The passion behind the Foundation Trust stems from the inter-generational determination of the Founder and Trustees’ families to successfully advance the education opportunities, well-being and societal contributions of their family lines.
Our story begins with their immigration to the United States in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and progression from poor but proud and hard-working laborers and tradespeople determined to provide for their families to accomplished and contributing members of society, including military personnel, government officials, doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers and social service providers.
From this vantage point of overcoming life hardship, it is our desire to foster and promote successful individual, familial and communal well-being and advancement for those contending with significant trauma or adversity.
DANTE DIESO (1918-2017)
The Founder of the Foundation Trust, Dante Dieso, was born to Italian immigrant parents in Revere Massachusetts. As a young man, Dante completed Air Corps Technical School as a member of the Academy of Aeronautics. He served three years in the United States Air Force including two years stationed in the Southwest Pacific.
Upon returning stateside, Dante attended the College of Business Administration at Boston University. Mr. Dieso was subsequently employed with the United States Treasury Department for over 20 years. There he served as a project chief, advisor and supervisor. Dante Dieso received a Special Service Award from the Department of Treasury in 1968, and was a lifelong member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Dante Dieso died on July 23, 2017. He was 99 years old.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: JOSEPH SPINAZZOLA, PH.D.
Dr. Joseph Spinazzola is an internationally-recognized expert in the area of traumatic stress. Dr. Spinazzola is the managing director of the Complex Trauma Training and Treatment Network, senior clinician at the Complex Trauma Treatment Center Boston, and co-director of the Complex Trauma Treatment Affiliates. He is an adjunct professor at Richmont Graduate University, principal investigator of the Developmental Trauma Disorder Field Trials, and a member of the Forensic Panel.
Dr. Spinazzola received a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. He is an accomplished researcher, scholar, practicing psychotherapist, international trainer, and organizational consultant who specializes in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of complex traumatic stress in children and adults; trauma-informed care and systems transformation; treatment model development and evaluation; and youth violence prevention. Dr. Spinazzola is the author of over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and book chapters, as well as numerous treatment manuals, webinars, diagnostic instruments, expert treatment guidelines, and consumer resources for youth, adults, and loved ones impacted by complex trauma.
Dr. Spinazzola has over three decades of nonprofit management experience across the social services care continuum, including extensive command of nonprofit grant development, procurement, and administration. He has served as principal investigator, director, or project manager for over two dozen federal, state, and foundation grants. As past vice president of a large New England-based social service agency, Dr. Spinazzola transformed a prestigious but financially vulnerable flagship program into a thriving multi-site, multi-program division with a thirty-fold increase in fiscal reserves. Dr. Spinazzola brings this abundance of experience to bear on his leadership of the Foundation Trust, where he oversees philanthropic grantmaking, training and outreach, and creation of new programs and initiatives in partnership with local nonprofits.
MANAGING DIRECTOR: JANELLE JOHNSON, PH.D.
Dr. Janelle Johnson received her doctoral degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and her undergraduate degree from Brown University. Dr. Johnson has over a decade of research experience in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a fatal, muscle- wasting disease affecting young boys. Her research aimed at identifying novel therapeutic strategies to treat the disease, and she has published over fifteen peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, protocols, and book chapters related to muscle biology and muscular dystrophy. Dr. Johnson has procured grant funding from federal, private, and nonprofit organizations towards her research, and has instructed and mentored dozens of future physicians and scientists in the classroom and in the laboratory. As Managing Director, she extends her humanitarian efforts to advancing the mission of the Foundation Trust.
MANAGER: LAUREN LIECAU
Lauren Liecau joined the Foundation Trust in 2019, bringing over a decade of communications and program experience with local, national, and international nonprofit organizations. Lauren received her Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and her undergraduate degree from Colorado College. As Manager at the Foundation Trust, she draws upon her diverse experience as she spreads the word about the Foundation Trust’s work and grant opportunities, and works closely with community partners.