Newsmakers for November 2004

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Gordon Berlin took over as president of 30-year-old social policy research giant MDRC in late September, filling the shoes of Judith Gueron, who retired after 18 years as president. Berlin’s immediate plans include expanding MDRC’s ability to continue working with programs after it produces studies of them, and to expand its range of communications with federal, state and media entities.

Before joining MDRC in 1990, Berlin worked as a project officer at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Training Administration, then at the Ford Foundation supporting youth-related programs, especially the nascent national service programs and efforts aimed at severely disadvantaged teens and young adults. Contact: (212) 532-3200,


Dr. Bernard Arons became CEO of the National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI) last month. Arons served as director of the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services from 1993 until 2002. He went to NDRI after serving as a senior science adviser for the National Institute of Mental Health for the past two years. NDRI is a nonprofit organization seeking to apply scientific research and knowledge to such social issues as substance abuse, mental health and multiple behavior problems among at-risk youth. Contact: (212) 845-4400,


After serving for 30 years with various organizations within the Philadelphia-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) umbrella – the past six as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters International (BBBSI) – Dagmar McGill announced she will retire in late October. McGill, whom BBBSA chairman Beverly Benz Treuille credits with moving the international program “from a concept to a reality,” will step down in January.

BBBSI promotes the establishment of mentoring programs using the Big Brothers model around the world. Those programs are not part of the official BBBSA operation, but receive office space, training and other support.

Taking over for McGill is Kitty Balsley, CEO of BBBS Colorado. Balsley has shown a knack for expanding services, increasing the Colorado program’s mentored population from just over 2,000 in 1996 (the year the Big Brothers and Big Sisters divisions merged) to nearly 4,000. Contact: (215) 717-5130,


Jeff Faulkner will take Robert Duea’s place as president of Ways to Work, a nonprofit loan program started in Minnesota in 1984 and adopted for national replication in 1998 by the Alliance for Children and Families. Alliance CEO Peter Goldberg also serves as the Ways to Work CEO. Faulkner was a vice president with the Milwaukee-based Durkin Associates, a consulting firm that works with nonprofits seeking to boost philanthropic capacity. Contact: (414) 359-1040,


Retiring CEO Raul Yzaguirre’s 20-year tenure with the National Council of La Raza, a D.C.-based nonprofit advocating on behalf of the Hispanic community, will end in January. The council has prepared well for the departure: To ease the transition, Janet Murguia was moved up this year to a temporary chief operating officer/executive director position. The council has received $8.2 million in federal earmarks for youth projects since 2001.

The council also named Monica Lozano, publisher of Hispanic magazine La Opinion, as the chairwoman of its board of directors. Contact: (202) 785-1670,


David Moore joins the Forum for Youth Investment as chief operating officer. Moore goes to the forum from the Harwood Institute, a policy innovation think tank focused on civic engagement, where he directed community initiatives. Contact: (202) 207-3333, .


Eric Gorovitz was hired by the Washington-based Alliance for Justice to open its West Coast office in Oakland, Calif. Gorovitz comes to the alliance, a national coalition that promotes fair and independent judiciary systems, from the Washington-based Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, where he served as policy director. His most memorable work was organizing the Million Mom March, which is not so much a march as it is a grassroots organization working to prevent gun violence. Contact: (202) 822-6070,


A few months ago, Sharon Osbourne was set to take over the Honolulu-based Consuelo Foundation in January. Instead of moving to the tropics, however, she has decided to stay in Seattle as president of the Children’s Home Society (CHS), one of Washington state’s largest nonprofit youth-serving agencies.

Osbourne, who has worked at CHS since 1984, was going to replace the retiring president, Patti Lyons, at the Consuelo Foundation. Lyons co-founded the foundation in 1988 with its namesake and benefactress Consuelo Zobel Alger, who died of cancer in 1990. The nonprofit operates or supports programs in Hawaii and the Philippines that work with poor children and their families. There were no hard feelings, Lyons said, as everyone accepted that Osbourne had family illnesses to deal with, and that on the professional side, “she realized her passion and commitment need to be in Seattle."

