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New Leadership Assumes the Helm at the Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF)

The Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) will commence its new fiscal year on July 1, 2022 with new leadership assuming the helm. The newly elected Board President is Ms. Renee L. Harper of Boston, MA. Ms. Harper previously served as board treasurer of DREF, the 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization established by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Also joining the DREF team will be Ms. Karla M. Green as the newly hired Executive Director, who will manage the daily business affairs of the Foundation’s national operation.

Renee Harper served as a member of the Sorority since 1989.  She is a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is currently a member of Boston Alumnae Chapter.  She has served on the DREF Board of Directors since the fall of 2015 and has performed numerous roles in Delta on the local, regional and national levels including Chapter President, National Finance Chair and Leadership DELTA Co-Chair.  Ms. Harper succeeds outgoing DREF President Carolyn E. Lewis of New Orleans, LA.

Professionally, Ms. Harper is the Chief Financial Officer and Partner at Education Resource Strategies (ERS), an educational consulting organization. Prior to joining ERS, she was the Assistant Vice President and Controller at Liberty Mutual Insurance, overseeing the financial operation of a business unit with a $1.6 billion budget.  Her career has also included other finance roles: revenue manager, audit manager, finance manager, budget manager, and adjunct accounting instructor.  Ms. Harper earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester, a master in business administration (MBA) from Boston University and a master of science in accountancy from Bentley University.  She is also a charter property and casualty underwriter.

Ms. Harper has earned numerous awards for her leadership and financial acumen including the Chairman of the Board Award at Liberty Mutual, Finance Excellence Award at Digital Equipment and Boston YMCA Achievers Award.  In the Boston, MA metropolitan area, she serves on numerous boards including Vice Chair of the Visiting Nurses Association, Chair of Church Council for Greater Framingham Community Church, Vice Chair of the Human Relations Commission for the City of Framingham and Chair of Internal Audit & Scholarships for the Boston Branch of the NAACP.  Her favorite mottos are “Service is the Rent we pay for Living” and “If I can help someone along the way then my living is not in vain.”

The incoming DREF Executive Director Karla M. Green hails from Syracuse, NY and has been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. since 1992.  She has an extensive professional background in public and non-profit management with twenty years of experience in administration and management, staff recruitment and effective community relationships.  She comes to DREF from the Dunbar Association, a 100-year-old, non-profit organization that offers community services to families and youth with a primary focus on the African American population.  She served as Executive Director of the Dunbar Association from 2018 until accepting the Chief Administrative position with DREF.  Her other career positions include working with the Onondaga County Government as a Personnel Officer, Deputy Director of the Huntington Family Centers, and a Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Syracuse City School District.  Ms. Green succeeds Cheryl M. Thomas, CPA, as DREF Executive Director.

Karla Green is a member of Syracuse (NY) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she most recently served two terms as First Vice President.  She has also chaired the following committees in the fifty-year old DST chapter:  Membership Services, Social Action, and Delta Youth Initiatives.  She has served as committee member of Scholarship, May Week, and Fundraising initiatives.  Her leadership in the Syracuse community also extends to serving as a Board Member of Central Current, a non-profit Digital News Publication; volunteering as a chaperone for the Annual HBCU Tour with Jr. Frontiers of Mohawk Valley, serving on the administrative team for Saturday Academy Education and Mentorship Program with 100 Black Men of Syracuse, and as Board Member of WCNY Public Broadcasting Service.

The new DREF Executive Director earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Hampton University and a Master of Arts in Education from Trinity College in Washington, D.C.  She has also done additional studies in the Executive Master of Public Administration at Syracuse University.

DREF recognizes its 55th Anniversary in 2022.  Since its establishment in 1967, the Foundation has upheld its mission of identifying issues that affect Black women, their families, and communities of the African Diaspora, globally, and creating solutions through research, programming, and funding in support of charitable and educational programs of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and other collaborative organizations.

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