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Executive Staff

Flozell Daniels Jr., President and CEO of Foundation for Louisiana (formerly the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation), is a public policy and community engagement strategist with expertise in community development, resilience building, legislative strategy and leadership development. With a focus on building successful coalitions that increase success in expanding economic opportunity for all, Flozell is accomplished in expanding capacity and outcomes in areas that include community development finance, criminal justice reform, coastal/environmental policy, transit equity and asset development. Flozell has led more than $50 million of award-winning community investment strategies while at the Foundation.

Prior to his appointment at the Foundation, Flozell served as Tulane University's Assistant Vice-President & Executive Director of State and Local Affairs for nine years. Before that, he cut his public policy and community engagement teeth as an Urban Policy Specialist & Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Mayor, Division of Federal and State Programs for the City of New Orleans. In his civic capacity, Flozell currently serves as Ex-officio & Policy Committee Chair of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Board of Directors, where he was honored with the first-ever Distinguished Service Award for board leadership after serving five years as the post-Katrina Chair leading critical recovery efforts. Flozell is also a founding member and Board Chairman of the Orleans Public Education Network; a Mayoral-appointed commissioner for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority; the Supreme Court Chief Justice appointee to the Louisiana Public Defender Board; a founding member of the Greater New Orleans Funders Network; steering committee member of the first of its kind New Orleans White House Local Resource Network; an advisory member of the ResilienceNOLA/100 Resilient Cities Initiative; and, has served as a commissioner of the Mayor's Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform in New Orleans that led to historic reductions in jail size.

Flozell is a 2013 graduate of University of Oxford Said Business School's Impact Investing Programme, 2011 Fellow of the Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute, a life Fellow of the Louisiana Effective Leadership Program, an alumnus of Leadership Louisiana and a graduate of the Metropolitan Leadership Forum. Flozell has an MBA from the A.B. Freeman School of Tulane University, a BA in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans, and spent six years doing materials research for the USDA. A New Orleans native who was raised in the Freret neighborhood, Flozell has a daughter, and spends free time enjoying second lines, festivals and other celebrations of Louisiana's amazing culture.

Charmel Gaulden, Chief Operating Officer for the Foundation for Louisiana, is a lawyer and philanthropic executive with over fifteen years experience in nonprofit administration, program design and strategic advocacy. Charmel is responsible for all of the Foundation’s internal operations and plays a critical role in ensuring that the Foundation has the infrastructure and culture in place to meet the Foundation’s goals.  Licensed in both Georgia and Louisiana, Ms. Gaulden has practiced law in both state and federal courts. Ms. Gaulden received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia.

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Alfredo A. Cruz, Vice President of Programs & Special Initiatives, joined Foundation for Louisiana in 2011 and currently serves as the Vice-President of Programs and Special Initiatives. In this role, he leads the foundation's program staff in meeting the institutional goals and objectives while nurturing a culture of equity and effectiveness. As part of the executive team, Alfredo provides leadership with board and staff development, fund development and setting institutional policies and practices. He also oversees new initiatives and partnerships that aim to advance the foundation's mission.

Prior to his position with the Foundation, Alfredo worked at the Florida Legislature as the Legislative Assistant to Florida State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-9) on a policy agenda focused on clean energy and growing Florida's green economy and workforce. Alfredo also worked as a program officer for the *John S. and James L. Knight Foundation*, where his program areas included arts and culture, youth development, civic engagement, and economic-community development. During his career in philanthropy, he has served on the board of affinity groups such as Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. He is a 2015 PLACES Fellow with the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and currently serves on the boards of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Southeastern Council on Foundations. Alfredo has also served on various nonprofit boards including Whole Child Leon Project, Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, Council on Culture and Arts, Council of Neighborhood Associations and the Committee for a Better New Orleans.

Alfredo earned his B.A. in English Literature from Florida State University where he also completed a M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning and M.P.A. studies. He grew up in Miami and lived in Tallahassee (Fla.) for eight years before moving to Louisiana, and currently resides in Baton Rouge.

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Dana Delpit, Chief Financial Officer, brings 30 years of experience in fund accounting and nonprofit experience to her role as Chief Financial Officer. In her duties, Dana is responsible for ensuring the financial compliance and overall fiscal health of FFL through oversight of the day-to-day financial and administrative activities, including preparation and management of the operating budget, investment portfolio, annual audit, review/implementation of financial policies and procedures and appropriate internal and external reporting.

Delpit brings with her a deep knowledge of cost allocations, allowable cost, indirect cost rates and budget forecasting. Her decades of experience include five years of experience in community health centers, most recently as the Finance and Operations Manager with the Louisiana Public Health Institute. A proud New Orleans native, she earned her Bachelor's of Science from Xavier University of New Orleans, and a Master's of Business Administration from New York Institute of Technology's Ellis College.



