Newsmakers for June 2003

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A potential merger is in the works between Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL) and Idealist, a division of the New York-based Action Without Borders.

While details have not been hammered out – Boston-based COOL Director Ariane Hoy thinks the deal will be formally announced this summer – the collaboration makes a lot of sense. COOL, whose board is headed by Jumpstart for Young Children Vice President Robert Giannino, has been working to promote service opportunities on campuses nationwide since 1984. Idealist has built a reputation as the foremost online search engine for people seeking job or volunteer opportunities with nonprofits. Idealist probably will also help the technologically archaic COOL improve its office infrastructure.

Citing the lack of teamwork between most campus career and community service offices, Hoy sees “a chance to join forces and offer campuses something more exciting.” The COOL staff has been working primarily with Dan Kessler, who heads a campus program for Idealist that has produced about 50 nonprofit career fairs. Contact: COOL (617) 695-2665,; Idealist (212) 843-3973,


Sherry Allen has been named executive director of the Washington-based National Network for Youth, replacing interim Director Vicky Wagner, who will return to Seattle to run her network affiliate, Youth Care. Allen will split time this year between the network’s D.C. office and the Bonita Springs, Fla., office at the Southeastern Network of Youth and Family Services, for which she will continue to serve as executive director.

The Southeastern Network is a separate entity, but has a dual-membership arrangement with the National Network.

In Allen’s absence, Director of Programs Gretchen Noll will oversee the D.C. office. Consultant Kimberly Barnes-O’Connor was brought on board as public policy director last month. Barnes-O’Connor replaces Bob Reeg, who was cut loose in January.

Contact: National Network for Youth (202) 783-7949,; Southeastern Network (239) 949-4414,


The YWCA shook things up when it announced that Patricia Ireland, former head of the feminist National Organization for Women (NOW), will be its new CEO. The hire drew frowns from some conservative pundits, who wonder why a feminist who favors abortion was hired to lead one of the largest Christian organizations in the country. (Ireland told talk show host Bill O’Reilly that she “came from a Christian faith”). But Ireland is adept in the ways of public policy, and the organization has moved its headquarters from New York to Washington for that exact purpose.

Ireland replaces former CEO Margaret Tyndall, who left in June 2002. The YWCA has 300 affiliates and 2 million members. Contact: (202) 467-0801,


“Out with the old, in with the new” seems an appropriate quip to describe the staff situation at the D.C.-based Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). The organization is losing three veteran policy staffers, while bringing in new management to help run the staff of 165 and CDF’s annual budget of $18 million.

Longtime staffers Helen Blank and Mary Bourdette were let go. Blank is a 24-year veteran of CDF and perhaps the most widely respected expert on child care programs and policy in the nation. Bourdette had left CDF in 1993 after eight years to become director of public policy at the Child Welfare League of America. After serving as deputy assistant secretary for legislation for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala (a former CDF board member and current president of the University of Miami-Florida), Bourdette returned to CDF as director of intergovernmental relations in 2000.

Deborah Weinstein, who served as director of CDF’s family income division for nine years, left at the end of May. Weinstein was hired as executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, a network of 200 nonprofit advocates for low-income families. She succeeds Stuart Campbell, who directed the coalition for the past seven years.

Few would comment, even off the record, on the upheaval at CDF. One exception was ex-Marine Ron Haskins, a former GOP senior staffer on Capitol Hill who dueled frequently with Blank and Bourdette. He called the loss of the “extremely effective” staffers “a tremendous loss to CDF.” Haskins is a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution and a senior consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

CDF spokesman Toby Chaudhuri balanced news of these departures with the announcements of new leadership under founder and President Marian Wright Edelman. Chief among them is Jim Jones, the former head of the Washington office of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Vaccine Fund, as the new vice president of programs and policy. Promoted to vice president for field operations and outreach was Donna Lawrence, CDF’s former New York director. Contact: CDF (202) 628-8787,; Coalition on Human Needs (202) 223-2532,


In as executive director at BELL-New York is Jyll Taylor, former president of JY Enterprises, a New York nonprofit consulting firm. The mission of the 10-year-old BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) is to improve the lives of poor elementary school children through tutoring, mentoring and parent empowerment. The nonprofit is overseen nationally by CEO Earl Phelan from its Boston headquarters and recently received a $1.2 million grant from the New York-based Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. Contact: BELL-New York (212) 283-9980,


The Baltimore-based International Youth Foundation (IYF), a youth development organization with sites in 50 countries, named Charles “Chic” Dambach to be vice president for new business development. Dambach comes to IYF from nonprofit board resource provider BoardSource in Washington, where he was a senior consultant for two years. The mandate for his newly created position is simple: Figure out a way to get multiyear grants, or contracts, for an international policy advocate at a time when money is tight. (Only 56 percent of nonprofits reached their fund-raising goals in 2002, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals.) Contact: (410) 951-2324,


Taking over the education initiatives at the Somerville, Mass.-based YouthBuild USA is Sangeeta Tyagi. Tyagi comes to YouthBuild from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights advocate for which she served as chief operating officer. She replaces Monte Perez, who leaves as education director after six years. Contact: (617) 623-9900,


