The Emerge Foundation

In 2017, the Board of Directors and executive leadership of The Emerge Center completed a three-year Strategic Plan that leverages the history and track record of Emerge to position the non-profit organization for sustainable growth in its services for children with autism and communication challenges. In 2018, The Emerge Foundation was created to ensure coordinated and streamlined fundraising for both the Center and School.

The Emerge Foundation

The Emerge Foundation Team

Shelton Jones has been actively involved in non-profit development and fundraising activities in the Baton Rouge community for the past several years and joined The Emerge Center in August 2017. Having served as a Capital Campaign Coordinator for Baton Rouge Speech and Hearing Foundation from 2011 through 2014, Shelton is excited to return to Emerge. From 2014 through 2017, Shelton worked at Our Lady of the Lake Foundation, first as a Capital Campaign Coordinator and subsequently as a Major Gifts Officer. She is a 2015 graduate of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s Annual Madison Institute and received a B.A. in Political Science from Duke University. A native of San Francisco, Shelton and her husband, Ted, have two teenage children.  Shelton takes pride in advancing mission-driven organizations like The Emerge Center that make a life-changing difference for individuals and families.

Ashley McDermott’s passion for serving our community is evident in both her professional and volunteer endeavors. Over the past 15 years, she has volunteered in numerous nonprofit leadership positions designing fundraising opportunities and events focused on education, health, and animal welfare. Ashley has also collaborated in the writing and advocacy of laws at both the state and federal level for those effected by Alzheimer’s Disease. Her personal story and work supporting Alzheimer’s has even been featured in “HBO’s Inspiration Room” exhibit in Manhattan.  After earning her Master of Public Administration degree from LSU, Ashley served as the Director of Workplace Campaigns at Capital Area United Way for several years. In her free time, Ashley enjoys traveling with her husband Jeremy and as an avid reader, you will almost never find her without her Kindle. Being familiar with the challenges of autism, Ashley is committed to helping advance Emerge’s work in our community.

Kathryn Rountree received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, as well as an Master of Arts in History from Louisiana State University. She has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors in the fields of grant writing, public policy research, marketing and project management. Prior to joining the Emerge team in November of 2017, Kathryn was a Grants Coordinator for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where she specialized in writing pediatric healthcare grants for Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. Kathryn is committed to the idea that all children have access to the services they need to lead full, healthy lives.

Beau Wolfe, Chair
Will Owens, Treasurer  

Martha-Carol Stewart, Vice Chair, The Emerge Foundation                          

Valerie Schexnayder, Immediate Past Chair


Steve Cangelosi, Chair, The Emerge Center

Sarah Olcott Allen                                                                                                               
Johnnie Bond                                                                                                                                  Marvin Borgmeyer

Jody Montelaro
Anthony O’Connor
Arthur Scanlan                                                                                                                   

Andy St. Romain                                                                                
Drew Tessier
Colleen Waguespack

Deanna Whittle – CEO, The Emerge Center, ex-officio 
Shelton Jones – Executive Director, The Emerge Foundation, ex-officio
Linda Brown – Principal, The Emerge School, ex-officio

Our Mission

To provide sustained philanthropic support to The Emerge Center and The Emerge School for Autism, thereby helping to facilitate broad access to therapeutic services and education for individuals with autism and communication challenges in our care.

Your Impact

With the support and trust of our donors, we were able to persevere through an unprecedented year. We invite you to experience our virtual Year in Review to see how community support helped advance our mission in 2021.

Contact Us

Phone: 225-663-6915


Audited financials are available to view upon request.