Newsmakers for July 2004

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While embattled members of President George W. Bush’s inner military circle continue to survive under public scrutiny, his lesser-known combatants in the armies of compassion have slowly jumped ship.

Bush’s first choice to run the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, John DiIulio, left after six months. Leslie Lenkowsky, Bush’s appointee to head the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), fell on the sword during last year’s AmeriCorps funding debacle.

In January, after two years of leading the other piece of Bush’s service puzzle – the USA Freedom Corps John Bridgeland resigned, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and did not know what his next move would be.
“I told [Bush] we met all the milestones we had set [for Freedom Corps], and I have these three kids of my own I haven’t seen in four or five years,” says Bridgeland. “He just told me, ‘Go be a father.’ ”

Taking Bridgeland’s place on an interim basis: Ron Christie, his deputy director, who left three months later for the private sector – as counsel for the law firm Patton Boggs, where he will concentrate on homeland security issues in the public policy division. Christie also cited family reasons; he’s a newlywed

It didn’t take long for Bridgeland to figure out his future, either. He is hanging out his own consultant shingle in the form of a bipartisan policy firm called Civic Enterprises, established to help communities address social issues.

Bridgeland says his new firm, which officially opened its doors in June, will continue the work he did as Bush’s domestic policy director before switching to Freedom Corps: working with communities and organizations on everything from child hunger and substance abuse to nuclear energy.

He must have kept his old White House Rolodex. Listed as a member of the “policy council” for civic enterprises: John DiIulio. The council also Clinton administration domestic policy adviser William Galston, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, based at the University of Maryland; CNCS board Chairman Stephen Goldsmith; and former Sen. Harris Wofford, co-chairman of America’s Promise.

Bridgeland says he’s more of a builder than a sustainer, interested in getting projects like Freedom Corps and his own consultancy off the ground before moving on to something new. The firm is based in Washington, but will keep four offices in Bridgeland’s home state of Ohio, in Cincinnati, Akron, Cleveland and Columbus. Hmm … Anyone detect a run for Congress?

So who has Bush brought in to replace his big three? Jim Towey oversees the faith-based office that DiIulio once ran. He is the founder of Aging With Dignity and served as legal counsel to Mother Theresa for 12 years.

At CNCS, Lenkowsky (who replaced Clinton appointee Wofford) has been spelled by David Eisner, now steering the agency through the rulemaking changes demanded by Congress after its mismanagement of funding for AmeriCorps volunteers.

As for the Freedom Corps, policy prodigy Bridgeland has been replaced by Desiree Sayle, former director of correspondence for first lady Laura Bush and a former staffer for Colin Powell at America’s Promise

Not that the replacements are necessarily incapable, but even conservative allies question their placement in policy positions. “It would be fair to say the policy shop is less policy-oriented in its apparatus and more administratively managed,” one Republican anonymously told The Washington Post

Says Bridgeland of his replacement: “I don’t really know her. She seems like a very good person. I’m sure she’ll do a good job.” Contact: Civic Enterprises (202) 467-8816,; USA Freedom Corps (877) 872-2677,


Bush is nominating Carin Barth to serve as the chief financial officer for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A fellow Texan, Barth is the president of LB Capital, a Houston-based financial group. Barth would replace Angela Antonelli, who left HUD last year. Contact: (202) 708-0685,


The president nominated John Hager, the former lieutenant governor of Virginia who was beaten in the 2002 GOP gubernatorial primary by eventual loser Mark Earley, to be assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services at the Department of Education. Hager has used a wheelchair since 1973, when he contracted polio. Contact: (202) 401-1576,


Taking a recommendation from across the aisle, the president nominated Leona White Hat to serve as the youth representative to the board of CNCS. White Hat is a graduate student at Black Hills State University in South Dakota and serves as assistant director of the university’s Center for Indian Studies. She has done volunteer work with the college’s Upward Bound program and on her native Rosebud Reservation.

White Hat – whose last name was ignorantly given to her great grandfather by colonizers because he wore the white feather bonnet, a symbol of honor within the tribe – was recommended for the job by South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader. Daschle’s office “said they were looking for a female under 25 who was in college,” White Hat says. “I didn’t even know the position was national until the White House called to interview me for it.