Laquitta Bowers, Programs Associate, supports the Racial Justice Program in Baton Rouge, assisting with program activities and evaluation. She has an extensive background in nonprofit work. She has worked for the LSU's Public Policy Research Lab, Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum; George Washington University Biostatistics Center; National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition; AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families; and supported Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration response to Hurricane Katrina. She has a bachelor of arts in Health Sciences from Louisiana State University and Master of Management from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

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Caressa Chester, Coastal Community Programs Associate, Caressa supports the Coastal Community Resilience Program by assisting with the program's increasing number of planning and outreach efforts and the continuous development of Coastal Resiliency Leverage Fund. In providing administrative support, she aids in the capacity and reach of the Foundation's efforts to serve and empower coastal communities. Caressa is passionate about addressing the ways that environmental destruction continues to marginalize those that are already vulnerable. By addressing inequity at its root, she believes we can strategize about the future with community at the forefront. Caressa has a variety of experience in environmental work from non-profits, teaching, and via an independent business. She believes that nature is a space of healing, empowerment and wellbeing, and is interested in all of the ways appreciation for, preservation of, and adaptation with water and land can be achieved.

Caressa comes to us from Brickolage Academy in New Orleans, where she served as the Garden Program Coordinator and Teacher. In this role, she kick-started Bricolage's new school garden, which worked to help students understand the connection between nature, art, science and food. Caressa previously served as the Major Gifts Assistant at Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Ariz. She has a bachelor of arts in international studies from the University of Arizona.

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Rosa Gomez-Herrin, Director of Racial Justice Programs, is a sociologist and urban planner with 20 years of professional experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. She works directly with partners and allies to generate effective strategies and develop a grantmaking portfolio, consistent with FFL's mission and purpose. Rosa has on-the-ground experience addressing complex social issues, including racial and gender equity, workforce development, chronic homelessness, housing and disaster recovery, access to affordable healthcare, immigrants' rights, and sustainable development. She has worked on a wide range of social and racial-justice projects throughout her career, and has extensive experience planning regional and national conferences, facilitating workshops, leading community engagement efforts, and advocating for people-centered policies that promote racial and gender equity. Rosa graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.A. in Sociology, and holds a Master's of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans (UNO). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Studies at UNO.

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Ra'Shaud Haines, Community Investment Fund Manager, is a "recovering banker" with a passion for empowering his community. He brings more than 15 years of consumer and commercial lending experience to the role of Community Investment Fund Manager. His responsibilities include providing analysis of individual loans and combined loan portfolio performance and overseeing the development and implementation a plan for the coordination of the One Table. Most recently, Ra'Shaud led the creation and launch of an automated financial innovation platform from concept to viable product, allowing credit unions to provide small loans to clients via an expedited, paperless process. He previously served as Vice President of Commercial Lending at Liberty Bank, developing and maintaining important client relationships, generating revenue for the organization and leading the FDIC Small Dollar Loan Pilot Program, which provided responsible small loans to individuals and offered "workplace" loans through medium-size and large companies. He received his foundational training in financial accounting, corporate finance theory, cash flow analysis, credit/risk analysis, financial modeling, valuation, business writing, business etiquette, advanced excel from Key Bank.

He has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Morehouse College and an Master of Business Administration from Loyola University.

Victoria Heffron, Staff Accountant, brings five years of foundation accounting experience to her role as Staff Accountant at Foundation for Louisiana. Victoria supports the Chief Financial Officer in recording and reporting on all aspects of the foundation's finances -- from cutting checks and tracking budgets to ensuring compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations. Victoria is passionate about using her accounting skills to support and build capacity in organizations that work toward equity and social justice.

Born in Boston, Victoria grew up in Connecticut and Virginia in a military family with deep family roots in Louisiana. Victoria has a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of New Orleans. She previously worked in the finance department of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, where she streamlined processes and led an organization-wide database cleanup. When she's not making spreadsheets, Victoria likes to be outside, hiking in the woods or swimming in the ocean.

Wankeeta Jackson, Programs Associate, supports the Racial Justice Program in New Orleans. She has been the primary lead for the Racial Healing Community of Practice, which is a group of community identified and self-identified healers whose goal is to address healing wounds caused by racism and oppression. Keeta received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and completed her Master’s in Human Services in 2016. Prior to her work with Foundation for Louisiana, Keeta worked at Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation as Grant Research and Evaluation Associate. She assisted in designing and implementing systems and materials that expand the funding of Propeller and further its mission to help entrepreneurs grow their nonprofits and small businesses to tackle social and environmental disparities in New Orleans through education, food access, health and water.

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Desmond Johnnie, Grants and Fiscal Sponsor Manager, is a Louisiana native who brings more than 5 years of experience to his role in the Grant Management and the Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Desmond has a background in working with philanthropic organizations, as well as in event management with culturally diverse groups. His responsibilities include the tracking and reporting of incoming and outgoing grants, working with our CFO to generate and manage fiscal sponsor receivables and payables, and fiscal sponsor program relationship management. Desmond previously served as a Program Manager and Art Director in the art industries of Miami, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana, where he coordinated special projects and events. He has experience in business development, product design, purchasing, sales, infrastructure management, and working with international clients. He has a vast knowledge in technology as well, which includes graphic design, digital marketing, video production and database management. Desmond is certified in Adobe Creative Suite, Google SketchUp, and has WordPress expertise.

