About Us

By combining the power of compassion, essential resources, and unique opportunities, our mission is to transform the lives of underserved children and families impacted by gun violence and trauma.

We empower marginalized youth and families by fostering a supportive environment, promoting resilience, and providing comprehensive support systems.

Through our holistic approach, we aim to create pathways to hope and recovery, opening doors to new possibilities and fostering healing within underserved communities.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected, offering compassionate interventions, vital resources, and innovative opportunities for growth.

See What We're About

Our Recent Accomplishments

We implemented three mental health retreats that provided victim support for over 100 people affected by violence.

We implemented a curriculum that focuses on weekly support groups, coping, and conflict resolution. We give them tools and resources to help them with grief, healing, and access to licensed clinical therapists.

We hosted our Gun Violence Awareness walk to promote awareness and provide healing resources for the community.

We unveiled the ACE Project Community Memorial Peace Garden, a place for reflection, nurturing growth, and healing for those who have lost their loved ones to gun violence.

Our team

Executive Director

Rose Smith

Rose Smith is a mother, wife, entrepreneur, advocate, and visionary. She is a gun violence survivor, Every town Survivor fellow, Survivor membership lead of Louisville's Moms Demand Action Chapter, a Grief specialist, Board member of SHUGG Cancer foundation, Executive Director and founder of the ACE Project and self-proclaimed Queen of Peace.

After the tragic murder of her son, Rose birthed a new passion for social change. In honor of her son, Cory “Ace” Crowe, her spirit was led to establish the Ace Project, a safe place for youth and those impacted by gun-violence and trauma. The Ace Project offers a variety of services and supports to the community as it seeks to be a source of hope and healing for others. In the last two years, they have developed The Academy of Child Entrepreneurship, providing youth with the opportunity to learn invaluable business skills opening the door for future, legal, lasting legacies. The Ace Project continues to grow and develop as it learns and builds programming to fit the needs of the community it serves.

Rose is turning her pain into a powerful purpose. She is an advocate against gun violence. A voice of guidance for the youth in the community and a trusted ally for other mourning mothers. Her purpose is Peace. (People everywhere acting compassionately everyday). Rose has used her hurt to let others know there is hope and as a community, we can heal.

Board Chair and President

Shay McAlister

Shay McAlister is an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist and anchor at WHAS11 TV in Louisville, KY. Her steadfast and relentless approach to journalism led to a high-profile investigation featured in the NETFLIX documentary series "Tiger King" and a chart-topping true crime podcast called 'Bardstown'. But she is most proud of her work with the ACE Project.

In 2015, she met grieving mother Rose Smith, at her son’s vigil. Smith’s son had been murdered the year before and Shay was sent to cover the story. Shay and Rose kept in touch for years, as Smith started a non-profit in her son’s honor. In 2017, Rose told Shay about her dream to build a community center on the property where her son was killed. With help from WHAS11's parent company TEGNA, Shay and Rose officially opened the neighborhood center called 'The ACE Place' in May of 2019.

She was born in Dallas, TX, but moved often while growing up- living in Miami, FL, Munich, Germany, Breckinridge, CO and Columbia, MO before moving to Kentucky. Shay is a graduate of the University of Missouri and now lives in Louisville with her rescues- Juniper the dog and Monday the cat.

Vice Board Chair and President

Sara Colyer

Program Director

E’Lesha Toomer

E’Lesha Toomer is from Louisville Kentucky she is a wife and the mother of four boys. Fashion and design has always been her interest since a very early age. At the age of 24 she taught herself to sew when her mother purchased her a sewing machine and a dress form. She’s been practicing sewing and dressmaking ever since.

E’Lesha initially started out as a volunteer for the ACE Project in 2014, volunteering as a sewing instructor and wherever was needed. In 2022 she came on full-time as the program Director.

Board Member

Andrew Patterson

I grew up in Hartford, CT with a big extended family. Played football and basketball my whole life, and I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I went to Niagara University on a basketball scholarship and then transferred to Bellarmine to play basketball with my best friend. Graduated Bellarmine in 2010 with a degree in Business administration.

Started 2 businesses after college and sold them both to my business partners in 2018, when I got into banking. I’m now an Assistant Vice President at Fifth Third, I am a Financial Center Manager and will move into business banking this year.


KJ Abrams

Board Member

Kristal Smith

Kristal is a native of Louisville and proud graduate of JCPS schools and attended the University of Louisville receiving a BA in Political Science and BFA in Interior Architecture. She met Rose through Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America where they are both volunteer leaders for the survivor network. She is a wife and mother, lead interior designer for a top locally-owned construction company, former PTA president, and a strong advocate for survivors of domestic and gun violence. She enjoys camping with her husband & daughter, playing piano, and gardening when she’s not fighting for common sense gun laws!

Marita Crane

Board Member

Martin Lindsey

A product of a music performance family, Martin Lindsey looks for opportunities to synthesize his creative and career experiences at the convergence of engineering, 3D Printing, IT, and digital arts. He recognizes these artistic and technological intersections as the source of the greatest innovative opportunities

He is the Phounder and Creative Director of Phunky Pixel Media, an agency that helps clients tell their stories through technology and IT consulting as well as LinkedIn coaching.

As a global citizen, he sits on the advisory board of Ghana Code Club, a youth coding program in Accra, Ghana. In professional life he is the Technology Director at Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, a Catholic middle school in Louisville, Kentucky.

Martin is a graduate of DePaul University with an M.A. in Animation and Tuskegee University with a B.S. in MechanicalEngineering. His ongoing professional development includes a Front End coding certificate from Code Louisville and a Google IT Support Certification from Tech Louisville.

Community Partners

The ACE Project. Acting Compassionately Everyday