Alliance Institute's mission is to provide individuals, families, and organizations with the skills and information necessary for them to fully participate in the decision making processes that affect them in their homes, neighborhoods and communities.
Alliance Institute is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization founded in January 2010 that brings together an experienced team of trainers, public service specialists, development specialists, and grassroots leaders to advocate for social and economic justice.
STEPHEN BRADBERRY Executive Director
Chicago native Stephen Bradberry is a veteran community organizer who has worked with low- and moderate-income families and individuals for 18 years. His work has centered on organizing public interest campaigns to actively involve low-income families in addressing the social problems they face everyday. He has led campaigns promoting a living wage, preventing predatory lending, lead poisoning prevention in children, and increasing voter participation.
A graduate of Dillard University, Mr. Bradberry was a public school instructor working with children from early childhood through high school. Mr. Bradberry connected with the Umoja Committee, which produces the Celebration of the African American Child each spring at Congo Square. Working as a community organizer, Mr. Bradberry led efforts to institute living wage legislation, orchestrated a successful campaign to win prohibition of dry-sanding of lead-based paint in New Orleans and blood screening for at-risk children under six, and worked tirelessly on behalf of New Orleans’ displaced poor in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mr. Bradberry has also worked to coordinate national campaigns to improve the quality of life and enfranchise low- and moderate-income families and individuals across the United States.
In 2005, Mrs. Ethel Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy presented Bradberry with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for his efforts on behalf of the poor. At the event, then-Senator Barack Obama congratulated Bradberry for his work to defend the rights of the poor in New Orleans, saying, "You deserve this day in the sun," and noting that Bradberry’s social activism plays to Robert Kennedy's vision of a better world: "Somewhere there's always been people like Steve Bradberry who believe that this isn't the way it's supposed to be. People who believe that while evil and suffering will always exist, this is a country that has been fueled by small miracles and boundless dreams."
Mr. Bradberry has been the recipient of numerous other awards including:
- Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award - RFK Center, 2005
- Trailblazer Award – Data News Weekly, 2008
- Distinguished Alumnus Award – Dillard University, 2007
- Rising Tide Award - Maine People’s Alliance, 2006
- Unexpected Heroes Award – Court TV, 2005
- Partnership Award - IRS, Treasury Dept., 2005
- 40 Under 40 - Gambit Weekly, 2003
JEFF KARLSON Operations Director
Jeff Karlson brings a unique mix of experience and expertise to the staff of the Alliance Institute. Mr. Karlson has been a resident of New Orleans for the past 16 years, and during that time he has worked on a broad array of issues and campaigns both local and national in scope. During the 1990s and early 2000s, Mr. Karlson worked on living wage and anti-predatory lending campaigns in New Orleans and throughout the country. In 2004, he played a pivotal role in creating and managing one of the country’s largest low-income tax preparation and public benefits screening programs, working with low-income advocacy centers in over 80 cities. In conjunction with the Clinton Foundation, he also was instrumental in providing mobile tax preparation assistance to countless families impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Whether as a community organizer, fair housing investigator, homebuyer trainer, low-income tax program manager, grants administrator, publications director, training coordinator, business manager, or webcast director, Mr. Karlson’s commitment to social change work has always been a driving force behind his ability to simultaneously coordinate and manage multiple complex activities.
LA'KEIDRA MITCHELL Community Engagement Specialist
La'Keidra Mitchell has worked extensively in the public health sphere with an emphasis on community engagement and service delivery. She has managed both local and state health care projects. Ms. Mitchell received her Masters of Public Health from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
GLENDA SPEARS Community Engagement Specialist
Glenda Spears is a long-time community organizer and social justice advocate. She has worked in the greater New Orleans area on numerous community empowerment projects, including youth organizing and mentoring. Ms. Spears received a political science degree from Clark Atlanta University and her Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.
CRYSTAL DIXON Organizer
Crystal Dixon has organized low-income communities across New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, trained community organizers nationwide, and currently organizes low-income workers in New Orleans. Ms. Dixon is also known as Crowd Mova Crystal, a local bounce rap artist.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MARY ALEXANDER (President) - Vice President at Perez architectural and engineering firm, over 15 years of executive management experience.
DR. DENNIS DILLON – Executive Director of Boys Town of Louisiana, board member of Louisiana CASA.
FERNAND JACKSON – Retired steelworker active since Hurricane Katrina working with New Orleans residents around rebuilding issues.
CLEVELAND RAPHEAL - Retired shipbuilder from Avondale Shipyards active in various civic improvement activities.
ASHLEY SHELTON - Director of One Voice working on statewide advocacy in Louisiana, active in philanthropic circles across the south.
KEITH TWITCHELL (Treasurer) - Executive Director of Committee for a Better New Orleans/Metropolitan Area Committee, developer and key proponent for the Citizen’s Participation Project, board member of Central Business District Historical Landmarks Commission.
DIANA WININGDER (Secretary) - Director of Make New Orleans Home, with a Masters in Social Work from Tulane University.