She will serve as the first youth representative to the CNCS board, which will probably meet soon to discuss potential rule changes for AmeriCorps. (See “Time Limit on AmeriCorps Funds?” June.) Contact: (202) 606-5000,


Patrick Lester is in as the United Way’s director of public policy. A former West Winger with the Clinton White House Domestic Policy Council, Lester has also served as legislative director for the Coalition for Human Needs in Washington and most recently as assistant director of public policy for Lutheran Services in America, in Baltimore. Contact: (703) 836-7112,


The National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) in St. Paul, Minn., named former Social Enterprise Alliance partner Jim Pitofsky to be its deputy director. The alliance is a group of nonprofits that use an earned-income strategy to provide capital for its charitable endeavors. Contact: (651) 631-3672,


Denzel Washington was honored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in June with the Herbert Hoover Humanitarian Award, the organization’s highest honor for a volunteer. Washington, who joined his local Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Boys & Girls Club when he was 6, has been a BGCA national spokesman since 1992. The awards event was star-studded, with actor Morgan Freeman presenting the award before an audience that included rapper Jay-Z, actor Wesley Snipes and athletic legends Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali. Contact: (404) 487-5700,


D.C.-based Independent Sector appointed Charles S. Mott Foundation CEO William White to serve on its board of directors. White joins a board that includes youth work leaders William Truehart (former president of Reading Is Fundamental); United Way of America CEO Brian Gallagher; Alliance for Children and Families CEO Peter Goldberg; and D.C.-based KaBOOM! founder Darell Hammond. Contact: (202) 467-6100,


At a well-attended conference in Tampa, Fla., in February, the Boston-based National School-Age Care Alliance (NSACA) announced it was changing its name to the National AfterSchool Association (NAA), because “the new name will significantly enhance our ability to access resources and partnerships and help us push our public policy agenda forward.”

Translation: It’s hard to get funding and attention in the after-school field these days, if the word “after-school” isn’t in your name. The 8,000-member association, headed by Mark Carter, posted a $182,000 loss on its tax returns for fiscal 2002.

Another reason might have been NAA’s desire to incorporate more organizations that serve older youth. “School-age care is associated with younger kids; after-school is more inclusive,” says National Institute on Out of School Time (NIOST) Co-Director Ellen Gannett.

More importantly, the group was forced to place on hold the accreditation program that colleague Pam Garza (director of the National Youth Development Learning Network at the National Collaboration for Youth) called “an extremely valuable resource.” The process provides local programs, many tied to national groups like the YMCA or Boys & Girls Clubs, with membership in a national network of out-of-school programs that adhere to a set of 36 service standards.

But NAA was drowning in a gap between cost and revenue. In 2002, the group spent $474,693 on its accreditation program, while making only $153,291 in fees from it. NAA plans to restore its accreditation process.

“We knew from the beginning that after-school programs were terribly under-resourced and could not front the money [for accreditation] by themselves,” says Gannett, whose organization gave its set of standards to NSACA for use in the process.

The hope, says Gannett, was that states would pick up some of the costs. Fat chance during a budget crisis. “NSACA was subsidizing the system, trying to keep accreditation affordable, but knowing full well it was more expensive than people were willing to pay,” she says.

NAA did not return calls for this story. Contact: (617) 298-5012,


A complaint was filed recently against the president-elect of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), Judge James Payne (R), accusing him of granting special court access to Indiana State Rep Robert W. Behning (R). Payne is serving his fourth six-year term as judge of the Marion County juvenile court in Indiana.

The complaint accuses Payne of sending an Indianapolis Police Department officer to Behning’s home in May 2000 to arrest Behning’s daughter, then 12, on a theft charge brought by her parents.

The filing, obtained by The Indianapolis Star, alleges that Payne held a hearing the next day, a court holiday, without fundamental personnel present, including an attorney to represent the girl.

For the next three years, the girl was incarcerated in treatment programs, costing the state $48,000, before she was released under the order of another court.

Payne denies sending the officer to arrest the girl. Both Payne and Behning maintain that their actions were in the best interest of the child.

Despite the complaint, NCJFCJ says Payne is still scheduled to become president at its annual conference in July.

The Commission on Judicial Qualification is conducting an inquiry into the complaint. Approximately one in five complaints reach that stage. Should Payne be found to have abused his power, he could face punishments ranging from a “private caution” to removal from the bench. Contact: NCJFC (775) 784-6012,


Out of Topeka, Kan., comes one of the more bizarre youth work stories of the year.

