Mission Statement

The mission of the Ahmad Butler Foundation (ABF) is to support the needs of Children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, while aiding in the improvement of their quality of life.

Latanya Morrison

Founder, Executive Director & Grandmother of a Superhero

Latanya Morrison has had several careers in her lifetime, but none have been as meaningful as her position as Executive Director of Forever Captain Poodaman! The Ahmad Butler Foundation.

Latanya vividly remembers rushing her grandson and ABF’s namesake, Ahmad “Captain Poodaman” Butler, to the hospital and thinking he might not make the car ride, as he was visibly losing his battle with cancer. Ahmad told his grandmother he was going to be a police officer when he grew up, and then asked her, with blood trickling down his nose, “Will I be a good one? And will I help a lot of people?” Although Latanya knew he would never reach adulthood, she told, “Yes, of course.” At that point, ABF went from a thought, to a promise, to her life’s purpose! Latanya founded ABF in January 2020 to support children battling life-threatening childhood diseases. She believes in the GOOD WORK of this Foundation as much as she believes in Ahmad and the AMAZING Superhero Kids we serve!

Get to Know Our Board Members

The Ahmad Butler Foundation’s Board of Directors is made up of people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Read on to learn more about the board members and why they decided to take on this critical role with ABF.

Keith Morrison

Outside Director

Keith Morrison is a licensed Realtor in Pennsylvania. He finds it a rewarding profession as it allows him to meet and help families from all walks of life find their dream homes. He is the proud father of three beautiful adult children whom he can’t live without and the grandfather of four amazing kids, Ahmad Butler being one of them. Keith credits these seven humans and his much better half Latanya for continuously striving to be the best version of himself. Keith is also a cancer survivor!

Why ABF? When Ahmad was diagnosed with cancer, he came to live with Keith and Latanya. Keith had the pleasure of providing tender love and care for his precious grandson. That inspired Keith to help launch and play a key role in the foundation based on a few guiding beliefs. First, when families are faced with this terrible news, they have no clue what’s to come. His family had wonderful strangers help them in ways they could not have imagined and wants to give back. Second, when someone dies and you stop talking about them, Keith believes they die twice, and the foundation helps keep his main man’s name alive. Third, after going through his own battle with cancer, he realized how depressing, painful, and scary it is and wants to provide comfort to these children in need.

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 103

Email: kmorrison@ahmadbutler.org

Gina Spezialetti Conallen

Inside Director

Gina is an Assistant Principal at Anne Frank Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia.  She has been a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia for 20 years and is the mother of two boys.

Why ABF? Gina met Ahmad Butler in 2014 when he was a student in her kindergarten class. His smile and infectious spirit touched her heart, so she jumped at the chance to join an organization to help other superhero kids!

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 101

Email: gconallen@ahmadbutler.org

 

Kristin Tenney

Kristin Tenney has been teaching for 19 years and currently serves as a third-grade literacy teacher in Philadelphia. Originally from Long Island, Kristin taught in New York City and Florida, where she was named Teacher of the Year at Minneola Elementary School in 2010. After that, she moved to her husband’s native Pennsylvania. In her free time, Kristin enjoys reading and looking for ways to improve her teaching craft.

Why ABF? In 2010, Kristin had a student diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, an absolutely heartbreaking and scary experience to witness. That student quickly became her Why, forever and always. Ava Mason fought for more than a decade and recently lost her battle with cancer. Kristin has raised money through fundraisers for Alex’s Lemonade Stand and donated to countless other organizations dedicating to fighting various types of childhood cancer. Joining the Ahmad Butler Foundation brings her joy in that she can help children with cancer learn from their hospital bed in hopes of someday going back to the classroom.

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 115
Email: ktenney@ahmadbutler.org

Marlena Benson

Marlena Benson was a school counselor for the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) before recently retiring. In her spare time she likes to travel and has visited every continent. In addition to volunteering, she volunteers at her church and with SDP.  She is an avid animal lover and refers to herself as Mrs. Dr. Dolittle. Marlena lives by the philosophy that keeping busy will keep her from growing too old!

Why ABF? Marlena chose to become a volunteer for ABF because children fighting cancer deserve all the support possible. Putting a smile on their face or making them laugh is worth the effort, and that’s what ABF does. She also believes that Latanya and Keith Morrison experiencing the loss of their grandson from cancer allows them to offer deeper empathy to the parents of these children during their most difficult moments. There is no greater support!

