ProsperityME Leadership Team:
Claude Rwaganje, Founder & Executive Director
Claude Rwaganje is the Founder and Executive Director of ProsperityME. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Claude learned through his own immigration experience that financial stability is essential to building a new life in the United States. It was his vision to create a non-profit organization where New Mainers can go for free financial education and support.
In addition to his leadership responsibilities at ProsperityME, Claude currently serves on the board of the Portland Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Community Foundation, United Way of Southern Maine, the InterCultural Community Center and was elected to the Westbrook City Council, serving as a city councilor At-Large since 2019. He was previously appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Development Advisory Council in the Spring of 2017 for a three-year term. Previously, he served a three-year term as a member of Portland’s Community Development Block Grant Committee.
Claude has received numerous awards for his service to the community, including Bowdoin College’s Spirit of Service Award (2012), Bates College Harward Center’s Community Partner Award for Outstanding New Initiative (2013), Portland Press Herald’s “10 Mainers to be Thankful For” (2012) and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce award for Public Sector Leadership (2017). Claude holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and is a certified coach and housing counselor through NeighborWorks America.
Ellen returned to Maine after living in Utah for nearly 8 years. Ellen has a B.S. in Biology from University of Southern Maine, and M.B.A. from Western Governors University. She is a HUD certified housing counselor, and former executive director of Fair Credit Foundation.
As the Executive Director of the Fair Credit Foundation, Ellen spearheaded the launch of the Bank On Salt Lake coalition to increase access to safe and affordable financial products to unbanked and underbanked. She helped to design a first-of-its kind medical debt legal advocacy project, as well as an innovative program that gives low-income people the opportunity to improve their credit and financial wellbeing by refinancing up to $3,000 in payday loans. She served on the Board of Directors for FutureINDesign and American United Credit Union Foundation.
Ellen lives in Portland now with her husband, daughter, dog, and cat. She loves running, hiking, and being outdoors.
Thomas "Tuck" Barclay, Development Director
Tuck brings 30 years of fundraising experience to our team. Most recently, he served as Resource Development Director for the United Way of York County, Kennebunk, Maine, as the Director of Philanthropy for the Massachusetts Trust for Public Land, and as a Senior Resource Development Director for ACCION International.
Tuck has volunteered as a proposal reviewer for Maine Initiatives, served on committees for the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Northern New England Chapter, and on the board of the Rebecca Pomroy Foundation. He holds a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from Lake Forest College and a MPA degree in Public Administration from Northeastern University.
Tuck has dedicated his career to raising funds to support the missions of nonprofit organizations that provide life-changing services and opportunities for individuals and families. He and his wife, Lucy moved to Maine in 2016.
Joanna Caouette, Director of Programs
Joanna moved to Maine from Burundi in 2015. She first worked for a Portland health clinic as a Community Health Outreach Worker, helping underserved and at-risk patients access vital health care and social services. In this role, she was able to apply the financial literacy skills she learned when she took ProsperityME’s Basic Money Management class. In fact, she was so inspired by the impact her newfound financial knowledge had on her life and the lives of those she served that she decided to join ProsperityME as an instructor in 2016. Since then, she has helped countless New Mainers gain their financial footing.
Prior to coming to Maine, Joanna held the position of Knowledge Management and Communication Officer for Global Health Corps at Care International in Burundi. She holds a B.A. in Communication Sciences from Lumiere University of Bujumbura, Burundi. Joanna speaks Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, French, English and Swahili.
Dieudonne Nzeyimana, Director of Housing
Dieudonne has over 20-year experience in business and project management both in the private and public/nonprofit sectors. His latest roles included Operations Director of the Rwandan chapter of Population Services International, a US-based global health nonprofit. He also worked as a Project Management Consultant for Sybrin Ltd, a South African IT company specializing in banking/financial software development. He serves as a Board member for MANA (Maine Association for New Americans). Dieudonne completed his MBA studies with focus on Project Management, in addition to a first degree as a Statistical Works Engineer. (Translated from French – “Ingenieur des Travaux Statistiques.”)
Dieudonne is a former ProsperityME classroom student, completing Basic Money Management and Saving to Build Wealth. He volunteered for the Immigrant Welcome Center, the Manufacturers Association of Maine and the DHHS Office of Family Independence.
Dieudonne came to Maine in 2017 from Rwanda with two daughters. For more than 10 years, Dieudonne has been a part-time certified instructor of Transcendental Meditation, a scientifically validated technique for stress management and personal development that is taught worldwide.