Newsmakers for October 2005

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YMCA of the USA President Ken Gladish announced last month that he will resign at the end of February, after six years on the job. There has been no word on his replacement.

Gladish is credited with bringing the 2,594 local YMCA governing boards more into the national decision-making fold and leading the effort to purchase a national YMCA center in Chicago, set to open in 2009.

In 2002 Gladish, Search Institute President Peter Benson and YMCA Canada forged the Abundant Assets Alliance, a partnership that gives YMCAs access to the institute’s resources on asset development to use in their youth programs. He also oversaw the organization’s response to three tragedies: 9/11, the tsunami this year in Southeast Asia and Hurricane Katrina.

Gladish replaced 10-year Executive Director David Mercer when he joined the YMCA in March of 2000, becoming the 12th leader in the organization’s 150-year history. He had previously served as executive director of the Indianapolis and William E. English foundations, and before that as CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Contact: (312) 419-8418,

Sentencing Project founder Malcolm Young admits that a 19-year legacy doesn’t have quite the same ring as 20 does, but it has one benefit. Instead of planning a big 20th anniversary event, he says, “I can just attend as an honored guest.”

Young packed up his car early this month, leaving in the rearview mirror the D.C.-based policy shop he created. He joins the Chicago-based John Howard Association.

He’ll be replaced at Sentencing Project, which develops alternative sentencing models and advocates on criminal justice policy, by Assistant Director Marc Mauer. Young leaves the organization in sound financial and programming condition, and recently moved to keep it that way by installing Angela Boone as director of development and Kara Gotsch as director of advocacy.

Young, who decided to make a clean break and not serve on the board at Sentencing Project, is bittersweet in assessing his time at the forefront of the debate over what he sees as an overly punitive justice system.

“Our biggest success, I think, was truly changing the way a lot of people were thinking about crime and punishment,” he says. “We raised the issue of race, impact of crime policies on women and their children, poor people, students. We questioned the severity of sentencing across the board … without provoking a knee-jerk response that we were too sympathetic to criminals.”

Under Young, Sentencing Project fended off dismissive responses by focusing on the broad realm of sentencing issues and skirting the politically charged death-penalty debate. One key exception was the amicus brief that Sentencing Project filed in Simmons v. Missouri, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the juvenile death penalty is unconstitutional. Young sees the case as a “high watermark,” ranking it among the most important sentencing issues of his tenure.

Nevertheless, Young moves on disappointed in the system he works to fix. “When we began, [the United States] had something like 800,000 people in jail or prison,” he says. “We were the office that announced we’d have 1 million in 1989, and now, of course, it’s over 2.1 million. Just by those numbers, my efforts appear to have been a failure.” Contact: (202) 628-0871,; (312) 782-1901,

The Baltimore-based International Youth Foundation (IYF) has added two new executives to its staff. Peter Shiras joins as vice president of employability. He comes to the nonprofit from the D.C.-based Independent Sector (IS), where he was vice president of nonprofit-sector programs and practice. Shiras was tapped as interim president at IS when Sara Melendez resigned in 2003, but was passed up for the permanent job in favor of Diana Aviv.

Also joining IYF is Andrea Bosch, as vice president of education. Bosch comes from of Bangalore, India, where she worked for a project of the Newton, Mass.-based Educational Development Center, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Both positions were created in January 2004, when IYF reorganized its efforts around four categories: education, employability, health, and leadership and engagement. Contact: (410) 951-2328,

Jane Callahan is the new public policy manager for the Parents as Teachers National Center in St. Louis. Callahan comes from Washington University, also in St. Louis, where she was the assistant to the vice president for research. Contact: (866) 728-4698,

Catholic Charities USA has named Christin Driscoll as senior director for policy development and advocacy. Driscoll comes to the Alexandria, Va.-based charity from across town, having held the same position for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

Taking over for Driscoll at ACTE is Seth Turner, former manager of policy and advocacy at the D.C.-based National Youth Employment Coalition. Small world: Turner spent eight years with Catholic Charities before joining NYEC in 2002. Contact: (703) 549-1390,

The St. Paul, Minn.-based National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) has hired Tony Byers as its new director of professional development. Byers, most recently an adjunct professor at the University of St. Paul, has a long-standing relationship with NYLC: He attended its first National Youth Leadership Training in 1985, and has helped to organize the training every year since 1988. Contact: (651) 999-7354,

The Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis announced that hometown grant maker Lilly Endowment will give it a $3.7 million grant. Some of it, says Heartland spokeswoman Lisa Dudeck, will go to a project with the National Collaboration for Youth, a 30-year-old coalition of more than 40 nonprofit youth development organizations that resides under the bigger tent of the National Human Services Assembly. The collaboration is a partner with Heartland Film Festival in a project called Truly Moving Pictures, which honors films released in theaters that inspire and enrich lives. Contact: Heartland (317) 633-1456,; National Assembly (202) 347-2080,

Former Teach For America (TFA) Chief Operating Officer Jerry Hauser stepped in last month as CEO of the D.C.-based Advocacy Institute, a 20-year-old organization that aims to strengthen the skills and networks of social justice advocates. The institute has worked with more than 2,500 nonprofit organizations in 62 countries.

