We stand for economic and social opportunity for all Texans. Because Texans believe in opportunity.
F. Scott McCown, Executive Director - F. Scott McCown retired as a state district judge in 2002 to become
director of the center. Called "the voice of the voiceless" and "the
conscience" of Texas politics by Texas Monthly, he is
responsible for the center's direction and administration. He is also an
expert on school finance and child welfare. Before coming to the
center, he presided over all of Texas' public school finance cases from
1990-2002 and thousands of child abuse cases. He is a member of the
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and an elected
member of the American Law Institute and the
Philosophical Society of Texas. McCown earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, cum laude, from Texas
Christian University in 1976, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors
from The University of Texas School of Law in 1979, where he was
elected to the Order of the Coif and to the Board of Editors of The Texas Law Review.
Valerie L. Davidson, Manager of Finance and Administration - Valerie L. Davidson joined the center in 2002. She is responsible for accounts payable, payroll, and other business. Before coming to the center, Davidson was an administrator in the Office of the District Judges of Travis County. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Southwest Texas State University in 1997.
Eva DeLuna Castro, Senior Budget Analyst - Eva DeLuna Castro joined the center in 1998. She focuses on state budget issues. Before coming to the center, she was an Analyst for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, researching various policy issues related to state revenue and spending. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Literature, cum laude, from Harvard University in 1988 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in 1997.
Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst - Dick Lavine joined the center in 1994. He focuses on state tax and revenue issues. Before coming to the center, he was a Senior Researcher at the House Research Organization of the Texas House of Representatives, where he covered budget and tax issues. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Travis Central Appraisal District. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1969 and a Doctor of Jurisprudence, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975.
Chandra Kring Villanueva, Policy Analyst - Chandra Kring Villanueva joined the center in 2010 as a fellow through the Center on Budget and Policies Priorities’ State Fiscal Analysis Initiative. She focuses on state pensions and public education finance and policy. She also serves on the Customer Satisfaction Advisory Board for Capital Metro and is an advisory board member for the Center on Children and Families at the Columbia University School of Nursing. Villanueva was the manager of Advocacy and Public Policy with the Women’s Prison Association in New York City. Prior to graduate school, she served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow with the Congressional Hunger Center in Arizona and Washington, D.C. Villanueva earned a Master of Public Administration from the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service in 2007, and a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington in 2003.
Frances Deviney, Ph.D., Texas KIDS COUNT Director - Frances Deviney joined the center in 2005. As KIDS COUNT Director, she
tracks the status of child well-being in Texas by collecting and
analyzing state and county-level data. She also helps coordinate the
center's family economic security work. Before coming to the center, she
was a Research Specialist at the Southwest Educational Development
Laboratory, a Legislative Director in the Texas House of
Representatives, and a Research Analyst at the Families and Schools
Together (FAST Track) Project. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in
Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 1993 and a Doctorate in
Developmental Psychology from The University of Utah in 2002.
Intern: Kaeley Bobbitt, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas Department of Human Development
COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH
Brian Stephens, Communications Director - Brian Stephens joined the center in 2010. He is responsible for all
CPPP media relations. He was formerly the marketing and creative manager
for Austin Habitat for Humanity. He was also the director of Marketing
and Communications for the Texas Pharmacy Association and communications
manager for the Texas Comptroller’s office. He has also done work for
the State Bar of Texas and the Lewisville Independent School District in
the Dallas area. Stephens holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from
the University of North Texas in Denton.
Alexa Garcia-Ditta, Communications Associate - Alexa Garcia-Ditta joined the center in 2012. As a member of the
Communications team, she works with Communications Director Brian
Stephens and Communications Associate Gina Chavez on media relations,
social media and marketing for the center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts
in journalism and Spanish from the University of Texas at Arlington and a
Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.
She is a native Houstonian and has written for various metropolitan
newspapers and statewide publications including the Texas Tribune and Texas Observer.
Gina Chavez, Communications Associate - Gina Chavez joined the center in 2010. She works with Communications
Director Brian Stephens and Communications Associate Alexa Garcia-Ditta
on all marketing, social media, and media relations for the center. She
was the Communications Coordinator at Texas Pharmacy Association for six
years before leaving the country to volunteer for eight months in El
Salvador. Chavez is also a native Austinite and a singer songwriter. She
holds a Bachelor of Journalism with a concentration in Latin American
Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Mia Ibarra, Outreach Associate - Mia Ibarra joined the center in 2012 as Outreach Associate.
Her primary responsibility is coordinating Texas Forward, a state-wide revenue
coalition, along with other outreach and civic engagement activities. Before
relocating to Austin, Mia managed the nationally-competitive Udall Scholarship
program for four years at The Udall Foundation. Before that, she conducted
legislative research and oversaw other research and voter education programs as
the Tucson Office Director for Project Vote Smart. She graduated with a
Bachelor of Arts in political economy from The Evergreen State College in
Deirdre Anderson, Development Director - Deirdre Anderson joined the Center as Development Director in 2012 and oversees development activities for the organization,including the annual Legacy Luncheon fundraising event. Beginning her career in fundraising in 1998, she has worked for both local and statewide organizations serving low-income families, individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth and those providing health care services, most recently Planned Parenthood in Austin. She is past president of the Greater Austin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and received her professional fundraising certification, CFRE, in 2010. She was honored in 2011 as Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year at the Annual Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon. Deirdre is also a member of Leadership Austin's Class of 2012. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin.
Lydia Chambers, Constituent Database Coordinator - Lydia Chambers has worked with the center since 2001. She originally focused on direct mail projects for the center, and in 2007 assisted the development team in launching their donor relations program. Her current role is maintaining the donor database, supporting the development team with ongoing data dissemination and assisting with briefings and fundraising events. She came to the center as the owner of Spin Data, a company she founded in 1995. Lydia has worked primarily with non-profits helping them build and expand their donor programs and managing their direct mail and email campaigns.
