Constance Collins

Founder and Executive Director

Constance Collins, Esq., is President and Executive Director of the Sundari Foundation, Inc., a non-denominational 501c3 public charity, best known as the Lotus House Women’s Shelter, and its supporting foundations, Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc., Lotus Village Development, LLC, and Lotus Supporting Foundation, Inc. A lawyer and businesswoman prior to founding Lotus House, she has served as a full time volunteer for the Lotus family of charitable organizations since 2004, founding and overseeing the development, operations, programming, services, research and growth of the Lotus House and its all new, state of the art, comprehensive homeless services facility in Lotus Village, setting new standards on a national level with trauma informed, evidence based, best practices, and proven strategies to ending and preventing homelessness that put children first and respond sensitively to the gender specific needs of women.

Winner of the 2016 Non-Profit Innovation Award of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and 2018 Project of the Year Award of the Urban Land Institute Southeast Florida/Caribbean, Lotus Village is a life-changing prototype for the future, designed as a mixed-use “village” combining state of the art shelter facilities and holistic, trauma-informed, supportive services to heal, nurture and uplift children and families experiencing homelessness. With capacity to shelter over 500 women and children nightly, this trend-setter includes: solution focused individual needs assessments and social services supports, individual and group counseling, child and family therapy, and social services advocacy; a working classroom kitchen sized to deliver a half million meals a year; an urban garden nourishing body, mind and spirit; a healing hands salon to soothe and uplift; a computer library for adult education, after school programming and job readiness training and employment assistance; yoga, Reiki, meditation, dance and exercise classes; an art and activities lab offering alternative pathways to healing and creative expression; and welcoming play spaces for children throughout the village. Aptly named, Lotus Village, because it takes a village, this new facility is the first of its kind on a national level, the more so because it includes a trauma-informed, therapeutic children’s wellness center including six classrooms offering early child care and education for newborns to age three, with a therapeutic overlay of child-parent therapy, play therapy, parenting classes, resource coordination, and linkages to key community partners to strengthen and uplift children and families.  Enriched with a health clinic for women and children, Lotus Village is deeply embedded in and serving the neighborhood it calls home, preventing and bringing an end to homelessness with a full range of medical and dental services. So much more than a shelter, Lotus Village is a center for innovative, best practices, research and advocacy for public and social policies to raise awareness of the gender specific needs of women and youth experiencing homelessness and advance the health, wellbeing and school readiness of children experiencing homelessness, transforming trauma into a window of opportunity to strengthen children and families, and offers a platform for deeper community engagement, collaboration, shared learning and dialogue, on a local, state and national level.

Current Board Service: Miami Dade County Domestic Violence Oversight Board, since 2018; Miami Dade County Children’s Trust, Gubernatorial appointment, since 2018

Honors: 2018 Women of Impact Award, Women’s History Coalition of Miami Dade County, Inc.; 2018 Philanthropy Award, Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness; 2018 Girl Power Rocks Award, Girl Power, Miami; 2017 Spectrum Award, American Red Cross; 2016 Visionary Award, Miami Herald; 2016 Julia Tuttle Award by City of Miami Commission on the Status of Women; 2016 Salutation Honoring Women in Public Service by the City of Miami; 2015 Public Servant Award – South Florida Community Development Coalition; 2014 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award by United States Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; 2010 Woman of Vision Award by the Weitzman Institute; 2008 Local Hero Award by Bank of America; 2007 Honoree, Women Who Make a Difference by Junior League of Miami, Inc.; 2006 Commendation For Women Builders of Communities and Dreams, National Women’s History Month, by the City of Miami and Miami Commission on the Status of Women.

Lotus House/Lotus Village Awards: Four Stars, Charity Navigator; Platinum Status, Guide Star; 2018 Project of the Year, South Florida and Caribbean Urban Land Institute; 2018 Structures Award for Community Impact, South Florida Business Journal; 2017 Housing for Everyone Award, TD Charitable Foundation; 2016 Innovations Award for development of trauma informed, therapeutic childcare center embedded in Lotus Village, The Children’s Trust; 2016 Non-Profit Innovation Award of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; 2014 Housing for Everyone Award, TD Charitable Foundation; “Best Charity” by New Times 2013; 2013 Community Spirit Award from the Commission on Women; 2012 Outstanding Service Excellence Award from the American Society for Public Administration – South Florida Chapter; 2012 Zeta Phi Beta Community Achievement Award; Neighborhood Builder Award of the 2011 Neighborhood Excellence Initiative of Bank of America; Leave a Legacy 2010 Donor Next Door award presented by the Health Foundation of South Florida; 2010 Unity Award by Theodore R. Gibson Memorial Fund; 2010 Health Care Hero Award by Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; “Best of Miami Shelter” by New Times, 2010; and 2005 and 2006 Networking Deal of the Year for Sundari Foundation, by Miami CREW, for Lotus House, and numerous proclamations of Miami Dade County and City of Miami Commission recognizing the important work of Lotus House.

Learn more at www.lotushouse.org and www.lotusendowment.org

Contact her at 305.613.1573 or constance@lotushouse.org

 

 

Isabella Dell'Oca

Deputy Director, Programs

Beatrice Gonzalez

Community Outreach Director

Yaisy Catalan

Chief Financial Officer

Rai Johnson

Wellness Director

Stephanie Padro

Director of Families Program

Shana Cox

Program Director of Children's Services

Margo Hannah

Programming Director

Marta Vega

Grants Director

Betty Forcer

Culinary Director

Dr. Jessica Blanco

Deputy Director-Licensing, Compliance & Continuous Improvement

Donna MacDonald

Program Development Director

Etta Akoni

Associate General Counsel

Laura Klinefelter

Director of Intake and Victim Services

Gabrielle Contreras 

Director of Singles & Youth Program 

Katy Roth

Operations Director

Nichole Burke

Employment and Education Director 

Ligia Sosa

Program Director Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique

Mark Scharnitz

Education Culinary Director