Lyons says there should be a decision on a new leader for Consuelo by the end of December. Lyons will remain on the board of directors. Contact: (808) 532-3939,; CHS (206) 695-3200,


San Francisco has long been a compass for progressive work with youth in urban areas. This month brought news that two of the city’s most prominent youth advocates – one an accomplished veteran, the other a rising star in the field – will be moving on.

After 26 years as executive director of San Francisco’s Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, Margaret Brodkin left last month to head the Department of Children, Youth and Families for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Lateefah Simon, head of the Center for Young Women’s Development (CYWD), will step down in February and depart for the University of California-Berkeley. She will work with the nonprofit center as a senior consultant for a year.

The two women took different paths to reach their positions in the city by the bay. Brodkin, 51, went to Coleman as a 35-year-old social worker, “frustrated with ‘the system’ and knowing things had to change,” she wrote in her farewell letter.

Coleman, founded in 1975, is one of the nation’s oldest child advocacy centers. It spent its formative years pressuring the city to move youth services into the community and out of juvenile hall. In the 1980s, it shifted toward serving and speaking out for homeless and institutionalized youth. More recently, Coleman has focused on operating youth empowerment programs and localizing political advocacy work

Brodkin passes the torch (on an interim basis, at least) to another 35-year-old: N’Tanya Lee, Coleman’s director of youth policy If Lee is looking to make that permanent, she definitely has a one-woman cheering section in Simon.

“N’Tanya is the most brilliant young woman in Frisco,” says Simon, who, as a 2003 MacArthur Foundation “genius award” winner, should know something about brilliance. (See “Genius at an Early Age,” June.)

“She’s the most fierce advocate for youth I have ever seen. There are things I will bite my tongue about; she just won’t let go."

Simon, who at the age of 28 has already run CYWD for eight years, grew up in the neighborhoods she now serves, lightly attending high school while balancing night jobs with youthful indiscretion. After doubling CYWD’s budget and staff size, and bolstering its ability to provide job training and support services for high-risk girls, Simon is stepping away to get her undergraduate degree.

She will leave the day-to-day operations in the hands of 24-year-old Marlene Sanchez, CYWD’s program director. Sanchez was hired after being a client of the agency, leaving behind a life of gang involvement.

Contact: Coleman (415) 239-0161,; CYWD (415) 703-8800,


Another San Francisco group, the Youth Leadership Institute, has shuffled its executive positions. Founder Maureen Sedonaen will drop the title of executive director and become CEO; San Francisco Peer Resources Director Lorne Needle will serve as vice president; and San Francisco Food Bank Communication Manager Carolyn Rohrer will head marketing and communications. The institute designs community programs that promote teen leadership in the fields of prevention and civic engagement. Contact: (415) 836-9160,


The After-School Corp. (TASC), a 6-year-old New York-based nonprofit working with more than 130 of the city’s after-school programs, hired John Albert to be vice president of external relations. Albert comes to TASC from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Contact: (212) 547-6950,


After 25 years, Beverly Brooks has stepped down as CEO of Safe Space, a New York City nonprofit that has been helping abused and neglected youth since 1919. During Brooks’ tenure, the agency has vastly expanded its services, with its budget growing from $1 million in 1979 to $18 million this year. Safe Space provides services ranging from transitional living and residential foster care to youth leadership and job training.

