Newsmakers from September 2003

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Could it be that the D.C.-based Children’s Defense Fund is downgrading its efforts in Congress in favor of more grassroots work? After losing Director of Intergovernmental Relations Mary Bourdette in May, CDF’s senior legislative liaison Jennifer Beeson is leaving to become the director of public policy for the D.C.-based, 200-member Coalition on Human Needs. Her boss at the Coalition is Deborah Weinstein, who – surprise, surprise – left a post at CDF (director of the family income division) in May. In just three months, Bourdette’s former Hill team of seven has been almost entirely dismantled.

Beeson says her first priority at the coalition will be to work on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) legislation issues, particularly “making sure the 12 million children left behind” by the tax cut enacted in 2002 share in the child tax credit benefits in pending legislation. Contact: Coalition on Human Needs (202) 223-2532,; CDF (202) 628-8787,


YouthBuild USA, the Somerville, Mass.-based, agency that supports a nationwide network of more than 200 local YouthBuild programs, is being hit hard by the massive cuts in AmeriCorps.

Spokeswoman Maria Vugrin says the cuts spelled a $3.2 million net loss (about 26 percent of its $12.4 million budget) for YouthBuild: $800,000 in direct funding, and $2.4 million for 12 affiliated programs, including sites in Philadelphia and Gary, Ind.

It’s not all bad news for the organization, which supports programs with, among other things, grants and technical assistance: In February, the Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $5.4 million over five years to YouthBuild to develop a network of 23 alternative schools.

In part responding to the adverse national political climate, vice president Tim Cross will expand his role and become chief operating officer. With Cross handling more of the day-to-day tasks, President Dorothy Stoneman will be freed up to steer policy and advocacy and, equally important, ride the fundraising circuit. Cross joined YouthBuild in 1997 as a regional coordinator. Contact: (617) 741-1239,


Linda Hodge has been elected to be the new president for the Chicago-based National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Hodge was the PTA’s vice president for programs. She succeeds outgoing president Shirley Igo.

Hodge entered the president’s office during a public scrum over PTA funding. PTA recently inked a sponsorship agreement for an undisclosed amount with Coca-Cola Enterprises, that great standard-bearer of youth health interests.

Nobody would accuse Coca-Cola of ignoring its philanthropic duty: Coca-Cola Co.’s charitable giving amounted to $35.3 million in 2001 and $49.7 million in 2002. Coca-Cola Enterprises gave $14.6 million in 2001 and $10.3 million in 2002. Meanwhile, Igo says her group is as cash-needy as any other nonprofit right now.

But some see the connection to PTA, and a similar Coca-Cola partnership with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry earlier this year, as almost comical conflicts of interest. “Instead of promoting the welfare of children, the National PTA is promoting the welfare of a corporation that seeks to fill them with sugar and caffeine,” Gary Ruskin, executive director of the Portland, Ore.-based Commercial Alert, wrote in a letter to Igo.

PTA’s Washington arm underwent a shift over the summer. National Legislative Director Maribeth Oakes took a job as director of public lands for The Sierra Club; senior lobbyist Carolyn Henrich is leaving after 15 years to become legislative director for education at the University of California’s Office of Federal Governmental Relations; and lobbyist Susan Nogan became a senior policy analyst for the D.C.-based National Education Association. Coming through the In door over the summer: new lobbyists Jamie Fasteau and Courtney Snowden. Contact: PTA (312) 670-6782,


Public Agenda named Ruth Wooden to replace outgoing President Deborah Wadsworth, who is leaving after 17 years. Wooden comes to the New York-based citizen awareness advocate from Porter Novelli, the major public relations firm in New York, for whom she served as vice president and senior counselor. Porter Novelli’s clients include a number of anti-tobacco groups, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Partnership to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit, and, until recently, the American Legacy Foundation. Contact: Public Agenda (212) 686-6610,


Westport, Conn.-based Save the Children hired Institute of International Education (IIE) Vice President William Stacy Rhodes to be director of its office of HIV/AIDS. One would be hard-pressed to find someone with a wider perspective on the international AIDS crisis. Before joining IIE in 2001, Rhodes spent 25 years with the United States Agency for International Development, serving in Haiti, Morocco, Central America and South Africa. Contact: (203) 221-4030,


Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper appointed Roxane White to be his manager of human services. White spent the past eight years as CEO of Urban Peak, a Denver nonprofit that serves homeless and street youth. White restructured Urban Peak, merging it with The Spot, a nonprofit hip-hop oriented evening youth center for disadvantaged teens. White, who once ran the Larkin Street Youth Center in San Francisco, was also instrumental in penning the Colorado Homeless Youth Act and creating the state’s Office of Homeless Youth Services. Taking over for the time being at Urban Peak will be Judy Hudson-Trujillo, a Denver consultant. Contact: City of Denver (720) 913-5683; Urban Peak (303) 777-9198,


Margaret Zahn was named director of the crime, justice policy and behavior program at the Research Triangle Institute International in North Carolina. The former director of the violence and victimization division for the U.S. Department of Justice will oversee a program that includes 26 staffers and a $32 million budget for research on topics such as juvenile justice, substance abuse and delinquent behavior. Contact: (919) 990-8388,


Dads and Daughters (DADs), a Duluth, Minn.-based advocate for improving father-daughter relationships, announced that executive director and co-founder Joe Kelly will shift over to the president’s office. Taking over as director is his wife, Nancy Gruver. She is also the founder and president of New Moon, the publishing company that produces DADs’ newsletter, Daughters. The shift comes as DADs takes on three new tasks: expanding the newsletter circulation to 100,000; developing a rating system for corporations, to pressure them to market in ways that “do not undermine girls”; and creating a research initiative on daughter-father relationships. Contact: (888) 824-3237,


The Kansas City, Mo.-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (assets: $1.6 billion) recently made some major hires. Paul Carttar, co-founder of nonprofit consulting firm The Bridgespan Group, will serve as president Carl Schramm’s chief operating officer.