Don Baylor, Jr., Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Opportunity - An eighth-generation Texan, Don Baylor joined the center in 2004 and
focuses on asset building, postsecondary success, and labor markets to
expand economic opportunity and mobility in Texas. He directs
OpportunityTexas a statewide campaign to increase financial stability,
create pathways to good jobs, and promote savings. Before coming to the center, he crafted and advocated for living wage,
anti-predatory lending, and affordable housing legislation before the
New York City Council and New York State Legislature. Before that role,
he was a public sector consultant who co-led strategic planning and
performance audit contracts for several public entities in California,
Oregon, and Hawaii. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University in 1994 and a
Master of Arts in African American and Southern History with honors from
The University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997. He was recently appointed
to the new Consumer Advisory Board of the Federal Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau, and also serves on the Board of Directors of CFED,
RAISE Texas, the Texas Match the Promise Foundation. He serves in an
advisory role for CLASP, United Way Capital Area, and Texas C-Bar.
Leslie Helmcamp, Policy Analyst - Leslie Helmcamp joined the center in 2009. She focuses on employment
and postsecondary education access and succes. Her work is part of OpportunityTexas,
a project to move more Texas families toward greater economic
opportunity through academic and financial education and savings.
Helmcamp earned a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public
Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin in 2009. Before pursuing
graduate work, Helmcamp served as the director of the Immigration Legal
Services program of Catholic Charities of Central Texas where she
provided direct services to immigrant families.
Laura Rosen, OpportunityTexas Project Coordinator - Laura Rosen joined the center in July 2010. She is the Project Coordinator for OpportunityTexas,
a joint initiative of CPPP and RAISE Texas to move more Texas families
toward greater economic opportunity through academic and financial
education and savings. Rosen completed her Master of Public Policy from
the University of Michigan in 2010 and received a Bachelor of Business
Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the
University of Texas at Austin in 2004. Before returning to graduate
school, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru where she researched
Interns: Roxanne Garza, Masters in Public Affairs candidate at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs; Andrea Mayo, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona; Monica Sharma, Masters in Public Affairs candidate at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs; Lauren Stebbins, Masters in Public Affairs candidate at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director - Anne Dunkelberg joined the center in 1994. She is one of the state's
leading experts in policy and budget issues relating to health care
access. In 2007, she was named Consumer Advocate of the Year by Families
USA in Washington, D.C. Before coming to the center, she served as
Program Director for Acute Care in the Texas Medicaid Director's Office
and spent six years with the Texas Research League, where she authored
numerous reports on Texas health and human services issues and tracked
state health and human services budget issues. She earned dual degrees
from The University of Texas at Austin—a Bachelor of Arts (Plan II),
magna cum laude, in 1979 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ
School of Public Affairs in 1988.
Stacey Pogue, Senior Policy Analyst - Stacey Pogue joined the center in 2008. She focuses on health policy
issues. Before coming to the center, she did health policy and research
work with the Medicaid and CHIP Division of the Health and Human
Services Commission and the Texas Department of Insurance. In 2010 and
2011, she was selected to serve as a funded Consumer Representative to
the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Pogue earned
a Bachelor of Science in Geography, summa cum laude, from Texas A&M
University in 1997 and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School
of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin in 2005.
Cheasty Anderson, Texas Well and Healthy Outreach Coordinator and Educator - Cheasty Anderson joined the center in 2011. She focuses on health care
policy, community education, and outreach for Texas Well and Healthy. After spending several years working as
a teacher and an international adventure tour guide, Anderson earned a
master’s degree in Latin American History in 2007 at the University of
Texas at Austin (UT), and is currently pursuing a doctorate at UT on
Health Care Policy in Sandinista Nicaragua. Before working with the
center, she volunteered and consulted with the Worker’s Defense Project
and interned with Senator Judith Zaffirini during the 2011 Legislature.
Katharine Ligon, Policy Analyst - Katharine Ligon joined the center in 2012 with a focus on mental
health policy. Prior to joining the center she was a Hogg Foundation
Mental Health Policy Fellow with Mental Health America of Houston. Ligon
earned a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Advocacy,
Leadership, and Administration from the Graduate College of Social Work
at the University of Houston in 2010, and a Bachelor of Psychology in
2003. Prior to graduate school, Ligon interned with the Legislative
Study Group during the 2009 Legislature and worked at DePelchin
Children’s Center. She also spent nearly two years at Nuestras Pequenas
Rosas: Home for Abandoned and Abused Girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Intern: Marcus Denton, Masters of Public Affairs candidate at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Rachel Cooper, Senior Policy Analyst - Rachel joined the center in 2012 with a focus on food and nutrition programs as well as obesity. Before joining the center, she worked for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) where she was in charge of research and data analysis and authored reports such as the School Breakfast Scorecard, Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation, and State of the States. Rachel also worked for the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), in their New York office, where she focused on helping families gain access to programs that provide work supports, such as tax credits, Medicaid, SCHIP, and food stamps. Rachel received her Masters in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.
Jonathan Lewis, Policy Specialist - Jonathan Lewis joined the center in 2012. His work focuses on food assistance policy. Prior to joining the center he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University. His work there focused on the summer nutrition programs and strategies to increase statewide participation. Lewis also spent time in Kenya as a founding partner of a social enterprise which works with HIV+ support groups to provide supplemental income and business training. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Public Administration from Baylor University in 2009.
Intern: Jeanie Donovan, Masters of Public Affairs candidate at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs