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Panelist Bio

Lorna Bourg
President/Executive Director Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc.

Lorna Bourg is co-founder, president and executive director of the 35 year old Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc., a not-for-profit community development corporation that creates innovative solutions and alternative institutions to insure social and economic justice for rural Louisiana families and communities.

Her skills as educator and organizer have enabled challenged rural communities to develop a vision and determine goals and strategies toward long-term improvement. Ms. Bourg created the Louisiana Rural Home Loan Partnership which includes an eight bank consortium which has brought nearly 12 million dollars in new homeownership to over 150 rural Louisiana families. To further Louisiana’s rural development, Ms. Bourg co-founded the Southern Mutual Financial Services, Inc., a certified Community Development Financial Institution. Ms. Bourg serves as co-founder and national president of the Sustained Excellence Alliance, Inc., a practitioner-led, not-for-profit of ten high performing community development corporations collectively doing 100 million dollars of low income community-building each year.Since 1964 Ms. Bourg has worked with the poorest and most marginalized families and communities in rural Louisiana. She has served as a member of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights - Louisiana Advisory Committee since 1995, and represents Louisiana on the Mid South Commission to Build Philanthropy. The commission seeks to broaden philanthropy to address racial, social and economic equity.

Ms. Bourg is a MacArthur Fellow and was in the inaugural class of the James A. Johnson Fellows of the Fannie Mae Foundation. Ms. Bourg is a graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy and received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as well as completing programs of study at Harvard, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the University of Wisconsin Extension.

Current Topic

10/15 - Funding the Future: Early Childhood Opportunities

How can improving early childhood programs improve the state’s educational outcomes, workforce, and economics?

Special Presentation

Breaking Away:  A Louisiana Public Square Special Presentation

Would the breakaway City of St. George quash Baton Rouge’s school desegregation progress?

Coming Soon!

11/15 - Living Below the Line

What is living in poverty like?

Recent Topics

09/15 - Agenda Louisiana

What issues will candidates face and where do they stand?

08/15 - Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference

What difference has a decade made?

07/15 - Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces

Is the display of Civil War statues in public justified or do they belong only in museums?

06/15 - Louisiana After Ferguson (Encore Presentation)

Who polices the police in Louisiana?

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