Who We Are
The DEANA Foundation was named after Deana Alves. Wife to her childhood sweetheart, mom to three children (one set of twins!), grandma to 12 grand-kids and a well-loved HeadStart teacher, Deana was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia at the young age of 50. Within a few short years of her diagnosis, her disease had progressed to the point of needing constant supervision and care. Frustration and disappointment were met at every corner in the quest for affordable, quality care. Her family quickly learned that resources for middle class families were few and far between.
It was during that time that Deana’s daughter, Cassandra, began formulating the idea of a foundation that would award grants to help middle class families struggling to pay the outrageous costs of care-giving for their loved one with dementia. Together with her sister, Christina, and close friend, Melissa, Cassandra’s vision was brought to life and The DEANA Foundation was born.
As The DEANA Foundation is in it’s infancy, we are only able to issue grants to persons residing in specific areas [see our eligibility list to see if your state is on there]. Our vision, however, is to reach people across the globe. We want to serve everyone affected by this horrible disease, not just a select group. In order to make this happen, we need your help! We will be adding regions onto our eligibility list as we receive donations from that specific area. This can be either through personal/business donations or hosting an event in the name of The DEANA Foundation. To learn more about this program, please visit our Get Involved page.
Deana was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia at the young age of 50. It wasn’t long before her disease had progressed to the point of needing constant supervision and care. Frustration and disappointment were met at every corner in the quest for affordable, quality care. Her family quickly learned that resources for middle class families were few and far between. Learn More about Deana’s journey as documented in our Founder Cassandra Jones’s blog Journey with Dementia.
Meet the Board
Cassandra Jones, President/Founder
Oldest daughter of Deana, Cassandra first envisioned The DEANA Foundation while caring for her mom and encountering little financial help for their middle class family. She is married and currently stays at home with her three children, assisting where she can with her mom’s care. She has a Specialized Associates degree in Fashion and an Associates of Science in Early Childhood. She has volunteered in numerous leadership positions in her church, organizing events and activities. She currently runs her own business teaching sewing classes in her community and running a website which includes sewing tutorials. Cassandra also writes the popular blog, “Dementia Diaries: A Journey With Dementia” where she shares her family’s story while bringing awareness to dementia.
Lisa Mitchell, Vice President
Lisa Mitchell is a friend to the Alves family. She has a step-dad that suffers from dementia and sees the need for awareness. She is a wife and mother of 4 children. Lisa has an associate’s degree in liberal arts and owns her own accounting business. Her experience in accounting makes her a valuable asset to the foundation, where she prepares all of the financials. This is her first time being a part of a non-profit organization but has volunteered with numerous functions and positions within her church.
Melissa Smith, Board Member
Melissa Smith is passionate about writing, and editing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in English Literature and Pedagogy from California Baptist University. Her experience includes grant writing for non-profits and government organizations. Melissa helped to start a task force called The Purple City Alliance in July of 2015. This was part of a citywide initiative to make Riverside a Dementia Friendly Community and offers resources and support to those caring for a loved one with a dementia-related disease. The initiative is important to Melissa, because her late grandfather had Parkinson’s disease with dementia, and she was a caregiver for him until he passed away in 2014. Melissa met Cassandra at one of the Purple City alliance meetings and decided to join her organization.