Theresa Foundation

Board of Directors

President

Susan Russo

Susan, a co-founder of the Theresa Foundation, has been the organization’s President since its inception in 1992. She has taken a very active role in the Foundation’s development, having served on various committees such as The Gift of Love, American Girl Fashion Show, Newsletter, Holiday Boutique, Theresa Awards, Theresa’s Fun Day, and Grants. In addition, Susan was the Director of the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts from 2009 to 2018. She holds a BS in Dance Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Masters degree in Dance Education from Teacher’s College/Columbia University, and a Masters degree in Special Education from Dowling College. Susan has taught dance to students in grades k-12, as well as at the College level for over 40 years. Susan and her husband live at the beach with their two rescue pups.

Treasurer

Vincent J. Russo

Vincent has championed the rights of seniors and people with special needs since 1985. He is the Managing Shareholder of Russo Law Group, P.C., with offices on Long Island and Manhattan, New York. Additionally, Vincent is a founding member and currently serves in leadership positions at several organizations including the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the NYSBA Elder Law and Special Needs Section, the Academy of Special Needs Planners, ElderCounsel, LLC, and the Nassau Cerebral Palsy Association’s Guardianship Corporation on Long Island. Vincent, with his wife Susan, co-founded the Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation in the memory of their daughter, Theresa. Vincent is proud of the work the Foundation has done to assist thousands of individuals through the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts for Children with Special Needs and the Theresa Pooled Trust. He is also a huge Beatles fan.

Vice President

Elizabeth Einhart

Elizabeth Einhart is the Executive Director and Vice President of the Theresa Foundation and has served on the Board of Directors since 1995. Elizabeth holds NYS teaching licenses in Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood Education and post graduate certificates in Building Leadership and District Leadership. She earned her Bachelors degree from University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Auditory Oral Deaf Education and Early Childhood Education and a Masters degree from James Madison University in Early Childhood Special Education. Elizabeth taught for seven years in an integrated early childhood classroom on the Upper East Side of Manhattan before moving into an administrative role for an additional six years. She considers herself to be blessed to dedicate her career to supporting arts programs for children with special needs and is reminded of her sister, Theresa, in the smiles of the children served by the Foundation.

Secretary

Judy Murdaugh-Jackson

Judy has been involved in the Theresa Foundation since its start in 1992. In addition to her volunteer work at the Theresa Foundation, Judy lends her organizational talents to other school, community, church, and service organizations. She has taken on leadership roles within several of the organizations she has been associated with over her long-standing volunteer career. In 2017 Judy was honored with the Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation Award for her exceptional dedication to the organization and its mission. She and her husband have two adult children and enjoy being grandparents. Judy is motivated and lives by the words her mother used to say from an old gospel song, “May the work I’ve done, speak for me.”

Board Members

Laury Gelardi

Laury Gelardi has served on the Theresa Board of Directors for the past 25 years and was instrumental in the original development of bylaws and committee structure. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest of 5 girls, she later moved to Tucson, Arizona where she graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Psychology/Sociology and an MBA in Organizational Management. Laury started her own company, Management, Plus, Ltd. in 1984, which focused on providing services and guidance to elder law attorneys and care managers. Laury is currently retired and lives in Destin, Florida with her husband, Bob. She is actively engaged in volunteer work in her community, however, feels that the Theresa Foundation and its works is still a charitable priority.

Jane James

Jane James has been a member of the Theresa Foundation Board of Directors since the Foundation was established in 1992. She is a 1978 graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. During her extensive tenure, Jane has served on several committees such as the Grant, Cookbook Committees and as a tree designer for the Festival of Trees. She is a talented quilter and had donated several handmade quilts as prizes over the many years she has supported the Theresa Foundation. Jane has been married for forty years and has two children and nine grandchildren.

M. Elizabeth Meyers

Beth has been a Board Member of the Theresa Foundation since its inception in 1992, serving on the Grant Committee for many years. Mrs. Meyers was born and raised in Charlotte, NC where she was introduced to and fell in love with the art of dance and the creative arts. Mrs. Meyers holds a Bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Dance Education and a Masters degree in Gerontology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She spent much of her professional career working as a Gerontologist and Educator in Geriatric Education at the Virginia Geriatric Education Center, the Division of Geriatrics at the Medical College of Virginia, and at the Richmond Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Beth is now semi-retired and living in the mountains of Virginia with her husband, Arthur where she enjoys reading, dancing, travel, gardening, hiking, listening to music and exploring the beauty of the mountains.

Dante Russo

Dante Russo has served on the Board of Directors of the Theresa Foundation since 1995. He founded the Spirit of an Angel Dance Ensemble in memory of his youngest sister, Theresa, which ran from 1996 to 1999. While active, the dance ensemble performed at various fundraising events including The Theresa Foundation’s Annual Dinner Dance, the American Girls Fashion Show, and the Long Island Festival of Trees. Since moving from New York, Dante has worked on a number of television shows and feature films including “A Million Little Things”, “Glee”, and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”. Dante directed the short film, “Grief”, inspired by the loss of his sister, which premiered at the 18th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival. A graduate of Emerson College, Dante currently resides in Los Angeles with his dog, Dakota.

Robert Russo

Robert Russo is a writer and theatre critic who works for former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during the day and covers New York’s performing arts scene at night. In addition to his involvement with the Theresa Foundation, he is the founder of Stage Left, a website and weekly newsletter offering news, reviews, and reports on what to see and skip, and a co-host and co-producer of the weekly theatre podcast “The Fabulous Invalid”. A lifelong theatregoer and political junkie, Robert began his career in politics and public service, working as a close aide to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton through two presidential campaigns, four years at the U.S. Department of State, and in private life, where he remains a member of her team. Born and raised on Long Island, Robert holds both a B.A. in political science and public policy and a J.D. from The George Washington University, and is a licensed attorney in the State of New York. He lives in Manhattan.