Introducing Marie Felan, our new Executive Director

Avance Austin logo                                                                                                                               Press Release






Marie Felan is a seasoned fundraising professional with deep roots in the Austin community.

AUSTIN – August 26, 2014 – The Board of Directors of AVANCE-Austin announced today that Marie Felan has been named Executive Director. Felan brings more than 22 years of experience in public service and nonprofit organizations at the local, statewide and national levels, with a track record of success in strategic planning, fundraising and personnel management.

“The need for our early childhood education program grows every day, and we were determined to find a leader who would tackle that challenge head on. We found that in Marie,” said Board Chairman John Donisi. “Her strong development background, strategic approach and thorough understanding of the intersection of poverty and education made her the perfect choice. We are excited to have Marie lead us to a new phase of growth, where we can expand our programs and services, and provide early educational support to an even greater number of Austin families.”

AVANCE-Austin’s Parent-Child Education Program addresses the many challenges that impede families’ abilities to support their children educationally. The holistic nature of this renowned two-generation model is what makes it so successful; with parenting and ESL classes, educational toy making, home visits, and child screening and instruction, AVANCE empowers not just individual mothers and children, but entire families. Through our intensive 9 month programming, children ages 6 weeks to 3 years become school-ready while parents learn to play an important, proactive role in counteracting risk factors that later lead to underachievement. This research-based model’s in-depth approach to poverty-alleviation through education helps children succeed in school, prevents child abuse and neglect, and breaks the family’s trans-generational cycle of poverty.

Felan has held numerous leadership positions in the Austin nonprofit community, including Chief Development Officer at Any Baby Can and, most recently, Director of Fund Development at Manos de Cristo. She brings a wealth of knowledge in program development, fundraising, government contracts, and grant applications and management.

“I am deeply committed to working with the client families served by AVANCE and have witnessed firsthand the power of home visitation, parenting education and family literacy” said Marie Felan. “I am excited to bring energy, passion, vision and dedication to the mission of AVANCE-Austin.”

Marie Felan will start her new position on Sept. 2, 2014.

For additional information, contact Anurita Mittra at (512) 326-9335 or