To fill the void, the board brought in Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, a chief executive of agency services since 1998 for one of Safe Space’s major private funders, the United Way of New York City. Before her stint at United Way, Barrios-Paoli served as the commissioner of city agencies for mayors Ed Koch (D) and Rudolph Giuliani (R). Contact: (212) 226-3536,


Jeremy Kohomban is in as CEO of the Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.-based Children’s Village. Kohomban comes to the residential care facility from Easter Seals New York, where he was senior vice president, and takes over for Nan Dale. Contact: (914) 693-0600,


The Los Angeles-based After-School All-Stars – the 15-site nonprofit formerly called the Inner City Games Foundation and founded by Terminator-turned-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – elected Henry Cisneros as national board chairman. Cisneros was secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton. Contact: (310) 275-3232,


Girls Inc., a New York-based nonprofit providing education programs to underserved girls, elected Janice Warne to chair of its board of directors. Warne is the managing director of Citigroup Global Markets in New York. Contact: (800) 374-4475,


At the Hazen Foundation, public education program officer Lori Bezahler will replace the outgoing Barbara Taveras as director. Taveras, who has led the 79-year-old New York-based foundation for 12 years, will leave in December. Hazen focuses its grant making on youth leadership development efforts and public school reform. Contact: (212) 889-3034,


The San Francisco-based Rosenberg Foundation (assets: $60 million) announced that Ben Jealous, director of the U.S. human rights program for Amnesty International, will become its new president in February. Jealous has some big shoes to fill, as he takes over for Rosenberg’s president of 31 years, Kirke Wilson. The foundation supports California programs that seek to provide families and children with economic security. Contact: (415) 421-6105,


The Foundation for Child Development (FCD) in New York hired Harold Leibovitz to be its first director of strategic communications. For seven years, Leibovitz has served as the spokesman for the Washington-based Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism Project, a $27 million welfare reform project that produces public policy research on a seemingly near-weekly basis. FCD is a national nonprofit that works with schools to implement substance abuse prevention programs. Contact: (212) 213-8337,


Paul Carttar, former chief operating officer of the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (assets: $1.6 billion), is now vice chancellor for external relations at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. In June 2003, Carttar took over at Kauffman for Steve Roling, the foundation’s vice president, who left after being passed over for the top job in favor of President Carl Schramm. Carttar is also the founder Bridgespan, a Boston consulting group specializing in nonprofits.

The foundation switched Judith Cone, vice president of knowledge management, to vice president of entrepreneurship. Contact: (816) 932-1000,


Sharnita Johnson has joined the Detroit-based Skillman Family Foundation (assets: $426 million) as a program officer. Johnson, who goes to Skillman from the Flint, Mich.-based Ruth Mott Foundation, will focus on Skillman’s grant making in the field of youth development. Johnson’s hiring follows on the heels of a recent change of leadership at Skillman: Vice President Carol Goss took over for her outgoing boss, CEO Kari Schlachtenhaufen, in August. Contact: (313) 393-1185,


Steven DiSalvo, chief operating officer of Junior Achievement of New York, was named executive director of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation. DiSalvo manages a small staff seeking to educate the public about how to detect, prevent and break the cycle of domestic violence, while also providing small grants to shelters. The foundation’s biggest tool is speaking engagements by New York Yankee Manager Joe Torre. Contact: (877) 868-4563,


Last month, U.S. Reps. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.), Harold Ford (D-Tenn.), David Price (D-N.C.) and Chris Shays (R-Conn.) launched the National Service Congressional Caucus. The caucus is a bipartisan group that says it is “dedicated to raising awareness of national service and expanding opportunities for all Americans to serve.”

The caucus was started with much prompting from the emerging Save AmeriCorps Coalition, says National Association of Service and Conservation Corps President Sally Prouty. It should help the coalition communicate more favorably with the House, the chamber that blocked its efforts to provide $100 million in supplemental funding last year to the then-beleaguered AmeriCorps program. Contact: (202) 225-5541.

Nancy Workman (R), the embattled Salt Lake County mayor who is facing charges involving questionable movements of funds to a local boys and girls club, will not seek re-election. Workman pleaded not guilty last month to charges that she gave $17,000 in health department funds to the club, where her daughter serves as chief financial officer, to hire a bookkeeper. Workman cited health reasons related to “extraordinary stress” for pulling out of the race. She is on adinistrative leave.

To announce changes at your agency, contact the author.