Desmond received his degree in Art Education from Florida State University. He is passionate about social political activism, mentoring youth, supporting our homeless communities, autism awareness, and mental health awareness; Desmond received various awards for his work in these fields during his time in Florida.

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Maria Cherry Rangel, Director of Strategic Initiatives, works towards resourcing and shaping FLL's future, and utilizes her expertise in arts and culture, racial justice, and LGBTQ organizing to inform FFL's programs. Maria Cherry Rangel is a New Orleans based cultural organizer, philanthropy strategist, equity coach, and organizational capacity building specialist. Focused on interrupting systemic bias in philanthropy and support for grassroots arts ecologies, her advocacy has ensured that millions of dollars have been redirected to communities of color and LGBTQ communities, and towards artists who have faced significant disinvestment by the arts funding infrastructure.

A respected voice in the arts and culture sector, she was the Co-Founder/Director of Mangos with Chili (2006-16), where she developed the work of more than 150 queer and trans artists of color, launched 80-plus productions via national tours and local seasons of programming, initiated dialogue around bias in the arts funding infrastructure, and ushered in a new era of possibility for QTPOC centered arts and culture. During her tenure at the National Performance Network (NPN, from 2015-17), she advanced the organization's development goals, radically increased NPN's analysis and practice of racial and social justice, and introduced the work of NPN to younger generations of artists and cultural workers. As Equity Auditor for the 2017 MAP Fund panel, she served in a groundbreaking role that disrupted systemic bias as it emerged during the grants panel process, and provided a new, equity based model for the field for grants review processes. Maria serves on the boards of LOUD: the New Orleans Queer Youth Theater and Peacock Rebellion, and is part of the team conducting Ford Foundation's arts and culture scan of the South. She leads with her lifelong commitment to making a place at the table for everyone, and ensuring that the work of underrepresented artists and cultural workers is lifted up, recognized, and always possible.

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Nicole Washington, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO, comes from a long background of bringing her organizational, research and management prowess to the work of advancing a social justice agenda. Along with working with the president and CEO’s scheduling, Nicole will be responsible for managing preparations for meetings and presentations, offering advice on technology and file-sharing practices that improve FFL’s overall effectiveness, acting as an intermediary to improve efficiency and effectiveness in our work.

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Liz Williams Russell, Coastal Community Resilience Director, manages the development and implementation of strategies to support communities and economies influenced by land loss and relative sea-level rise across coastal Louisiana. With a background and training in architectural design, landscape systems, and urban planning, Liz incorporates the complexities of the developed urban ecosystem to promote equitable opportunities in areas altered and affected by land change. Liz directs the activities of the Foundation for Louisiana's Coastal Resilience Leverage Fund, managing coastal grant-making areas with community based advisors, allies and relevant partners while improving and increasing opportunities for regional collaboration. Liz continues to accomplish this work by encouraging communication and coordination among networks across parishes, coastal basins and statewide. The Fund acknowledges and reinforces the work done by resident leaders and community based organizations, working to provide opportunities for those most impacted by environmental risks to be key decision makers in how to address them. Liz's role underscores the foundation's unique ability to provide both technical and grantmaking support in order to catalyze local skillsets and resources, to bolster a range of regional organizational strengths, and to integrate related and interconnected activities towards comprehensive statewide response to coastal change. Risk mitigation and resilience-based programs require an awareness of and participation with these transitioning watersheds. In order to better provide opportunities, establish and cultivate partnerships, and advocate for informed and diverse public engagement, Liz supports fundraising initiatives and guides the common campaign and funding plan across Foundation for Louisiana's Coastal Resiliency Leverage Fund.

Liz previously has worked as a Research Fellow and Affiliate with the Coastal Sustainability Studio at Louisiana State University. In this role she led and collaborated with cohorts of civil engineers, urban planners, coastal scientists, and landscape architects alongside economic, legal, and cultural advisors. Each project engaged a set of unique conditions within the coastal landscape and proposed developments through which residents and communities might advance and thrive in a future with evolving challenges. In addition to early years of experience within traditional architecture practice, Liz has held a range of academic positions. She has taught within the School of Architecture at LSU, the Department of Architecture and Landscape within the University of Greenwich in London, London College of Contemporary Art, and Birmingham City University in the UK.

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Jordon Thomas, Accounting Intern, is a recent LSU accounting graduate and is currently enrolled at the University of New Orleans for her Master of Business Administration. She assists the Chief Financial Officer and supports financial operations, including accounting, reporting and reimbursements. Jordon is eager to learn more about accounting within non-profits and to apply what she has learned from LSU to the real world. Whenever she can, Jordon, enjoys traveling with her family and friends. Jordon especially enjoys traveling to attend music festivals to discover new cultures, people and music. Once she is done with schooling Jordon hopes to begin studying for the Certified Public Accountant exam.