Board of Directors

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Xavier DeGroat

CEO and Founder

Xavier DeGroat is an autism advocate that is very involved in networking to educate society on the needs of people with autism. Xavier was diagnosed with autism at the age of four years old, and has since faced many obstacles in reaching his potential.


Overcoming these obstacles motivated him to help others with autism - and their families - reach their full potential economically, socially, and politically. He is passionate about eradicating injustices and poverty against those with autism through humanitarian work. He founded the Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation at the beginning of 2018, and has many plans to educate and serve those with autism that struggle in today’s society.

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Vice Chairman

Kellie Dean

Kellie Dean is the President & CEO of Dean Transportation and a very involved member of the Lansing community. Dean Transportation specializes in school district transportation and is one of the largest privately held transportation companies in the country, which is known for pioneering transportation with special accessibility features.


Mr. Dean met Xavier in 2015 while he was a sponsor for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act Midwest Regional celebration rally in Chicago. For this event, Mr. Dean provided transportation to a group of individuals that wanted to attend the anniversary. Since then, Xavier and Kellie have become close friends and have partnered together in many community events.

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Charles Moore

Charles Moore is the founder and managing partner of C.L. Moore & Associates, the only minority-owned certified public accounting firm in Lansing, MI. Mr. Moore has been an active member of the Lansing community for many years and continues to support local organizations.


Charles Moore and Xavier met in 2013 while Xavier was looking for ways to get help from the NAACP branch of Lansing, which is located in the same building as C.L. Moore & Associates. Charles Moore and Xavier have since found many common interests and have worked together with mutual friends in the Lansing community.

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David Gregory

David Gregory is a lobbyist for the Lansing-based firm, Kelley Cawthorne. David was very supportive of raising awareness for Michigan's Autism Insurance Reform legislation, which took effect in 2012.


Mr. Gregory first met Xavier at the MI State Capitol in 2015 at a Michigan House of Representatives hearing. Two years later, David helped Xavier take his passion for autism advocacy to the next level by filing the legal documentation needed to set up the Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation. He has since worked very closely with Xavier to expand the scope of the foundation and to find the necessary resources to accomplish its mission. 

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Board Member

Rick Popp

Rick Popp is a retired senior executive in Human Resources with the Ford Motor Company, the former Chair the Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees, and now operates a leadership consulting company ( For several years, Rick has been an active supporter of the various aspects of Xavier’s work, including hiring programs for people with autism, educational programs, speaking engagements, event planning, and fundraising.

 Xavier has considered Rick an inspiration for hiring innovations and advocacy since the two met in 2014. Rick has been helping Xavier reach his potential, mentoring Xavier as he leads the XDAF to bring more awareness of autism and help to those with autism through various organizations, people, and events.