We are particularly interested in opportunities that:

  • Have great potential to sustain or increase the vibrancy of greater Houston
  • Address the most critical issues for our region
  • Recognize the interconnectedness of issues
  • Drive our stated priorities
  • Have the potential to benefit large numbers of residents
  • Are “ripe” for investment, that is, where circumstances are favorable for positive impact

Program Officers

Houston Endowment program officers share a passion for our mission and a commitment to excellence. They are available to discuss whether potential proposals drive our priorities. Multiple program officers work within each focus area and priority.

Bao-Long Chu
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Long oversees the grants strategy to support and grow Houston’s arts, culture, and parks ecosystem. He collaborates with artists and community leaders toward a shared vision of a vibrant city with abundant opportunities to create and connect. The power of art to share and connect human stories inspires his work.

He is a storyteller. Originally from Vietnam, his passion for writing led him to the MFA creative-writing program at University of Houston. He has written and presented extensively on writing pedagogy, the connection between art and the refugee experience, and non-profit programming. During his role as the associate director of the literary-education nonprofit Writers in the Schools, he developed his extensive background in literacy, arts, and community engagement.

Long’s poems and essays have been published in several anthologies, including The New Anthology of American Poetry: Postmodernisms 1950-Present and From Both Sides Now: The Poetry of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath. His libretto for the opera Bound, composed by Huang Ruo, premiered in Houston in 2014 and in New York in 2019.

Long holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and psychology from Houston Baptist University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program.

Andrea Cretu

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Andrea oversees grant strategies that further Houston Endowment’s commitment to education.

Prior to joining Houston Endowment, Andrea served in a number of roles that informed her expertise as an educational advocate committed to social impact. She possesses a strong drive to strengthen teacher effectiveness and student outcomes which was evident during her time as the Partnership Director for 3DE Schools at Stephen F. Austin High School in HISD. Additionally, Andrea’s experiences with Teach Plus, KIPP Houston and Teach For America strengthened her knowledge of educational policy, teacher recruitment and curriculum development.

Andrea enjoys traveling, reading, and attempting to grow a vegetable garden every spring. On the weekends she can be found seeking an adventure with her husband, son, and two doodles whether that be a trip to the farmers market, experimenting in the kitchen, or exploring the wonders of Target.

Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a master’s degree in public affairs from The University of Texas at Austin.

Meghna Goswami
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Meghna leads the grants strategy to strengthen residents’ access to civic and electoral processes. She collaborates with leaders from nonprofits, public entities, and philanthropy to increase voter participation and immigrant civic integration. Bringing the region’s best minds together to solve complex problems is among the most rewarding aspects of Meghna’s work.

Collaborating across sectors to tackle tough issues is her lifelong pursuit. She has worked in community development, gender equity, immigrant rights, and affordable housing. Prior to joining Houston Endowment in 2010, Meghna led counseling and client services for Daya, an organization working with South Asian survivors of domestic violence in Houston.

Originally from India, Meghna has called Houston her home since 2003. In her spare time, she loves exploring Houston, traveling off the beaten path to non-touristy destinations, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Meghna holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Delhi University, India, and a graduate degree in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India. She is a licensed social worker in the state of Texas.

Lisa Hall
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As vice president of program strategy, Lisa leads the foundation’s grant activities and serves on the executive team. Prior to joining Houston Endowment in 2013, Lisa was general counsel and vice president for talent support at YES Prep Public Schools, where she served on the management team of the charter management organization. Prior to joining YES Prep, Lisa provided consulting services on a variety of education-related projects, including development of the Rice University Children’s Campus and assessment and planning for Rice’s K-12 initiatives. She has also been a visiting professor at Texas Southern University Law School. Earlier in her career, Lisa served as director of professional development for the Texas offices of McKinsey & Company and practiced labor and employment law as a partner at Bracewell in Houston. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. A native Texan, Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, including several rescue dogs currently living in their home.

Alexandra Chung Rouse

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Alex leads the education grants strategy to improve Houston’s public education system. In this role she collaborates with non-profits, school systems, and communities to identify and support a shared vision in which every child can attend a great school that prepares them for postsecondary opportunities. Teaming with dedicated and passionate community partners is a highlight of her work.

Alex has pursued improved school systems for over a decade. Prior to Houston Endowment, she served as chief of staff for New Schools for Baton Rouge. She also held positions with Teach for America South Louisiana, where she worked to help students recover from disruptions caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Her excellence in teaching earned her recognition as a finalist for Teach for America’s Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award. Among her biggest sources of pride are the teachers she has coached who have become leaders in improving education.

A Louisiana transplant, Alex can be found cheering for the LSU Tigers in the Fall and eating lots of crawfish in the Spring.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Ogden Honors College at Louisiana State University and a postgraduate diploma from Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.

Jeremy Tatum

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Jeremy oversees grant strategies that support the foundation’s work in education.

He brings more than a decade’s worth of counseling, leadership and consulting expertise to his role. Prior to joining Houston Endowment, Jeremy served as a University Strategic Consultant at Watermark, an education technology firm, where his thoughtful collaboration with educational leaders enabled them to harness valuable data and drive student improvement. He is also adept at seeking solutions that will equip students for post-secondary success having worked in various roles at Contigo Ed, Houston Independent School District and YES Prep.

Jeremy loves making memories and spending quality time with friends and family. Whether it is planning a trip to explore a new place, cooking a meal for a house full of friends, or solving the world’s most complex problems over a glass of wine on the back porch, he always finds a way to create memories and meaningful connections with others (or his two long-haired Dachshunds). Jeremy also enjoys learning about the history of American cities, urban planning, and Houston’s freeway design.

Jeremy holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Houston.

Carlos Villagrana

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Carlos oversees grant strategies to support developing great teachers and leaders for all of Houston’s students. He also identifies opportunities to enhance student outcomes through teacher recruitment and development. Collaboration and convening diverse perspectives are central to his work.

His career reflects a lifelong dedication to improving education in underserved communities. As the Managing Director for Teaching Excellence, he supported the development and certification of teachers across seven Houston school systems. He was also an educator and instructional leader in Independent School Districts and Charter School sectors. He is most proud of the accomplishments of his former students and colleagues and their contributions to improving the lives of others.

Carlos is active in the American Leadership Forum Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter and regularly volunteers in his neighborhood church. When away from work, Carlos enjoys investing time with his wife and their three children, the Texaricans. He can also be found riding bikes or discovering hidden gems across Houston. He has never met a stranger and finds joy in discovering shared interests.

Carlos holds a Master of Education in curriculum and development from Houston Baptist University and a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Oklahoma State University. He also holds a Texas Principal Certificate and a Texas Bilingual Teacher Certificate. He served in the State Board for Educator Certification for several years before joining the Houston Endowment.