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.

Molly Sanchez, CFRE, joined the Emerge Foundation in November 2021, as the Director of Annual Giving. Molly has a long career of more than 20 years in nonprofits, communications, public relations, volunteer outreach, event planning, and fundraising. Molly has overseen many successful capital campaigns in the Baton Rouge community. Molly is a Certified Fundraising Executive. She has been involved in the Association of Fundraising Professionals and was president in 2015. She has served in many volunteer roles with AFP.  Molly has a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from LSU. Molly joined the Emerge Foundation to help with the mission of providing philanthropic support to The Emerge Center and The Emerge School for Autism.

Madison earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Business. With a passion for communications and event coordination, Madison gained experience while working as an event intern with Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, a nonprofit organization in Lafayette, Louisiana. While having a love for children and event planning, Madison says Emerge immediately felt like home.

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.

Cierra Bradley joined The Emerge Foundation in June of 2021. She is currently a senior at Southeastern University working towards a major in Strategic Communication with a focus in Marketing Communication and Public Relations. Her interests include event planning and learning more about the non-profit world at Emerge.

Valerie Schexnayder, Chair
Beau Wolfe, Vice Chair
Paige Dampf Wormser, Secretary
Will Owens, Treasurer

Sarah Olcott Allen
Johnnie Bond
Stephen Cangelosi
Nathan Irby
Jody Montelaro
Stephen Mumford
Anthony O’Connor
Melissa Samuel
Arthur Scanlan
Andy St. Romain                                                                                                                            Martha-Carol Stewart
Drew Tessier
Colleen Waguespack

Deanna Whittle- CEO, The Emerge Center, ex-officio 
Shelton Jones – Executive Director, The Emerge Foundation, ex-officio
Linda Brown – Executive Director, 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 2020.

Contact Us

Phone: 225-663-6915


Audited financials are available to view upon request.