Newsmakers for March 2002

Print More


After almost 30 years in operation, the Center for Community Change (CCC) has decided to plunge into the media game. The center hired Leila McDowell, former communications director at the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, as its first communications director. For a first-time hire in the public and media relations field, it doesn’t get much better than McDowell. Before directing the Eisenhower communications office, she co-founded McKinney and McDowell, touted as the first firm dedicated to social change that was owned by a black woman.

McDowell says the center’s interest in a larger media presence stems from an increasingly marginalized voice of the poor in public dialogue. McDowell will lead CCC’s effort to conduct training sessions for the hundreds of grass-roots groups in the center’s informal partnership. Also on the CCC’s public relations horizon: a report on predatory lending and a campaign to reform the HUD HOPE VI program, which is designed to improve public housing. The program has been used more for displacement than replacement, McDowell says, despite its authors’ intentions. Contact: CCC (202) 342-0567,

One voice that won’t have to worry about being heard on poverty issues is Ron Haskins. Now a welfare expert for the Brookings Institution and senior consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Haskins will join the White House as a part-time senior adviser for welfare policy. Haskins, who will stay on as an unpaid scholar at Brookings, joins the administration as it prepares for the reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform law he helped to craft as staff director to the House Ways and Means human resources subcommittee. Contact: Brookings (202) 797-6000,

Ellen Miller, former director of Arlington, Va.-based Youth Ventures (YV), has moved to The American Prospect as a senior fellow after three years with the four-staff-member, $85,000-budget entrepreneurship promoter. Filling her role is Leigh Seligman, who was a consultant in D.C. and Atlanta before becoming deputy director at YV two years ago. Contact: Youth Venture (703) 527-4126,

Replacing the resigned Richard Ungerer – at least for the time being – as I Have A Dream Foundation’s national president is Kara Forte. A former Teach for America corps member and recruiter, Forte worked as program coordinator for the Institute for Student Achievement in Brooklyn from 1996 to 1998. Forte is executive director of the New York branch of the foundation, which has 100 active groups of Dreamers in 26 other states. Founded in 1981, time truly does march on: The first group of Dreamers tapped by founder Eugene Lang are now 33 years old. Contact: (212) 293-5480,

Leaving the D.C.-based National Network for Youth (NNY) is Jo Mestelle, a program director for community youth development and HIV prevention. Mestelle is doing independent consulting with community-based organizations as well as D.C.-area training workshops. Mestelle is also developing a training manual on youth and adult partnerships. Program Director Rebecca Lane also
left to pursue independent consulting opportunites. Added as a program director is Phoranee Yantarakitkosol, who has been overseeing an HIV program since December. Contact: NNY (202) 783-7949,


The Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation announced Carl Schramm will be its new CEO. Schramm, who will replace the retiring Lou Smith in April, comes to the foundation with a bulky resume in health policy. As president of health-care company Fortis Health, a $1.5 billion enterprise based in Milwaukee, Schramm developed a transition system to help youths adapt to college life. He founded Baltimore-based Greenspring Advisors in 1996. Contact: (816) 932-1000,

The California Wellness Foundation named six-year board member Luz Vega Marquis the new board chairwoman. Marquis was president of the San Francisco-based Community Technology Foundation of California, giving more than $5 million a year in grants to technologically underserved communities. She left in November after three years to become president of the newly funded Casey Family Grants Program in Seattle. Contact: TCWF (818) 593-6600,

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago named author and Harvard professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot as board chairwoman last month. Lawrence-Lightfoot, a 1984 MacArthur Fellow, has been on the board since 1991. Contact: (312) 726-8000,

New York City-based Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds (WRDF) named Nancy Divine director of communities programs. Divine came to WRDF from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, where she was senior vice president of nonprofit investment. Divine also served former New York Mayor David Dinkins as director of housing coordination. Contact: (212) 251-9700,

David Bergholz, executive director of the George Gund Foundation, will retire in January 2003 after 14 years. Bergholz plans to pursue photography and gardening while he ponders future moves. Contact: (216) 241-3114,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Jeffrey Koplan surprised everyone but himself when he announced that he will resign next month. Koplan directed the Atlanta-based, 7,000-staff agency for three and a half of his 26 years there, widely expanding its range of focus from infectious diseases to almost every aspect of public health. Contact: (404) 639-3286,

After losing a number of its top directors over the past year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has plugged at least two holes in the brain drain. Glen Hanson, known for his research on Ecstasy and amphetamines, succeeds Alan Leshner as acting director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Taking over for the retired Enoch Gordis as director of the National Institute of Alcoholism and Abuse is Raynard Kingston. Kingston will leave another NIH job open: he has been the director of behavioral and social science research for the past two years. Contact: (301) 496-4000,

Lorraine Hale, the 75-year-old former director of New York City’s Hale House, was arrested with husband Jesse DeVore last month. The two were indicted on 70 counts (primarily involving diversion of funds) at the home for children of addicted or imprisoned mothers, founded by Hale’s mother, Clara.