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 112
Email: mbenson@ahmadbutler.org

Giovanna Bailey

Director of Events and Fundraisers

Giovanna Bailey serves as a Senior Specialist on the Specimen Lifecyle Management team that supports global clinical trial operations for pharmaceutical company Merck. She provided microbial test support for all pharmaceutical peptide, biological, and vaccine pipeline products, from early development through commercialization, and contributed to COVID-19 vaccine development. Giovanna previously served as a safety officer in Merck’s Analytical Sciences department and has also been a member of the company’s Culture Team and a SHINE mentor. Outside of work, Giovanna enjoys volunteering with various organizations, traveling, mentoring, dancing, and spending time with family, friends and her three dogs Bentley, Felice, and Reina.

Why ABF? Giovanna decided to join the Board of Directors for the Ahmad Butler Foundation because she is passionate about making a difference in children’s lives. Giovanna was inspired by how the ABF family uplifts children with debilitating diseases and wanted to support those critical efforts. She loves how ABF creates a safe space for children to celebrate themselves and be true superheroes.

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 106
Email: gbailey@ahmadbutler.org 

Regina Banks

Regina Banks has spent the past 20 years working for Philadelphia insurance brokerage and consultancy ECBM, where she is currently Manager of Operations. Her responsibilities include educating employees on various systems, company procedures, and compliance. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family and friends who inspire and encourage her daily to be the best she can be. Regina uses her positive attitude and energy to encourage others to work tirelessly toward success, both in the workplace and in her personal life. Regina loves quotes and one of her favorites comes from Iyanla Vanzant: “Stay in peace, not in pieces.” She also enjoys cheering for her beloved Philadelphia Eagles.

Why ABF? Regina first got involved with ABF during the Pooday 2021 Silly Hat Virtual Pizza Party. She started donating to the foundation after that and was honored to be asked to join the Board of Directors. She loves to bring joy and comfort to children — superheroes, really — with childhood cancer. After witnessing the tireless work of the ABF Team, she wants to continue supporting the needs of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases while aiding in the improvement of their quality of life.

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 105

Email: rbanks@ahmadbutler.org

Michael Tenney

Michael Tenney was born and raised in Pennsylvania and has worked in the food and beverage industry for the last 20 years. He spent 12 years working for Chick-fil-A and has been with Aramark for seven years, currently serving as the General Manager for Aramark at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. In his free time, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife, participating in Bible study with his men’s group, watching sports with his in-laws, playing golf, and going to Phillies games. Michael and his wife reside in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Why ABF? In 2010, Michael’s wife Kristin had a student diagnosed with childhood cancer. The couple started to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help raise awareness for childhood cancer. Michael later met Latanya at an event he and his wife hosted for the Ahmad Butler Foundation. After speaking to her and seeing all the good works that the foundation was doing, he wanted to help in any way he could and welcomed the opportunity to join the board.

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 114
Email: mtenney@ahmadbutler.org

Ramona Butler

Ramona Butler is a licensed practical nurse (LPN), a wife, and the PROUD grandmother of Ahmad “Captain Poodaman” Butler. Ramona knew from a young age caring for others was her destiny, and she started nursing school at age 51, determined not to let any obstacles stand in the way of achieving her dream. She believes her life experiences and kind heart make her an exceptional nurse.

Nothing makes Ramona prouder than being a grandmother to 16 wonderful kids, and a great-grandmother to 14. She mourns the loss of her grandson Ahmad Butler, the son of her youngest son, Duane Butler Jr., and daughter-in-love Cierra Butler. Ramona’s mother passed away just 10 days after Ahmad. This double loss devastated Ramona but she attributes her faith in God and the comfort of knowing her grandson and mother are now together for getting her through such a difficult time.

When Ramona is not taking care of others, she enjoys adventures like skydiving, parasailing, amusement park rides, and traveling. She finds peace in prayer, riding horses, reading books, painting, playing cards with her grandkids, and volunteering.

Why ABF? Ramona’s WHY is obvious on the face. But most don’t know she is also a cancer survivor, which gives her great empathy for the Superhero Kids ABF serves. Ramona loves to teach and learn, and she appreciates being instrumental in keeping the memory of ABF’s namesake alive by supporting others in similar situations. In life you must give back and you must give forward; inspiration is everywhere. Ramona puts God first in everything she does. She believes in HOPE and she believes in the goodness of The Ahmad Butler Foundation!

Phone: (866) 223-5485 ext. 100
Email: rbutler@ahmadbutler.org

Message From the Board of Directors

We understand how devastating it is to have a child diagnosed with cancer, how it severely impacts the entire family, and the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness it leaves in its wake. It is our mission to fight alongside these brave children. It is our purpose to hold up the leaders of these children’s families by providing direction, aid, and the tools to help them endure this incredible challenge. It is our PROMISE that you will never sit alone, you will never stand alone, and, most of all, you will never fight alone! We are committed to staying by your side.