About the Foundation
NOLA Gold Rugby recognizes that we are part of a larger community and to have success in business we must:
-Craft a Corporate Social Responsibility Model as part of our daily operations. The formation of the NOLA Gold Rugby Foundation gives us the avenue to fulfill our commitment to our community.
-Use the sport of rugby to create opportunities to improve young lives in our community, as well as collaborate with support organizations to be inclusive in all our endeavors.
50 Youth Rugby Programs
The NOLA Gold Rugby Foundation will use the sport of rugby to help under-served children ranging from ages 4 through 19. Through the sport, kids will learn about comradery, leadership, and hard work.
The Foundation has partnered with the state-based organization, Louisiana Rugby, as well as the Jefferson Parish Parks & Recreation Department. We are in the process of creating & developing 50 youth rugby programs throughout the state before the start of our 2021 season, with responsibilities to:
-Provide coaching and certified volunteers
-Provide all the necessary equipment
-Double the number of high school teams
-Grow rugby statewide
NOLA Gold “Community Projects”
The NOLA Gold Rugby Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the franchise, continues its broadened scope to support various organizations:
Spinal Bifida of Louisiana
The “Joey Traylor Memorial Fund” – we raise money throughout the year and host the organization at one of our NOLA Gold home games.
Second Harvest Volunteers
NOLA Gold Staff and Team helping load food at local food bank during the Pandemic.
NOLA Reign Women’s Committee
The Nola Reign Women’s Committee has been established to help further the mission of the Gold Foundation. The Committee will be compromised of volunteers that love everything Nola Gold, including helping those throughout the New Orleans area. Members of the committee will be involved in helping plan charitable events, fundraising, and outreach programs. Also, members will provide valuable feedback and networking ideas that will keep NOLA Gold actively involved in the community.
American Cancer Society and “Real Men Wear Pink” for breast cancer awareness partnership.
-ACS Pink Dress Walk with NOLA Gold
-Golf with the Gold Charity Tournament
Diversity Intern Programs
NOLA Gold strives to be a leader on social justice issues and the “Theory of Change”.
For the past two decades, the ownership at NOLA Gold Rugby has a successful history establishing and maintaining non-profit organizations which have richly impacted our community.
Since it was established in 2018, the NOLA Gold Rugby Foundation has aligned itself in scope to two previous connected and ongoing programs, Cafe Reconcile and Cafe Hope.
Both programs provide both Life Skills and Job Skills training for disadvantaged youths who seek employment and education.
Sports Management Intern
NOLA Gold will work with local non-profit organizations, partner businesses, and Sport Management Programs to offer paid internships to promote diversity and inclusion in the sports industry.
In addition, we will work with high school leadership programs to develop a pathway to job entry, or a pathway to college in Sports Management through our on-the-job-training internships.
We will also work with our partners, ASM Global Sports Management, Laureus Sport for Good Coalition, Lagniappe Outdoor Solution and Tulane Center for Sports and Education, to help enrich our intern program.
Bobbie Ragsdale- Chairperson|
A New Orleans native, Bobbie is an Army veteran of 18 years, with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. . He is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal and was the 2013 and 2014 recipient of the Draper Armor Leadership Award. In 2009, he founded Ragsdale Holdings, LCC, through which he acquired over twelve years of real estate development and investment experience. He has additionally studied System Dynamics at MIT and Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. He additionally serves on the boards of the Fisher House of Louisiana, Academy Politics, Rank the Vote, Global Leadership University, The Harvard Club of Louisiana, The West Point Society of the Mid-Gulf, and the Isidore Newman Alumni Association, and is the President of the West Point Class of 2007. He resides in Metairie, Louisiana with his wife, Meghan, and their four children.
Max Swain- Vice Chair|
William Africk- Secretary
David Buckingham- Program Committee|
David Buckingham is the Treasurer and past President for Louisiana Rugby. Louisiana Rugby is the non-profit partnered with USA Rugby to foster youth rugby programming in Louisiana. David helps connect the Louisiana Rugby Board and the NOLA Gold Foundation to foster their shared goals. Originally from Boston, MA, David has lived in New Orleans since 2007, the year he graduated from Wake Forest University. Professionally David is Accounting Manager with Insulations, LLC and the Branton Enterprises group of companies. David’s looking forward to when his two young sons can join in the youth rugby fun. Some of David’s hobbies are watching and playing rugby, crossfit, fantasy football, and defi (decentralized finance).
Bonnie Vassalo- Events Committee|
Bonnie Vassalo, is a native New Yorker and resident of New Orleans, LA. Garda World Security and The Able Network Inc. Bonnie is a Business Development Manager at Garda World and Founder and President of The Able Network Inc, a local nonprofit network dedicated to connecting Adults with Disabilities with employment opportunities in New Orleans. Empowerment Through Employment Award for my work with disability employment, Circle of Champions award for achievements as a female leader in nonprofit business. Has opened and operated several nonprofits and spaces for adults and children with Special Needs, including the Stacey Ray Children’s Center for children with HIV/AIDS and an Employment Network for Social Security beneficiaries and currently serves on the NOLA Gold Rugby Foundation Board as well as Police Community Advisory Board for District 6 with the NOPD and Disco Amigos Social Aide and Pleasure Club. She is commitment to helping others, integrity in all I do and most important, my incredible family.