Under Hale, the home had spent $20 million in contributions between 1992 and 2001, even though the facility at times cared for only six kids and has capacity for 13. Alleged misdeeds – such as Hale’s claim to have donated art (overvalued at $210,000 by a nonexistent appraiser) to cover part a $478,092 Hale House loan to a DeVore theater production – coupled with never-run programs and a nonexistent board, helped New York Daily News reporters Heidi Evans and Dave Saltonstall beat the overextended city charities bureau (six accountants to watch 40,000-plus charities) in uncovering the goings-on at the famous nonprofit.

A new board of directors, chaired by former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter, was appointed by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to restore the home’s credibility as he prepared for both civil and criminal trials against Hale and DeVore. Also on the new board: James Johnson, undersecretary of the Treasury for President Bill Clinton; Community Preservation Corporation CEO Michael Lappin; and Elsie Crum McCabe, who served as chief of staff for former New York Mayor Dinkins (who decided to stop contracting with Hale House in 1990).

Margery Landry, a former State Department Office of Children’s Issues employee, is being held without bail while awaiting trial (probably this summer) for conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. Landry is charged with the attempted murder of Maryland-based film producer Arlen Slobodow, the husband of her best friend, Elsa Newman. Slobodow was shot in his home at 4 a.m. while he slept with his 5-year-old son. Prosecutors theorize that Newman (who has also been indicted and held without bail) had Landry try to kill Slobodow and plant child pornography in his home, then planned to flee the country with her two children and their father’s killer.

Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine students who integrated Central High School in 1957, faces sentencing in April for failure to report and pay income taxes. Green, a Washington businessman and an assistant secretary for employment and training at the Department of Labor under President Jimmy Carter, pled guilty to the charges in order to avoid jail time and fines in return for his cooperation in the federal investigation of former President Clinton’s campaign practices.

John J. Geoghan, a defrocked Boston priest who’s been accused of molesting more than 130 boys, was sentenced last month to nine to 10 years for fondling a 10-year-old at a Boys & Girls Club pool. It was the first of several trials planned for Geoghan, who also faces more than 80 civil suits in a scandal that is buffeting the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Boston.


Joshua Miner, 81, founder of Outward Bound USA. Miner was a decorated World War II captain who met Outward Bound originator Kurt Hahn while teaching in Scotland. Miner took the concept – using experiences in the wild to emphasize both self-reliance and teamwork – to 80 youths in Colorado in 1961. Forty years later, 500,000 youth have participated in the program’s five wilderness schools and two urban centers. Many received some of the $1.4 million that Outward Bound gave away in scholarships.

John Slade, 52, a program director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Innovators Combating Substance Abuse national programs, who led the charge to regulate the tobacco industry. Troubled by the tobacco billboards that lined his way to work, Slade became an expert on the production of tobacco products. When President Clinton ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to restrict advertising and marketing of cigarettes to teenagers, Slade called the policy change announcement “the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me … outside of the day that I married my wife.”

John Gardner, 89, founder of the Common Cause lobbying group and secretary of health, education and welfare for three years under President Lyndon Johnson. As secretary, Gardner established. After running the Urban Coalition, a national group launched after the 1967 summer riots to advocate for civil rights, he founded Common Cause. Common Cause, devoted to good government and campaign finance reform, is now a 200,000-member organization with a $10 million budget. Gardner left the group in 1997 to co-found the Independent Sector. Contact: Independent Sector (202) 467-6100,

Claude Brown, author of one of the most poignant literary depictions of alienated African-American youth. Brown’s 1965 bestseller, “Manchild in the Promised Land,” told the story of a child growing up in the midst of crime, drugs and violence in a tenement in 1950s Harlem. In the autobiographical novel, Brown is abused by his parents, expelled from school, admitted to a gang and shot.

In real life, Brown was sent at age 11 to the Wiltwyck School for deprived and emotionally disturbed boys in Ulster County, N.Y. He dedicated “Manchild” to the school, say it “is still finding Claude Browns.” (The school has since closed.) “Manchild” has sold more than 4 million copies.