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. Cassandra also writes the popular blog, “Dementia Diaries: A Journey With Dementia” where she shares her family’s story while bringing awareness to dementia.
Melissa Ballantyne, Vice President
Melissa Ballantyne is a friend to the Alves family. She is a wife and mom to three children. She graduated from University of Phoenix where she received her bachelor’s degree in accounting. She served alongside Cassandra planning events and activities for several years. She played an integral role in helping to establish The DEANA Foundation with her knowledge and experience with non-profit organizations.
Lisa Mitchell, Secretary
Lisa Mitchell is a friend to the Alves family and 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 works part time in a family business. This is her first time being a part of a non-profit organization but has volunteered with several functions and positions within her church.
Shari Fleischman, Board Member
Shari Fleischman comes to the DEANA FOUNDATION with many professional years working in senior health care and management. She began her career in the nursing field caring for those living with dementia then, progressing to the position of Memory Care Manager for Assisted Living. Her most recent experience includes a post graduate certificate in Gerontology from the Davis School of Gerontology at USC. She is also a Certified Professional Service Coordinator with work providing support and resources to at risk seniors living in affordable housing. Shari resides in Riverside and is currently the chair for Riverside’s Commission on Aging. As a commissioner, Shari also coordinates the annual Purple Boat Float held each November at Lake Evans in memory of and, in support to those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia. The DEANA FOUNDATION welcomes Shari and her many talents.