FARGO, N.D. (May 13, 2022)—An experienced leader and community engagement advocate Laetitia Mizero Hellerud has been named as the new executive director of the Fargo-Moorhead Campus of Jeremiah Program (JP)—a national nonprofit with one of the most successful strategies for disrupting generational poverty among single mothers and their children.
A 24-year resident of the Fargo-Moorhead community, Mizero Hellerud has spent her career and much of her life supporting women and children through forward-thinking leadership, program management, community engagement, advocacy and equity-driven principles. After years of advocating for HeadStart families and coordinating the statewide settlement of new refugees, she has most recently led policy and systems change and advanced gender, racial and socio-economic inclusion as a published author, Bush Foundation Fellow, board member and leader in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Northwestern Minnesota. This work has also been critical to her intercultural consulting practice in the areas of diversity, equity, belonging, and immigrant issues. She brings this experience and a wealth of other leadership capabilities to JP.
“Laetitia is a proven leader and community builder—key strengths she will use as we build upon the JP Fargo-Moorhead successes to expand our impact within the community. She has lived experiences of single motherhood, and navigating the complex socio-economic and cultural challenges, which allow her to bring unique, authentic and impactful perspectives to the position,” said Chastity Lord, President & CEO, Jeremiah Program. “As we continue to scale and build on the JP Fargo-Moorhead momentum, we’re thrilled to have Laetitia at the table to support our mission and achieve our goals. Her insights will no doubt have a profound and lasting impact both on families, staff and the Fargo community at large.”
In the executive director role, Mizero Hellerud serves as a champion for JP’s two-generation mission and is responsible for achieving the annual fundraising goals of the campus, growing strong community partnerships, working closely with a local community board of trustees to build community engagement, and recruiting, developing and managing a team that plans for a thriving family experience.
“The holistic support Jeremiah Program wraps around moms and their children is what I needed during the 14 years I struggled to navigate multiple complex systems as I raised my two children. This program truly understands the transformative power of community,” added Mizero Hellerud. “What attracted me the most is the 2 Generations approach to disrupting poverty for single mothers and their children, as well as the deep commitment to social justice, education, and inclusion. This position is the perfect alignment of my interests, values, personal life and professional background. By joining this movement, I am where I belong.”
In Fargo-Moorhead, more than half (51%) of all single moms with children under age five live in poverty, compared to just 8% of married couples with children the same age. Their unsafe, unstable housing and a lack of affordable, quality childcare creates barriers to pursuing a college education that leads to career-track jobs. Jeremiah Program opened a Fargo-Moorhead campus in January 2018 to serve this community, providing quality early childhood education, childcare, a safe and affordable place to live, and empowerment and leadership training for single mothers attending college. Jeremiah Program sits at the nexus of these issues and supporting these women. In 2021, JP Fargo-Moorhead served 200 moms and kids; and currently supports 35 families and 90 moms and children.
Mizero Hellerud and Lord will host a conversation about Mizero Hellerud’s leadership journey and JP Fargo-Moorhead’s growth plans on Tuesday, May 17 at 11 am CDT. RSVP here.
About Jeremiah Program:
Jeremiah Program (JP) is a national organization whose mission is to disrupt the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children, two generations at a time. JP believes the impacts of generational poverty require the centering of the family unit through a two-generation (2Gen) approach. By investing simultaneously in a mother’s vision for her personal and professional goals and the education of her children, she simultaneously reauthors her family’s outcome as well her community’s –proof points matter. In 2021, JP supported 1,100 moms and children across seven cities in Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN; Minneapolis, MN; Rochester, MN; and St. Paul, MN. In the fall of 2022, JP is launching two additional campuses in Baltimore, MD and Las Vegas, NV.