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The Emerge Foundation

In 2017, the Board of Directors and executive leadership of The Emerge Center completed a three-year Strategic Plan that leveraged the history and track record of Emerge and positioned 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 Emerge Center and The Emerge 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 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.

Emily Lemoine received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with double minors in Spanish and History from Louisiana State University in 2020.

Since graduation, Emily has dedicated her career to the nonprofit industry, serving as the Director of Grants and Communication for Companion Animal Alliance in 2022-2023. Her love for animals proved helpful in this role, but her passion for nonprofit work led her to The Emerge Foundation. Emily currently serves as the foundation’s Manager of Communication and Events as of September 2023. Emily specializes in social media strategy, establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships with the East Baton Rouge Parish community, and ensuring the success of our fundraising events and efforts.

In her free time, Emily enjoys painting, reading, and spending time with her dog, Honey. Emily is committed to the idea that people from all walks of life deserve equal access to education and stability.

Katie has always had a passion for providing excellent care in the service of others. After raising her family, Katie re-entered the workforce as a preschool teacher at First United Methodist Church in Gonzales, LA. After 6 years in this role, she was promoted to the director of the preschool program and faculty of The Little Lambs Mother’s Day Out Preschool. Katie transitioned into the position of school secretary for Bluff Ridge Primary from 2020-2022 in Ascension Parish. While there, she worked as office support staff by serving as the forward-facing part of the organization interacting with children, parents, teachers, and staff.

Katie came to the Emerge Center in October of 2022. Since joining the Emerge family, she has gained experience from the business office via her role as administrative assistant, engaging with parents, children, staff and clients daily. As The Development Associate, Katie assists the Foundation team in a supportive role in communications and events. She is very committed to serving Emerge by supporting The Emerge Foundation’s mission.  

Katie is a Louisiana native and has lived in Ascension Parish for over 20 years.   She is an accomplished mother of three wonderful adult children and in her free time enjoys traveling and seeing new places, spending time outdoors and with those closest to her and loves celebrating what life has to offer.

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
Arthur Scanlan, Vice Chair                                                                                                                Will Owens, Treasurer                                                                                                                      Anthony O’Connor, Secretary                                 

Directors                                                                                                                                           Sarah Olcott Allen                                                                                                                          Logan Anderson                                                                                                                                  Johnnie Bond                                                                                                                                  Marvin Borgmeyer                                                                                                                                    Rose Marie Fife                                                                                                                                  Zelma Frederick – Center Board designee to the Foundation                                                    Jody Montelaro                                                                                                                                          Kevin Schexnayder                                                                                                                                    Phil Stuart                                                                                                                                            Drew Tessier
Colleen Waguespack                                                                                                                      Shane Wilkinson

Deanna Whittle – CEO, The Emerge Center, ex-officio 
Shelton Jones – Executive Director, The Emerge Foundation, ex-officio                    Yalonda Short – 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.

Family Testimonial

“The progress that our son Areef has made since starting Emerge’s Bloom program has been nothing short of miraculous. You have saved my child’s life; your dedication, expertise, and compassion have made all the difference. No amount of money can replace a child’s future, and the benefits society will gain from the contributions of these remarkable children are immeasurable.”

-Aishatu & Abubakar,                      Areef’s Mom and Dad

Contact Us

Phone: 225-663-6915


Audited financials are available to view upon request.