For the last 12 years, Juanita Smith, 86, ran the Topeka YWCA’s teen pregnancy prevention program and was a recognized leader in the state capital, whose population is 124,000. But in June, Smith’s career came to an end because of a lie she had told for nearly 15 years: that she was a survivor of the Bataan Death March during World War II.

The Bataan Death March was among the most horrible experiences on the Pacific front during the war. Japanese forces took prisoner thousands of U.S. troops and military staff stationed in the Philippines, then forced them to march across brutal stretches of the country’s jungle regions. Women were routinely raped, and prisoners who fell out of line were shot. Of the roughly 70,000 people who were forced to march, about 54,000 survived.

Smith, who claimed she was a nurse in the U.S. Navy, has repeatedly and publicly told people that her inspiration to work with youth stemmed from her harrowing experience on one of the marches. The Topeka Capital-Journal ran a profile of her in May. Responding to calls questioning the story’s veracity, the paper discovered that no record of Smith existed in POW registries or as a nurse at that time.

Smith admitted the fabrication and resigned. Capital-Journal Managing Editor Anita Miller also resigned as a result of the story. It gets stranger. On June 28, police found Smith unconscious in her home in Topeka, and found a decomposed corpse that they think has been there since March. Contact: YWCA (785) 233-1750,


The Seattle-based Casey Family Programs (assets: $1.95 billion) named William Bell as its new vice president of child and family services. Bell goes to Casey from New York City, where he served as commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services. The agency made headlines last year when it collaborated with the city’s family courts to expedite thousands of adoptions for foster care youth. Contact: (206) 282-7300,


The other Seattle-based Casey operation – the Marguerite Casey Foundation (assets: $625 million), a Casey Family Programs (CFP) spinoff – named Joan Poliak to its board of directors. Poliak is the commissioner for children, youth and families for the Seattle-centered King County area. Other board members at the foundation, which supports grassroots and community-based work in child welfare, include former congresswoman Pat Schroeder; CFP’s CEO, Ruth Massinga; and William Foege, an epidemiologist who worked on the campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s and helped to create the Task Force for Child Survival in 1984. Contact: (206) 691-3134,


After a three-month search, the San Francisco-based Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund (assets: $376 million) replaced former Executive Director Robert Gamble, who left in March, with Samuel Salkin. Salkin, who started in late May, had been the CEO of San Francisco’s Jewish Community Federation. The Goldman Fund supports efforts ranging from Israeli and domestic Jewish affairs to violence prevention and youth development. Contact: (415) 788-1090,


Another Bay Area grant maker, the Rosenberg Foundation (assets: $54 million), announced the retirement of its loquacious and learned president of 30 years, Kirke Wilson. The foundation supports California programs that seek to provide families and children with economic security. Wilson will officially step down in January. Contact: (415) 421-6105,


Jill Paulsen was awarded the first George Gund Foundation Fellowship last month. The Cleveland-based foundation (assets: $464 million) provides a $35,000 annual stipend for two years to promising young professionals to work in an organization that plays a vital role in supporting the civic life of greater Cleveland. Paulsen is a graduate of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Cleveland’s Case Western University, where she was named student of the year for 2004. Paulsen will essentially serve as a junior program officer at the foundation. Contact: (216) 241-3114,


The D.C.-based Hill-Snowdon Foundation (assets: $31 million) named Nat Chioke Williams as its new executive director. The foundation, which grants more than $1.5 million to support youth organizing in Washington, D.C., New York, California and the Southeast, broke away from its five-year partnership with the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation. Williams is the former program officer for youth development at the Edward W. Hazen Foundation in New York. Contact: Hill-Snowdon’s website,, will be available soon.


The D.C.-based American Legacy Foundation named Amber Thornton and Helen Lettlow, both four-year veterans of the nonprofit advocate for tobacco prevention, to vice president positions. Thornton moves from vice president of technical training to overseeing program development. Lettlow moves up from director to vice president of the foundation’s priority populations initiatives.

Legacy also elected University of California-Berkeley Vice Chancellor George Strait to its board of directors. Strait is a former medical and health reporter who helped to found the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975. He led the Kaiser Family Foundation’s coverage of the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, last summer. Contact: (202) 454-5596,