James Canales will replace Mary Bitterman as CEO of the San Francisco-based James Irvine Foundation (assets: $1.3 billion). Bitterman resigned after the San Jose Mercury News ( ran an exposé in April on the financial indiscretions of Bitterman’s predecessor, Dennis Collins. Canales has been at the 66-year-old California grant-maker for 10 years, most recently serving as Bitterman’s vice president and corporate secretary. Contact: (415) 777-2244,


The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care is officially up and running. The commission, funded by the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts (assets: $3.75 billion) and housed at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute in Washington, used the May 7 launch to officially name the commission’s chairs and members. Former U.S. Reps. Bill Frenzel (R-Minn., now guest scholar at the Brookings Institution) and William Gray (D-Pa., now president of the United Negro College Fund) will serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

Among the members: William Bell, commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services; Helen Jones-Kelly, executive director of Montgomery County Children Services in Ohio; and Gary Stangler, executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative in St. Louis, Mo.

Also unveiled was a Pew survey of 812 voters nationwide. According to the study, 53 percent of Americans feel that the foster care system needs a “complete overhaul” or “quite a few changes and improvements.”

The commission, a two-year project with first-year funding of $1.9 million, will examine federal financing of child welfare services and court oversight of children in foster care. The 16 members met in late May, and will convene again in September and November. Contact: (202) 687-0697,


The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) officially added two new members to its board – at least for the time being. In late April President George W. Bush signed off on recess appointments for Bill Schambra and Donna Williams – both nominated to the board a year ago. The appointments are good for the duration of the 108th Congress, but both have already been renominated for official confirmation.

The recess appointments gave CNCS two more participants in the quarterly board meeting last month in Cleveland, where members met with the mayor and discussed service-learning initiatives with staff from Case Western University (site of a recent fatal campus shooting). “We were down to seven members, so having two highly qualified individuals on board was important,” says CNCS spokesman Sandy Scott.

Schambra is the former senior vice president of the right-minded, Milwaukee-based Harry Bradley Foundation (assets: $580 million). Williams was a regional director for multinational giant Parsons Corp. Contact: (202) 606-5000,


AmeriCorps Alums (also called the National AmeriCorps Association), an 8-year-old alumni organization for graduates of the CNCS-run AmeriCorps program, isn’t quite lucky enough to dwell on board member woes. The group is awaiting a response on two grant proposals (one for $250,000) from the Atlanta-based UPS Foundation (assets: $65.8 million). AmeriCorps Alums board Chairman John Stanley says there has been no answer from UPS yet, but he is confident that the group can weather the funding drought on a shoestring budget.

But a freeze in funding may in large part be due to the pause in enrollment for the actual AmeriCorps program. From Nov. 15, 2002, to March 11, no new AmeriCorps members were enrolled, because of a depleted trust fund (which in March was bolstered by a $100 million contribution from Congress). This, say some close to the situation, may prevent UPS from delivering the goods.

AmeriCorps Alums is already operating almost entirely out of the goodness of volunteer hearts. The board was forced to part with Executive Director Mike Meneer in March, and now part-time staffer Pamela Morse is the only paid employee, holding down the fort with the help of volunteers.

Judging from the cattle call for volunteer mobilization at a recent Beltway conference on civic engagement (The Impact of National Service on Critical Social Issues), you would think Alums could just hold out a hat and have grants fall from the sky. “A lot of people were talking about the need to mobilize alumni” of AmeriCorps and other programs, says former CNCS Executive Director Shirley Sangawa, now a consultant. “It is striking to me how positive about the alumni idea people were, and this group doesn’t have any money.” Alums has around 20,000 members.

UPS will, however, work with AmeriCorps’ parent organization. In May, the foundation matched a $300,000 CNCS grant to the D.C.-based Urban Institute for a study to measure effective uses and management of volunteers in the nonprofit world. Contact: AmeriCorps Alums (202) 729-8180,; UPS Foundation (404) 828-6159.


Linda McKay is in as the new senior adviser in the area of character education to Eric Andell, deputy undersecretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the Department of Education. McKay was the director of CHARACTERplus, an 87-school-district character education project of St. Louis, Mo.-based nonprofit Cooperating School Districts. The president requested $25 million for character education in fiscal 2004. Contact: (202) 401-1218,


Bob Wood, a close friend and chief of staff to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, is leaving the Bush administration to join Barbour Griffith & Rogers, a lobbying firm in Washington. Wood has been the picture of loyalty to Thompson: He joined the secretary in 1994, when Thompson was in his first year as governor of Wisconsin, and has worked for him ever since. Contact: HHS (202) 619-0257,


While David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee await trial for the kidnapping and sexual assault of Salt Lake City teenager Elizabeth Smart, the victim’s family has hired lawyers to weed through the 100-plus movie and book offers to tell Elizabeth’s story. “It comes down to an opportunity to tell the story or watch someone else do an unauthorized version,” family friend Chris Thomas told The Washington Post. Elizabeth’s sister, Mary Katherine, may reap some of the $295,000 reward posted for her sister’s safe return. The family has said it will donate it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which recently made major improvements in its missing children’s website (