Meralis T. Hood to Lead Organization As It Ramps Up National Expansion
LOWELL, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate economic and social impact through inclusive entrepreneurship, today announced the appointment of Meralis T. Hood as Chief Executive Officer. A national nonprofit executive and bilingual veteran educator, Hood will lead the organization’s expansion plan with a goal to serve 50,000 entrepreneurs through its English and Spanish language programs by 2030.
The position was previously held by David Parker, who helped launch and grow the program alongside founding sponsor Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, for over 10 years. While he will be stepping down as CEO, Parker will continue to provide his expert guidance to EforAll as a board member.
“Meralis’ experience and passion for our mission is exactly what the organization needs as we continue to scale nationally. She brings deep understanding of the need for economic empowerment in economically challenged communities,” says Gail Goodman, EforAll Board Chair. “We are well poised for this next stage in growth through David’s extraordinary work building a proven, repeatable program.”
In her new role, Hood will have oversight for the operational, financial and fundraising strategies to help EforAll achieve its ambitious goal. She will serve as an authentic advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, championing inclusive entrepreneurship both within EforAll’s staff and within the populations they serve. Working alongside the EforAll staff and Board of Directors, she will focus on prioritizing EforAll’s investments in economic impact within under-served communities, multiplying those investments through work with local champions and strategic partners.
Prior to joining EforAll, Hood most recently served as Market President for City Year, Inc., a national educational nonprofit that partners with public schools to help students stay on track to graduate high school. In this position, she maintained strategic relationships with local executive directors, staff and AmeriCorps members from 10 City Year sites, nationally.
Before joining City Year, Hood also held various positions in education, including assistant principal at Milwaukee’s Bay View High School and a bilingual teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools, a position she held for nine years before shifting to district instructional coaching and administration. She holds a Bachelor of Art degree in advertising and public relations from Marquette University, a Master of Science degree in curriculum and instruction from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and an Education Specialist degree in educational leadership and administration from National Louis University.
“I am so excited to join an organization that shares my passion for driving economic equality and social impact through training, education and support. Especially one that recognizes the need to offer its programs in both English and Spanish to truly deliver on inclusivity,” said Hood. “I look forward to building on the proven model David has helped develop and bringing this extraordinary program to entrepreneurs across the country.”
To learn more about EforAll, visit: eforall.org.
Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities nationwide to help under-represented individuals successfully start and grow a business through intensive business training, mentorship and an extended professional support network. To date, EforAll alumni have launched over 1,100 businesses. In 2021, EforAll alumni businesses provided 1,734 jobs and generated more than $54 million in revenue. Programs are available in both English and Spanish. EforAll current locations include Buffalo, N.Y.; Longmont, Colo.; Northwest Arkansas; Rhode Island; and the following Massachusetts communities: Berkshire County, Cape Cod, Fall River/New Bedford, Worcester, Holyoke, Lynn, Merrimack Valley, and Roxbury. To learn more about EforAll, please visit eforall.org.