Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What is The Orchard Foundation?

The Orchard Foundation is a nonprofit local education fund established as a resource for Central Louisiana that works with school districts, businesses, and communities to improve educational opportunities. We believe The Orchard Foundation provides outstanding opportunities to develop leaders in education which enhance the education efforts in Central Louisiana.

The Orchard Foundation serves a nine-parish area of Central Louisiana which includes: Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn.

Background and Funding

In 2004, The Rapides Foundation assembled a group of leaders from throughout the nine-parish Central Louisiana area to study the need for a local education fund and to determine the possible role it could play to improve educational opportunities for educators. The Rapides Foundation initially committed $600,000 over a three year period to establish the local education fund, and continues funding today under its Education Initiative.

The Rapides Foundation’s Education Initiative seeks to increase the level of educational attainment and achievement among Central Louisiana residents. Research tells us that people with higher education levels are healthier and live longer. One of the core strategies in the Education Initiative is providing professional development and leadership opportunities for teachers and school leaders in Cenla. The Orchard Foundation administers these efforts through funding from The Rapides Foundation.

The Orchard Foundation Staff

Marjorie Taylor, Ed.D.
Dr. Marjorie Taylor is the Executive Director for The Orchard Foundation. She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of education, with the last 20 being in adult education, continuing education and workforce development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Master of Education in Mathematics and a Doctor of Education from Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. Prior to joining The Orchard Foundation, Taylor served as dean of the Louisiana Board of Regents Learning Center for Rapides Parish where she was responsible for directing operations of the facility and coordinating academic programs for more than 12 partner colleges and universities.
Jennifer Cowley, MBA
Jennifer Cowley is the Program Manager for K-12 for The Orchard Foundation. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the K-12 initiatives. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Business Administration from LSU at Shreveport. She also received her teacher certification in Elementary Education from Louisiana State University at Alexandria. She has also previously served The Orchard Foundation as the Central Louisiana Instructional Partnership (CLIP) Field Coordinator. Prior to joining The Orchard Foundation, she served as a teacher for the Rapides Parish School Board. In addition, Cowley has several years of experience in advertisement, marketing and management. 
  Lindlay Howell, MBA
Lindlay Howell is the Central Louisiana Instructional Partnership (CLIP) Program Field Coordinator for The Orchard Foundation. She is primarily responsible for coordinating all field operations of CLIP. Howell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Studies Marketing/Management from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Prior to joining The Orchard Foundation, she served as the Director of Community Development for the City of Winnfield and the Marketing Manger for Winn Parish Medical Center.
Rebekah Simpson, M.Ed.
Rebekah Simpson is the Program Manager for Early Childhood for The Orchard Foundation. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the Early Childhood initiatives including the early childhood family literacy program, Read to Soar. Simpson holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master's degree in Elementary Education from Delta State University. Prior to joining The Orchard Foundation, Simpson served as a classroom teacher at the lower elementary level throughout Mississippi. 
Kim Ducote
The Orchard Foundation Administrative Assistant

Jamila Farris
Early Childhood Program Coordinator


The Orchard Foundation's Mission is to improve academic achievement for Central Louisiana students by promoting best practices; recruiting, retaining, and rewarding excellent and innovative teachers; building school leadership; and strengthening school and community relationships.


The Orchard Foundation functions as a resource which promotes leadership development for educators and higher achievement for students in Central Louisiana.

Ethical conduct and governance

The Rapides Foundation is committed to lawful and ethical behavior in all of its activities. Employees and trustees are required to conduct themselves in a manner that complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

All employees and trustees are required to review and sign the Foundation's Code of Conduct, as well as its Whistleblower Policy. These policies relating to the governance of The Rapides Foundation are listed below:



Job Openings

Contact Information

The Orchard Foundation
1101 4th Street, Suite 101-C
Alexandria, Louisiana 71301
Phone: 318-767-6561
Toll Free: 800-804-8454
Fax: 318-448-4473


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