Emerge Foundation Update: January 2021

Support In Action

Educational Assistance for Therapists
With the growing prevalence of autism, there is a scarcity of highly-trained therapists who can provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to children in Louisiana. With donor support, our Educational Assistance Program helps more employees obtain masters-level degrees and certifications to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs).

At Emerge, our BCBA’s work to help children with autism improve their communication and daily living skills. Their goal is to increase each child’s independence through 1:1 therapy with additional caregiver training for carryover in other settings.


In recent months, four of our therapists have completed their coursework, two of which have also received certification to become BCBAs. Each BCBA can serve 12 children and we now have nine full-time BCBAs on our team.

In addition to tuition assistance provided to therapists, we offer supervised field work as part of their training. We are extremely proud to be part of growing the next generation of BCBAs for our community and beyond!

New Playground for The Emerge School
Christmas came early for us in late November when Dave Roberts, CEO of Excel, selected The Emerge School as the recipient of his company’s generous annual holiday gift! These funds will be used to build a playground for our school.

This playground will be so much more than just an area for recess. It will be a place where our students will have increased opportunities to work on social skills, motor coordination and imaginative play. From the layout to the equipment selected, this playground is being designed specifically for the needs of our students. Construction is set to begin in March.

We are so thankful to Excel for their continued partnership and this incredible display of support!

Emerge News

Year-End Giving Impact

Despite the challenges that 2020 brought, the community stepped up to support us during our year-end fundraising like never before!

On December 1, we participated in the first annual 225 Gives, a special day encouraging people in the Greater Baton Rouge area to support local nonprofit organizations. 225 Gives coincided with Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving. With the help of matching gifts from Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry and Regions Bank, donors old and new gave a total of $33,228 to support our school.

Our donors also contributed over $37,000 to our year-end fundraising appeal. Each year, Emerge relies on these gifts to help us continue providing our services to children and families in our community regardless of their financial situation. For the first time, we incorporated a Peer-to-Peer Giving Challenge. We had 15 Emerge parents and staff members create crowdfunding pages which raised over $7,200. We are so thankful to the 126 individuals who joined our community by becoming a new donor!

SPARK Autism Study
Emerge is collaborating with the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania to recruit individuals with autism and their families to participate in the Simons Powering Autism Research (SPARK) project. As the nation’s largest genetic study of autism, SPARK’s goals are to identify the causes of autism and accelerate clinical research. Emerge is among SPARK’s 31 research partners from across the country and we are the only clinical site in Louisiana. Recruitment of participants will begin later this month at
Emerge.

2021 Board of Directors
As we enter a new year, we want to take a moment to thank all of our dedicated Board Members for supporting our mission through countless hours of volunteer service. We extend a special thanks to our Board Chairs!

Mike DePaul, Board Chair, The Emerge Center
Charles Blaize, Board Chair, The Emerge School
Valerie Schexnayder, Board Chair, The Emerge Foundation

View our full list of Board Members here.

Donor Perspective

“Emerge sets the standard for empowering its children and families; simply put, nobody does it better.

We support Emerge because of its commitment to equity—
Emerge’s community reflects our community. Emerge ensures that all children, regardless of circumstance, have access to unparalleled services that will transform their lives.”

-Kristen Amond & Nancia Sterling