United States of America

Laura R. Cootsona holds a Masters in Nonprofit Administration (MNA) from University of San Francisco and a BA from UC Berkeley in Religious Studies and worked with nonprofit organizations as a consultant for 21 years. Cootsona built her consulting practice focused on fundraising, marketing, CEO coaching, strategic planning, and board development. In October of 2015, Cootsona became the Executive Director of the Jesus Center, a social service nonprofit in Chico, CA focusing on reducing the impact of homelessness.

She describes her commitment to folks living on the streets as her first passion, dating back to the early eighties while in school in Berkeley. As an undergraduate she volunteered at the Berkeley Emergency Food Project first as a job coach (and expert spades player) and then as a board member. Since assuming the role of Executive Director, Cootsona focuses on building strategic collaborations for the overall improvement of the community and of those who struggle the most with childhood trauma, mental illness, substance use, and circumstantial challenges. Post Camp Fire, Cootsona serves on the Executive Committee of the Long-Term Recovery Group Board of Directors and is focused on building a full service campus called The Renewal Center.

When she is not at work, Laura enjoys time with her two daughters (22 and 25), biking, reading, swimming, taking pictures, hanging out with friends, and traveling. She and her husband, Greg, a lecturer at CSUC in Religious Studies, are about to celebrate 35 years of marriage.