Newsmakers for October 2003

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Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha stepped down as chairman of Girls and Boys Town’s 20-member board of trustees last month after giving the board an ultimatum in June: Implement changes in the governance of the organization or accept his resignation.

The main issue was Curtiss’ effort to enact bylaws changes requiring, among other things, that whenever the board seeks a new executive director for Boys and Girls Town, it must first seek candidates from the archdiocese of Omaha. Board members want to conduct a national search.

“Girls and Boys Town has traditionally had an executive director from the archdiocese of Omaha, and the bylaw states that when it comes time to [select] a new executive director that the search starts with the archdiocese of Omaha,” said Father Gregory Baxter, the archdiocese chancellor. “If a candidate doesn’t surface there, a national search could then take place after that, and the archbishop wanted to preserve that.”

New board Chairman John Gillin said the bylaw changes proposed by Curtiss (and rejected by the board) are “procedural issues that would have given the archbishop more power than the board.”

The point is moot for now, argues Gillin, because the board is not looking for a new executive director. The executive director, the Rev. Val Peter, will turn 70 (the standard age for a priest to retire) in November 2004, but the board voted to extend his position as executive director on an annual basis for as long as it sees fit.

That hardly makes the point moot for Omaha archdiocese officials, however, because Gillin said unequivocally, “Girls and Boys Town has grown too big to restrict the board’s search for an executive director to one archdiocese.”

Curtiss was not available for comment. His resignation letter accused the board of separating the organization “from its historical relationship with the archdiocese,” and said that therefore “no priest of the archdiocese will serve as executive director in the future, and no priest will be assigned to the campus.”

Girls and Boys Town was founded by Father Edward Flanagan in 1917, but the organization began an aggressive national expansion after Peter became executive director in 1985. Since then, the organization has grown from two sites and a hospital in Omaha to 19 sites in 14 states and Washington, D.C. It has also built a name in the child welfare and youth services field through its training center and publishing house.

According to recent tax returns, Girls and Boys Town spent $144 million on programs in 2001. Of that, $107 million went to programs that were either national in scope or served communities outside of Omaha. In 1986, the year after Peter took over, the organizations spent a total of $42.2 million.

Peter, whose salary for running a group with $222 million in assets is $26,791, is the fourth executive director of Girls and Boys Town. All have been from the Omaha archdiocese. Contact: (402) 498-1300,


The Seattle-based National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) named Lynn Grefe as its CEO. Grefe comes to NEDA from New York, where she served as director of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition. NEDA, with a staff of nine, researches disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa, produces curricula to prevent them, and connects people with treatment services. Contact: (206) 382-3587,


Sarah Maxwell, a former consultant for the National Youth Employment Coalition, is hoping to build a new resource in the youth field. After moving recently to Tucson, Ariz., she started the National Association of Youth Service Consultants (NAYSC). “We’ll be connecting technical assistance providers and training consultants to government [agencies], foundations, and policy organizations,” she says.

Maxwell’s aim is to attract 1,000 members by 2008. The annual dues are $100, a drop in the bucket for consultants who “spend so much time marketing,” says Maxwell. Contact: (520) 529-1736,


Barbara Kelley Duncan, vice president for enterprise development in the Washington office of Casey Family Programs (and a former vice president at the Children’s Defense Fund) has left to become CEO of the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) in North Charleston, S.C. The center, with a staff of 100 and an annual budget of $3 million, is a multi-service organization that manages six development programs for youth. Contact: CYDC (843) 266-5200,; Casey (206) 282-7300,


Dave DeForest-Stalls, former director for new ventures at the award-winning Urban Peak in Denver, left in late September to become the executive director of A Grassroots Aspen Experience (AGAE). AGAE provides outdoor and life skills programs for disadvantaged youth in Colorado. Contact: Urban Peak (303) 777-9198, AGAE (970) 925-6671,


Bruce L. Berglund is the new director of philanthropy and financial development for the YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for the 2,540 YMCAs in the United States. Berglund goes to the national office in Chicago from Milwaukee, where he had served as vice president of financial development for the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee since 1998. During that time the Milwaukee Y’s annual campaign grew from $950,000 to $3.3 million. Contact: (312) 977-0031,


American Humanics (AH), a Kansas City, Mo.-based national alliance of colleges, universities and nonprofits working to train and certify new nonprofit professionals, added Quincy Williams and Stephen Bauer to its staff last month. Williams, the new director of national internship and placement programs, was AH’s director at his alma mater, Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. Bauer, who will coordinate national partnerships and campus expansion, was a project manager at City Year Cleveland. Contact: (816) 561-6415,


Wendy Hamilton began her two-year term as president of the Irving, Texas-based Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in July. Hamilton has been a volunteer for MADD since 1984. She joined the board of directors in 1995, and served as MADD’s public policy liaison from 1998 to 2001.

