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​​Foundation Innovation, LLC is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to
guiding education foundations and school districts to success. Our team of
consultants represents decades of combined experience in the nonprofit arena including administration, development, marketing and training specifically
for public education foundations. In addition, each draw on their
​own experiences serving on nonprofit Boards.

The Foundation Innovation Team includes an enthusiastic staff and a consortium of amazing consultants who are knowledgeable practitioners with specific experience with the development and management of education foundations. As members of several national and state associations and organizations, our consultants have
knowledge of all aspects of nonprofit ​development,
​management ​and fundraising.

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Shawn Callaway

Shawn Callaway became the President and Owner of FI in August 2022.  He started his career in nonprofit management in 1993, and has accrued 30 years of experience in non-profit management and has been on the FI team since 2015. From religious and education to business and economic development nonprofits, Shawn has served in most roles of non-profits from Board Member all the way to President/CEO. Shawn was named a “Hometown Hero” in 2020 and “Businessperson of the Year” in 2022.  Under Shawn’s leadership two different local Chambers have received Five Star Accreditation, the highest rating from the U.S. Chamber.  Shawn also currently serves as the first executive director of the award-winning Aledo ISD Education Foundation, which has raised over $3.5 million dollars since its founding in 2013.  Shawn is actively involved in pro-education legislation and activism. After earning his degree from Texas Tech, he achieved certifications in adolescent education from Southern Methodist University and Princeton University.

(512) 535-2046 ext. 700 or 712

Suzi Pagel, CFRE
Lead Strategist

Suzi Pagel, CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive), has served as Midway ISD’s Director of Development since 2002.  During this time, the Foundation has provided over $1.75 million for more than 650 classroom grants for the students and staff of Midway ISD and has an endowment of $2 million dollars. The Education Foundation has funded other programs beyond the scope of the typical school budget such as academic letter jackets and funds for first year teachers to supply their classrooms.

Suzi holds a B.S.Ed. from Baylor University. In addition to teaching in Texas and California, she served as the volunteer coordinator for the City of Woodway and the program coordinator of Keep Knoxville Beautiful. She volunteers for the Junior League, Hewitt Chamber of Commerce, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. 

Suzi has received the Junior League’s Golden Wing Award for Outstanding Volunteerism and the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Outstanding Professional Fundraiser awards.

​(512) 535-2046 ext. 705

Laurie Cromwell, CFRE
Founder and Chief Strategist

Laurie Cromwell, CFRE was the first woman elected to an at large position on the local school board, the first woman school board president, the first president of the local education foundation, the first woman president of the local Economic Development Commission, and a founding Board member of the local Chamber of Commerce. She was the first person to receive Chamber Citizen of the Year and the first to receive the Outstanding Service Award by the Texas Pioneer Foundation.  She started her mission in the nonprofit field in 1984 and in 2003 founded Foundation Innovation, a consulting firm that has guided hundreds of education foundations and school boards to success.

​(512) 535-2046 ext. 700

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Chris Ary

Chris Ary has over 8 years’ experience working with multiple Education Foundations throughout the Midwest and Texas. Chris has served on the board of the Blue Springs Education Foundation in Blue Springs, Missouri  since its inception in 2006 and currently serves on the Executive Committee. Chris has a BS in Economics from the University of Central Missouri. He also sits on the Advisory Board for the A+ Program for the Blue Springs.

​(512) 535-2046 ext. 707

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Amy Lane

Amy Lane brings over a decade of nonprofit management experience to the team. She is Director of Public Relations and Development for the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, and worked eight years as Executive Director for the North East Educational Foundation (NEEF) in San Antonio. 


During her tenure as NEEF's first paid Executive Director, the Foundation increased annual funding to campuses from $100k to more than $600k, and measurably improved fundraising, advocacy and governance strategies. The Foundation awarded more than $2.5 million (all raised through grassroots funding) in grants under her leadership and doubled the size of their investments. In 2021, the Texas Education Foundation Network awarded NEEF its top honor of Distinguished Achievement Award for their diverse approach to supporting its District during the pandemic.

Lane previously worked in public relations for the Texas Department of Agriculture in Austin and served as Associate  Director of Communications for former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger and his namesake park, the Hardberger Park Conservancy.  Lane, a summa cum laude graduate, received her B.A. in Journalism and Geography from Texas State University. She holds an M.A. in Corporate Communication/Digital Media from Baylor University and was chosen to present her research paper at the 96th National Communication Association conference in San Francisco.

(512) 535-2046 ext. 703

Lauren Bean
Director, Client Relations
Ryan Smith
Administrative Specialist
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Erica Ekwurzel, CFRE

Erica Villarreal Ekwurzel, MPAff, CFRE, CAP®, Founder of CivicAIM, has been involved in a variety of capacities, such as foundation program officer, philanthropic consultant, and professional facilitator, in founding, refining, and advancing social impact endeavors. Erica’s toolkit includes executive coaching, group facilitation and she enjoys engagements in the areas of intergenerational giving, strategic planning, and organizational effectiveness.


Erica is a 21/64 Certified Multigenerational Family Philanthropy Trainer, Certified Fund Raising Executive, member to the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers and most recently, earned the designation of Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) from The American College of Financial Services. Erica has presented and written on a range of topics for philanthropic industry conferences and peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, she serves as a returning guest lecturer and mentor to the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas at Austin.


Erica is a graduate of Austin College and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s Degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropic Studies. She also serves on the volunteer leadership boards of Todos Juntos Learning Center, National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, Advisory Committee of Practitioners of Color Working with Giving Families organized by 21/64, and Austin Together. 

When not on land building strong philanthropic ties and impact, you can find Erica with passport in hand, traveling to beach destinations and scuba diving exploring the depths and wonders of the sea with her family. Erica lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children.

(512) 535-2046 ext. 702

Tracy Phelps
Director, Operations
Gina Richardson
Social Media Specialist
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