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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


12/14 - Decoding Common Core (Encore Presentation)

What do Louisiana educators, parents and students think about Common Core?

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!


01/15 - Louisiana After Ferguson

Who is policing the police in Louisiana?

Recent Topics


11/14 - Destination: Graduation

How is Louisiana addressing its dropout problem?


10/14 - Louisiana’s Congressional Priorities

What should Louisiana’s Congressional priorities be?


09/14 - Varsity, Inc.: The Business of College Sports

How big a business is college sports in Louisiana?


08/14 - Down the Road: Our Transportation Future

What should the state’s transportation priorities be?

»»» View all Topics!
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