The MADD board elected Cynthia Roark as chairman. Roark began supporting MADD in 1984 at the behest of her 18-year-old daughter, Paige, who was concerned about drinking by her peers. Months later, Paige was killed by a drunk driver. Contact: (800) 438-6233,


Amid the swirl of news surrounding its underfunded, overenrolled AmeriCorps program and the resignation of AmeriCorps CEO Les Lenkowsky, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) took steps last month to try to steady the ship. Under acting CEO Jim Manning (also the corporation’s chief operating officer), CNCS held a conference of grantees and an “all-hands” meeting for the 600 national staff members.

The staff meeting was a stage to announce the formation of the Management Improvement Team, a cross-agency ensemble that will examine CNCS’ operations and management with an eye toward cutting costs and improving effectiveness. “Congress has expressed concerns about the corporation’s management, and we take those concerns very seriously,” Manning said.
Probably a good idea, since Congress is coming in about $90 million under President Bush’s request of $433 million for AmeriCorps in fiscal 2004.

The conference for AmeriCorps grantees was also held in Washington last month. Among the topics: lowering the amount spent for each AmeriCorps volunteer, sustainability for grantees, and dissatisfaction with the current peer review process.

CNCS added two new management staffers. K. Joyce Edwards will serve as chief human capital officer, a new position. A 30-year federal service veteran and developer of the government’s Human Capital Scorecard, Edwards was brought in to improve human resource management.

Peter Hill, CNCS’ new chief information technology officer, will be responsible for the management and long-term strategic planning of information services. Contact: (202) 606-5000,


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in August that Dr. Janet Collins is the interim director of its Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). Collins replaces the highly respected Lloyd Kolbe, who left this summer for a position with Indiana University’s Department of Applied Health Science. Collins was deputy director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, which includes DASH. Contact: (770) 488-6130,


Hugh Davies, a senior associate at TATC Consulting and longtime staffer with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), retired last month. TATC provides staff training and technical assistance for government and state agencies. Davies, who put in 25 years at DOL’s Employment and Training Administration, oversaw projects within the department’s youth opportunities and youth offender programs. He also set up TATC’s company mentoring program for youth. “Hugh will be sorely missed,” says TATC President Alan Skvirsky. Contact: (202) 408-8282,


The Chicago-based Joyce Foundation (assets: $654 million) named Gretchen Crosby Sims to be its program officer for education grant making. Sims, who served as domestic policy adviser to presidential candidate Bill Bradley in 2000, joins Roseanna Ander and Peter Mich in the education division, which gives out $7 million annually. Contact: (312) 782-2464,


Greg Taylor joined the staff at the Battle Creek, Mich.-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation (assets: $5.5 billion) as a program director in the youth and education department. Taylor left the D.C.-based Fannie Mae Foundation, where he served as chief program officer. Contact: (269) 968-1611,


Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Jerry Regier announced last month that New York lawyer H.K. Bruner will serve as the agency’s special assistant to the general counsel, handling legal matters in the area of child abuse and neglect. (First, Bruner must become licensed to practice law in the Sunshine State.)

Bruner was executive director of the New York Family Policy Council (NYFPC), a state affiliate of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family. His column in the council’s September newsletter offers a “Parent Pupil Protection Packet,” with information on how to keep children out of schools “where they may be subjected to ‘diversity training’ or ‘tolerance instruction.’” Contact: NYFPC (518) 432-8756,


Prosecutors charged 45-year-old preacher Ray A. Hemphill with felony child abuse after a faith healing service in Milwaukee resulted in the death of 8-year-old Terrance Cottrell, Jr. The boy died from suffocation as church members held him down in order to exorcise demons from him. Prayer sessions had been held for three weeks in order to cure Terrance of autism. If convicted, Hemphill faces a maximum of five years in prison.