Brought in to improve the link between research and grant making was health care veteran Rob Chernow, now Kauffman’s senior vice president for entrepreneurship. Chernow’s equal in the division of research and policy is Robert Litan, who comes to Kauffman from a vice president’s position at the D.C.-based Brookings Institution. Litan served as associate director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for former President Bill Clinton. Contact: (816) 932-1045,


Another Clinton OMB staffer – former deputy director Sylvia Mathews – was named chief operating officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (assets: $25.7 billion) last month. Mathews, who has served as an executive vice president for the Seattle-based foundation since 2000, will double as the executive director of the Libraries, Pacific Northwest and Special Projects division. Contact: (206) 709-3140,


Chris Sturgis, a Mott Foundation (assets: $2 billion) program officer for vulnerable youth, left Flint, Mich., to become a senior program officer at the Redwood City, Calif.-based Omidyar Foundation (assets: $39.3 million). Sturgis will not be replaced: Pathways Out of Poverty Program Director Kevin Walker will assume her responsibilities, with the help of Program Assistant Yazeed Moore. Contact: (810) 238-5651,


Valerie Chang was tapped to be a program officer for the human and community development program at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Chang used to be chief of staff for the Neighborhood Business Development Group at the New York-based Local Initiatives Support Corp., which provides grants, loans and equity investments to community development corporations for neighborhood redevelopment. Her assignment at MacArthur will include funding research in the individual and society program, the area of the foundation that funds juvenile justice policy research. Contact: (312) 726-8000,


Ron Thorpe, senior program officer for education at the New York-based Wallace Foundation (assets: $1.1 billion), will head up education work for Channel 13 (WNET) in New York. Thorpe has yet to be replaced at Wallace, which was created in July from the merging of the Dewitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. Wallace is run by President M. Christina Devita. Contact: (212) 251-9700,


While the news media question the political experience and the policy platform of the Terminator running for governor of California, candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is due some credit for supporting youth work – and no, not just for his exemplary performance in “Kindergarten Cop.”

Last year, he put muscle behind state Proposition 49, which set aside $455 million for before- and after-school programs.

On the national level, he partnered with east L.A. youth worker Danny Hernandez to start the Afterschool All-Stars (which until last month was called the Inner City Games Foundation), a 6-year-old decentralized operation supporting out-of-school activities in 15 cities. New All-Stars CEO Frank Donahue says he has not been around his famous chairman much yet, but is impressed by what he has seen: “Just being with him, you can see he is passionate about helping kids.” Contact:


July was not a great month for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, but at least he picked up a nice award from teenagers.

The 24-year-old was charged with raping a 19-year-old concierge at an Eagle County, Colo., hotel. Bryant, who is married, has admitted to having had sex with the woman, but pleaded not guilty to the charges. Widely considered the NBA’s most wholesome and marketable talent, Bryant has lost an endorsement deal (Nutella, an international chocolate manufacturer) and might lose more lucrative agreements with Nike and Sprite.

Then last month, Bryant received a “Teen Choice Award” – voted on by teens and sponsored by FOX and AOL — for Favorite Male Athlete. He accepted the award in person.


Richard Nedelkoff stepped down in mid-June as director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), which helps other department divisions, including the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Nedelkoff spent time in Florida’s juvenile justice and family services fields before joining then-Gov. George Bush in Texas as executive director of the state criminal justice division. Camille Cain, previously Nedelkoff’s deputy, is interim director and will direct the office until Bush’s nominee, Domingo Herraiz, can be confirmed by the Senate. Herraiz is the cabinet director of state criminal justice planning for Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R ).

Nedelkoff and his family returned to Austin, Texas, where he is starting a national consulting firm named Riga Solutions Group, according to BJA sources. Contact: BJA (202) 616-6500,

Noelle Bush, the 26-year-old daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, completed a drug rehabilitation program last month and was released to go home with her parents. Her sentence to treatment last year was a bitter pill to swallow for drug law reform advocates in the state. “When the governor’s daughter gets treatment and more than 10,000 other Floridians are sentenced to jail and prison each year for similar nonviolent drug offenses, there is a problem,” said Campaign for New Drug Policies Political Director Dave Fratello in a press release at the time. His group is sponsoring a citizen’s initiative to provide drug treatment to nonviolent offenders, which was approved to appear on the 2004 by the state supreme court.


Bill Bright, 81, founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ, the world’s largest Christian ministry. Bright created the organization in 1951, and served as president until 2001. Orlando, Fla.-based Campus Crusade’s says its staff of 26,000 serves people in 191 countries.

Elsie Carper, 82, known as the “institutional memory” of the 4-H. Carper served the 4-H (part of the Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) from 1944 until 1983, planning and organizing major conferences for the organization at its Chevy Chase, Md., headquarters. Carper continued on as a 4-H historian after retiring from government work in 1983.