Newsmakers for February 2004

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After a year that found its flagship AmeriCorps program in turmoil, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) begins 2004 with a new CEO. Former AOL Time Warner executive David Eisner was confirmed by the Senate in December.

Eisner inherits the job vacated by Les Lenkowsky, who essentially took the fall after his agency badly miscalculated the enrollment costs of AmeriCorps volunteers. After AmeriCorps accepted more applicants than it was allotted for years, Congress refused to provide $100 million in emergency funding last year to bail it out. The program was forced to freeze enrollment.

Since then, however, the news has been all good. The 2004 budget includes $340 million for AmeriCorps national and state grants, an increase of almost 50 percent from last year. Also included: $130 million for the AmeriCorps trust, which pays for the educational benefits of volunteers.

Eisner says he’ll focus initially on establishing plans for his three long-term goals: rebuilding trust with stakeholders (i.e., “the field, Congress and our staff”), fostering better dialogue with service volunteers and reforming management. Eisner says management has improved significantly under Chief Financial Officer Michelle Guillermin, who was confirmed in September.

Fair or unfair, says the new CEO, the previous management at CNCS developed a reputation for being “suspicious” to its fiscal masters on the Hill and its grantees. “We need to get out of the mode where people who rely on us are surprised by our decisions,” Eisner says. He doesn’t place any of the blame on Lenkowsky, with whom he speaks regularly.

Eisner hopes his realignment of the management structure, put in place last month, will bring more effectiveness and accountability. AmeriCorps Director Rosie Mauk maintains her role, but it seems as if a few people stepped down a rung on the ladder. David Caprara, formerly the director of VISTA, is now a member of the executive team heading faith- and community-based initiatives. John Foster-Bey, who oversaw state and national programs for AmeriCorps, will assist David Reingold in the CNCS Office of Research and Policy. The vacated VISTA spot will be filled for now by acting Director Howard Turner. Mauk will assume control of Foster-Bey’s responsibilities. Sources close to the corporation voiced surprise that a move was not made in the congressional relations office as well.

Meanwhile, the CNCS board welcomes back for another three years service-learning veteran Carol Kinsley, who has served on the board of directors since the agency’s establishment in 1994. Kinsley, a consultant and former executive director of the Community Service Learning Center in Springfield, Mass., was appointed during the congressional recess in December. Several other board members were reappointed during the recess: Dorothy Johnson (W.K. Kellogg Foundation), Henry Lozano (Teen Challenge) and Cynthia Boich, founder of international women’s leadership group Charter 100, based in Phoenix. Contact: (202) 606-5000,


After three years of directing the USA Freedom Corps, the centerpiece of the administration’s initial call for Americans to commit themselves to 4,000 hours of community service, John Bridgeland resigned in January, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. Freedom Corps staff say Bridgeland, who began as President Bush’s deputy assistant for domestic policy, has not decided what he’ll do next. While the administration decides on a new appointee, Deputy Director Ron Christie will serve as acting director. Contact: (202) 456-7381,


Bush has nominated the deputy secretary of housing for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (fiscal 2003 budget: $32 billion), Alphonso Jackson, to replace Mel Martinez, who resigned as secretary to run for one of Florida’s U.S. Senate seats. Jackson headed the Dallas Housing Authority before the Senate unanimously confirmed him for his current post in 2001. Contact: (202) 708-0685,


And finally, a list of youth-relevant guests of the president who attended the State of the Union address last month: Julio Medina, an ex-offender now running a New York program that helps inmates re-enter society; Rev. Helen Fleming, whose Philadelphia-based Lena Maloney Community Development Corp. works with children of prisoners; Jim Diesing, a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer in Minneapolis, and his little brother David Moreno; New Teacher Project CEO Michelle Rhee; and Alma Powell, wife of Secretary of State Colin Powell and co-chair of America’s Promise.


Stephanie Hoy took over as CEO of Denver-based Assets for Colorado Youth (ACY) in December. Hoy was promoted from within; she most recently served as director of training and community services.

Hoy has new Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to thank for the promotion. Hickenlooper is drawing heavily from the area’s nonprofit talent pool in staffing youth divisions: He recently appointed former ACY boss Maria Guajarda Lucero to be the director of the mayor’s office for education and children. Last summer the mayor appointed Roxane White, who had served for eight years as CEO of the Urban Peak program for homeless youth, to be his manager of human services. Contact: (888) 543-7871,


Mishaela Duran is the new director of public policy for the D.C.-based National Network for Youth. Duran comes to the network from another Beltway nonprofit, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, where she headed youth program and policy analysis. Contact: (202) 783-7949,


The After-School Corp. (TASC), an advocate for after-school programming in New York City, has named Kathleen Carlson to head up media relations and communications. Carlson held the same position for New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. TASC must be doing something right: New Jersey Governor James McGreevey announced that he would model a statewide intermediary after TASC as part of his initiative to serve 20,000 K-8 students in after-school programs by next February. Contact: (212) 547-6950,


Former Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) policy expert Brandy Anderson swerved into a new lane in the fight to curb underage drinking in December, when she became the Century Council’s vice president for government relations. The D.C.-based council was created in 1994 to promote responsible drinking and enforcement of underage drinking laws, not unlike Anderson’s former employer – except that the council is funded by the major alcohol distillers. Anderson says she “came to understand that [the Century Council] is a really impressive organization.”

