Grace Alliance continued to grow, the team expanded to include staff in both California and Texas.
Meet the Team
Natalie Franks, M.A., OTR/L
Executive Director of Programs
Natalie is a Registered and Licensed Occupational Therapist, having earned her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 2013 with an emphasis in mental health and her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 2012. With a passion for mental health stemming from her own personal experience, Natalie joined staff with the Grace Alliance in 2013. She now serves as the Executive Director of Programs, overseeing content and product development for all curriculum, programs and materials. Natalie is passionate about seeing hope practically communicated and experienced through the Grace Alliance materials, educational seminars and participating in speaking engagements throughout churches and communities.
Executive Director of operations
In 2009, Casey graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and minor in Marketing. After graduation, Casey worked as a full-time staff member with Cru at USC. Casey came on staff with Grace Alliance in 2013. Serving as the Executive Director of Operations, she oversees business development and operations as well as organizational and product marketing, helping expand the reach of Grace Alliance resources. She also participates in program development alongside Joe Padilla and Natalie Franks. Casey is passionate about spreading the hope of Grace Alliance’s process of recovery to people all around the world.
JoEllen joined the Grace Alliance in 2014. Previously, JoEllen worked as an office manager at a non-profit organization called Waco Community Development (WCD). Through a variety of experiences, she has acquired a growing expertise in non-profit accounting and finance systems, donor management, office and organizational operations, community programs and project administration. JoEllen is dedicated to creating efficient systems for professional standards and thorough non-profit management systems.
As the Administrative Director for the Grace Alliance, Jen maintains all communication and scheduling for the organization. Prior to coming to the Grace Alliance in 2014, Jen worked for nine years with YUGO Ministries in a largely administrative role, including website administrator, newsletter editor and mobilization coordinator. In 2016, Jen received a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of La Verne after earning a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Biola University. Jen has a heart for mental health and facilitated a Living Grace Group at her church for three years.
Joe Padilla is a Baylor University graduate and a licensed and ordained minister with over 20 years of experience working in overseas missions, stateside church leadership, and non-profit and small business development. Joe's wife had long-standing mental health challenges, which led him to study and discover a unique scientific and faith approach which helped his wife have remarkable mental health recovery to this day. With this new insight and personal experience Joe and Dr. Matthew Stanford co-founded the Grace Alliance in 2011 to provide simple, innovative, and grace-filled resources and tools to empower the body of Christ.