Salvador Muñoz Martínez obtained his Law Degree from the Complutense University of Madrid, and a Master’s degree in ICT applied to education from Barcelona University. He held positions in non-profits, International Organizations, the Spanish Government, and the private sector (in 2014, he started his consulting company https://www.salvadorconsulting.org). Since 1995, he has worked in multiple social and economic development programs in Latin America. He has taught courses on international cooperation for development, programmatic aid, improvement of the technological skills of teachers, intercultural education, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainable Development Goals (ODS), and results-based management. He defines himself as a leader and an integrator, facilitator, and social innovator with a pedagogical vocation. He has assumed responsibilities and made strategic decisions from different positions and levels. He has managed programs and has conducted studies and research in many Latin American countries in aspects as diverse as adult literacy, child labor, online education, poverty, or social inclusion, favoring environmental sustainability and gender-equality. Since 2014 he has collaborated as a volunteer promoting the Stoplight for the Elimination of Poverty of the Paraguayan Foundation. Since 2019, he is a Board Member of NOLA GOLD RUGBY FOUNDATION. August 2021 he will resume his career at the Spanish Embassy in Havana, Cuba, after almost nine years enjoying a leave of absence. He loves rugby!
B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University Currently working as the Associate Dean for Academic Operations and Graduate Programs at the Freeman School. I am a Professor of Practice at Freeman and hold the Peter and Paul Callais Professorship in Entrepreneurship and the John Elstrott Professorship. Over 25 years of executive leadership in industry and academia. Significant experience in both for profit and nonprofit organizations. I have expertise in management consulting, business development, strategy, new ventures, product development, business model development, fundraising, external relations, professional advising, and executive coaching. My extensive experience in Asia, Europe, and North America combined with my leadership, vision, and commitment distinguishes me as an advisor and collaborator with a global reach. I see community engagement as a critical process, and I work collaboratively with groups of people and organizations to address issues affecting the well-being of the people in New Orleans. I am passionate about bringing organizations together to create effective relationships, helping to mobilize resources, and serving as a catalyst for change. I am active in the New Orleans community which has been home for the last 8 years. I live close to the Tulane University with my wife Jennifer of 28 years. We met playing rugby and we believe that sport plays a meaningful role in young people’s lives and has a positive impact on educational attainment and future employability. Sport is also a proven economic and social driver of infrastructure development, GDP, and community well-being.
Alexandra “Alexa” Bourbon is an associate based in MG+M’s New Orleans Office. Her practice focuses primarily on asbestos litigation, premises liability, products liability, and complex tort litigation. Alexa earned her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law along with a certificate in Sports Law. During her time at Tulane, she competed in the Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition and won the Tulane Baseball Arbitration Intraschool Competition in 2016. Alexa also served as the Senior Business Editor for the Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law. Prior to joining MG+M, Alexa worked as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Chief Judge Christopher J. Bruno. Outside of work, Alexa volunteers with the Junior League of New Orleans and spends time with her fiancé and two dogs: Jeter and Elsa.
Isabella Finnell is originally from Western Massachusetts but has lived in New Orleans since She started her career in New Orleans in 2013 after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program. She has also earned her Masters of Business Administration from Tulane University with a concentration in Global Management and a specialization in Strategic Management and Leadership in 2017. When Isabella first arrived in New Orleans, she completed the Operations Manager Training Program at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. After the program was over, she took on the role of Assistant Convention Services Floor Manager. In this role she helped service events and conventions of up to 5000 people which included some of New Orlean’s most prestigious events. In 2015 she transitioned to the InterContinental New Orleans role where she was a Convention Service Manager and then promoted to Catering Sales Manager to handle the local and social markets. In this role she worked with the local community frequently. Whether it was a wedding, a Mardi Gras Ball, the Saints or an event for a local Church, working with these groups really helped Isabella fall in love with the city. In 2019, Isabella then transitioned to work for the New Orleans Marriott and Sheraton as Senior Catering Sales Executive. This allowed Isabella to continue working with the community but at a larger scale. Of course in 2020 with the pandemic, Isabella was placed on furlough and decided to make a career change. Firstly, she decided to become a licensed Realtor in the state of Louisiana and is currently working with Galiano Realty. Most recently, she has taken on the role of IT Project Manager with Pool Corp where she helps facilitate their acquisition process. Isabella also serves as the Meetings and Special Events Chair for the Junior League of New Orleans. She also is the former Director of Programs for the National Association of Catering and Events – New Orleans Chapter. When Isabella has free time, she loves to bring her dog to City Bark, dine in the city with her husband, and travel.
Don Boyd, a native New Orleanian with four decades of rugby in his blood. He is a former Captain of the Louisiana State University Rugby Club class of 83’ and then wrapping up a 37-year active playing career with the NORFC Vieux Garcon. A decorated Chef recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a New Orleans Legacy Chef and has traveled to over 50 countries to hon his professional skills. He is most proud of his community work in social justice with Café Reconcile and as co-founder of Café Hope. Don was a co-founder of the State Based Rugby Organization, Louisiana Rugby, a non-profit that promotes the expansion of youth rugby, and is on the Board of Director. Don’s current position is the Executive Director of the NOLA Gold Rugby Foundation est. 2018. The Foundation is currently working to develop a Sports Management Internship Program that Promotes diversity.
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