MADD and the council have collaborated on numerous projects over the years, including the National Hardcore Drunk Driver Project. But Anderson will now get a feel for Century’s positions on other drinking issues, which include vehement opposition to the liquor excise taxes supported by the D.C.-based National Academies. “Let’s just say that’s not a choice I would have made,” George Hacker, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says of Anderson’s move. “Not every position they takes is a bad one, ” but the group “has a mission, and it is to put a nice shine on the liquor industry.” Contact: Century Council (202) 637-0077,; MADD (469) 420-4493,


Three leaders within the network of state organizations in Voices for America’s Children recently stepped down. Most notably, Voices for Florida’s Children President Jack Levine resigned after 25 years with the nonprofit. Levine, who now runs a one-man consultancy in Tallahassee under the name Advocacy Resources, says he left to focus on two major issues: the environment (the destruction of which he says is “one of the great scandals of our era”) and developing what he calls “four-generational policy.” Larry Pintacuda, who has overseen administrative aspects of the Florida group for a year as CEO, will become the sole boss, while Voices will add a communications director.

Amy Rossi, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, resigned to join the state’s major health policy brain trust at the University of Arkansas’ Center for Health Improvement. Rossi, who will serve as assistant director of community relations, will be replaced temporarily by senior analyst Paul Kelly. In Wisconsin, Council on Children and Families CEO Anne Arnesen announced her retirement. She will be replaced by Associate Director Charity Eleson. Contact: Arkansas (501) 371-9678,; Wisconsin (608) 284-0580; Florida (850) 222-7140,


The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has named former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) as chairman of its board of directors. DeConcini co-sponsored the Missing Children’s Assistance Act in 1984, which inadvertently gave birth to the national center. He succeeds former chairman Robbie Calloway, national vice president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Contact: (703) 837-6251,


The big charitable winner for 2004 so far is the Salvation Army, which received approximately $1.5 billion from the estate of McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc. Kroc donated $92 million to the Salvation Army in 1998 to create an elaborate community center in San Diego, and officials say the new donation will be used to establish about two dozen more around the country. Contact: (703) 684-5500,


Carol Larson last month became the third president in the history of the Los Altos, Calif.-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Larson is a Packard veteran who joined the grant maker in 1989 as a research and grants director for the foundation’s Center for the Future of Children. Her most recent position, director of programs, will be eliminated.

Larson succeeds Richard Schlosberg, who announced his retirement last summer. Packard’s assets have plummeted in recent years from $13 billion to $5 billion, and most of its youth-related grant making now focuses on a four-county region of the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact: (650) 917-5205,


David Robinson, who led the McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac Foundation (assets: $235 million) when it began its work in 1991, returned to the foundation in December as chief operating officer. Robinson spent the past six years consulting. Maxine Baker serves as CEO of the foundation and vice president for community relations at Freddie Mac itself, as Robinson did before her. Contact: (703) 903-4384,


The Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (assets: $1.7 billion) named Thomas Hoenig, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, to its board in early December. “Tom brings to the mix of talent on our board an extraordinary expertise in matters of economics, research, business and finance,” said board Chairman Tony Mayer.

Kauffman faced controversy last year over what critics of foundation President Carl Schramm saw as a shift in priorities toward a national scope and away from local interests. But Hoenig joined two other Kansas City natives as newcomers to the board in 2003: Thomas Rhone, a former Kansas City high school principal and consultant to the Kauffman Scholars Program, and Thomas McDonnell, who has served for 20 years as CEO of Kansas City’s DST Systems. Forbes Magazine says Schramm has cut Kauffman’s overhead from 27 percent to 17 percent of its operating costs. Contact: (816) 932-1045,


The California Wellness Foundation (assets: $990 million) in Woodland Hills, Calif., appointed Barbara Staggers to its board of directors in January. Staggers is the director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland and is a national expert on youth violence and its prevention. The foundation also named longtime board members Earl Mink and Douglas Patino to be chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Contact: (818) 593-6600,


When Walter Turnbull began the Boys Choir of Harlem in New York back in 1968, it was a small after-school program. Today the choir and its academic program, the Choir Academy, stand together as a beacon of the city’s public school system and a nationally recognized success. The school says that of the 6,000 youths who’ve graduated, about 98 percent have gone on to college.
But last month the founder and chief executive officer was forced to resign because of a sex abuse scandal involving the choir’s former director of counseling. A city Department of Education report on the case says Turnbull refused to act on information that the director, Frank Jones Jr., sexually assaulted a student over a period of years, beginning in 1998. Jones was convicted in 2002 of abusing the boy.

The youth, now 18, has filed a $30 million lawsuit against the choir, Turnbull and his brother Horace Turnbull (the vice president). The lawsuit alleges inaction on the sexual abuse complaint and physical abuse by Walter Turnbull.

Walter Turnbull will stay on as artistic director, according to an agreement between the choir and school officials. His brother also resigned. Contact: Harlem Boys Choir (212) 289-1815,


Bill Pierce, 67, the irascible founder of the National Council for Adoption. Pierce directed the D.C. office of the Child Welfare League of America from 1970 to 1980, when the league was based in New York. As CWLA moved left, Pierce moved right and became one of Washington’s rarest breeds: a conservative with a master craftsman’s knowledge of the political process and children’s policy issues. The one-time director of the Iowa Neighborhood Youth Corps started the National Council of Adoptions in 1980 and built it into a $7 million, 19-employee operation. It is based in Alexandria, Va. In the past decade, Pierce helped to persuade Congress to pass the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act of 1994, the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and the Infant Adoption Awareness Act of 2000.

David Weikart, 72, founder and president emeritus of the Ypsilanti, Mich.-based High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. The Youngstown, Ohio, native started the foundation in 1970, and was a leader and pioneer in educational research since his research on the Ypsilanti public school system in the 1960s.

Gisela Konopka, 93, professor of social work at the University of Minnesota and a pioneer of adolescent research. After fleeing Nazi Germany, Konopka became a social worker and taught at the university from 1947 to 1978. Her legacy in the study of adolescent development is embodied by the university’s Konopka Institute for Best Practices in Adolescent Health.