Hauser, who succeeds Kathleen Sheekey, will be responsible for improving the institute’s advocacy networks and leadership programs. During Hauser’s six years at TFA, annual fund raising increased from $8 million to $38 million. (202) 777-7575,; TFA (800) 832-1230,

The Alexandria, Va.-based United Way of America has hired Alex Sanchez as senior vice president of community impact. Sanchez comes to the national nonprofit from the Cleveland-based United Neighborhood Centers of America, where he was CEO. He was previously executive director of Esperanza, an education and scholarship organization, and of the Hispanic National Bar Association and its foundation. Contact: (703) 683-7871,

John Graham has helped lead the Giraffe Heroes Project for 22 years. Each day, he oversees a staff dedicated to seeking out and publicizing heroes to motivate youth.

But the government has yet to rule him out as a potential threat to the airlines. Graham has been on a crusade since he found out in June that he was placed on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly watch list. Graham has launched a comprehensive strategy involving media, legislative and legal action to address the issue.

“This is much bigger than me,” Graham said. “It’s a civil liberties issue, and I feel strongly about it.”

Graham’s impassioned article on his skirmish with the feds has found its way onto 22,000 websites. His staff has taken up the cause, scheduling interviews and sending mailers to marshal public opinion. Graham has shared his concerns with 30 members of Congress, in hopes of passing legislation to change the way the TSA determines who’s on the no-fly list. He plans to visit the Capitol this month to lobby against what he calls the “unconstitutional” list.

“I’m not naïve,” Graham said. “I understand that there has to be a no-fly list, and it must be balanced with civil liberties.” Graham, who can receive temporary permission to fly, says the government must compose the no-fly list carefully and inform those listed of the reasons for their listing.

“We can’t have lists formed by faceless people accusing other Americans of being traitors,” says Graham, who served in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1965 to 1980. “What they’re doing now is just plain unconstitutional.”

TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser, who has no previous knowledge about Graham’s beef, explains that there are actually two lists. “The no-fly list, it is what it is: you do not fly,” he says. “This individual, if he got on a plane, was on the selectee list,” which includes those set aside for secondary screening.

A class action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Green v. TSA, challenged the existence of the no-fly list. The suit was dismissed in January. Contact: (360) 221-7989,


The California Endowment (assets: $3.5 billion) has named Earl Johnson to be a senior program officer. Johnson, who previously ran the Working Communities program for the Rockefeller Foundation, will oversee a joint venture between his new employer and his old one, the California Works for Better Health initiative. It seeks to improve health in low-income communities by providing more employment opportunities. Contact: (818) 932-3351,

Senior program officer Katherine Kraft left the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (assets: $9 billion) over the summer. Kraft helped to develop the Reclaiming Futures program, designed to create better integrated care systems and community involvement opportunities for youth in the juvenile justice system. Contact: (888) 631-9989, William T. Grant Foundation (assets: $250 million) named Philadelphia-based Public/Private Ventures President Gary Walker to be the new chairman of its board. Walker, who joined P/PV in 1986 and has run the grant maker since 1995, has served on the William T. Grant Foundation’s board since 2001. Contact: (212) 752-0071,


Veteran policy analyst Sonia Chessen was tapped to be the first executive director of the National Board for Education Sciences. The board is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Educational Sciences, the department’s research arm, which opened in 2002 and is headed by Russ Whitehurst.

Chessen has been a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since 1998. She served as a chief adviser on President Bill Clinton’s White House Council on Youth Violence in 2000, then helped the Bush administration with its White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth.

The board boasts a number of heavy-hitters from the youth learning field, including: Carol D’Amico, former assistant secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the Education Department and now vice president of Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana; Robert Granger, president of the New York-based William T. Grant Foundation; and Sally Shaywitz, co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention in New Haven, Conn. Contact: (800) 872-5327,


In one of the strangest stories of the year, foster parents Michael and Sharon Gravelle of Wakeman, Ohio, had all 11 children in their household taken away when Huron County authorities found that some were locked up and forced to sleep in cages. “The sheriff and I stood there for a few minutes and just kind of stared at what we were seeing,” Lt. Randy Sommers told The Associated Press.

The Gravelles are adoptive or foster parents to all of the children, who range from ages 1 to 14.

It gets stranger. The Gravelles maintain that they have never abused any of the children. They say a psychiatrist recommended the cages because some of the children have mental disorders and needed to be protected from one another. Neighbors say the children seemed well-behaved, well-nourished and clean. The couple has not been charged with any crime, nor have they been disciplined by the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services.


Rosalind Brannigan, 63, former vice president of D.C.-based Drug Strategies. A Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda, Brannigan returned to the United States and established a racially integrated recreation and cultural program for rural youth in The Plains, Va. At Drug Strategies, she helped to develop science-based guides on dealing with substance abuse.

Sandy Feldman, 65, former president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and co-chairwoman of the Child Labor Coalition. Feldman was known for her ardent defense of public school teachers and thoughtful consideration of ideas most unions would balk at. AFT membership increased by 350,000 during her tenure.