Newsmakers for December 2005 – January 2006

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Public/Private Ventures CEO Gary Walker announced his retirement after a decade running the Philadelphia-based nonprofit.
Walker’s migration to P/PV began when he left his job as a Wall Street attorney to run a business that employed ex-offenders and substance abusers. When he oversaw a study of the Job Training Partnership Act, the central federal authorization for job training in the 1980s, the disappointing findings convinced him and others about the need for more effective programs for youth and young adults.

He joined P/PV in 1986, heading its initiatives on mentoring, after-school programs, violence prevention and work force development. P/PV conducts research on effectiveness and best practices in the field of social policy.

Walker’s seat at P/PV – which has assets of $22 million and 87 staffers in offices in Philadelphia, New York and Oakland, Calif. – will be filled from within by Fred Davie, vice president for public policy and community partnerships. Davie has run P/PV’s faith-based initiatives since 2001 and filled a similar role at the New York-based Ford Foundation for four years before that. Contact: (215) 557-4400,

For six years, veteran juvenile justice policy advocate Liz Ryan oversaw the Building Blocks for Youth Initiative, a multimillion-dollar project involving dozens of nonprofits that was conceived and spearheaded by her employer, the Youth Law Center (YLC).

Now, Ryan has begun her own project: The Campaign 4 Youth Justice, which was officially launched in October.

The campaign will use a website and monthly newsletter to alert people to juvenile justice policies and practices in various states, and connect them to new research. The first newsletter, published in October, highlights major justice initiatives in Delaware, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Ryan has a long history in youth work. A former VISTA volunteer, she served as a lobbyist for the Children’s Defense Fund, then worked on child and family issues for Thomas Carper (D-Del.), now a U.S. senator, when he served as governor and later in the House of Representatives. She spent six years at the Youth Law Center before leaving last January to help the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities follow this year’s heated budget debates.

Ryan’s new operation will essentially run as a subdivision of the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), headed by Jason Ziedenberg, which serves as the campaign’s fiscal sponsor. Her funding, guaranteed at an annual $500,000 for the next five years from an anonymous foundation, will be spread among her member organizations for campaign work. So far, her partners include JPI, YLC, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, the National Juvenile Justice Network, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance. Contact: (202) 558-3580,

Project GRAD USA has promoted Robert Rivera to replace retiring CEO L. Steven Zwerling. Rivera previously served as executive director and chief operating officer for the Houston-based nonprofit. Project GRAD partners with high schools and their feeder schools, providing them with resources and training to improve student performance. Contact: (713) 986-0444,

The Center for Community Change (CCC), a D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates on behalf of low-income families, has added some staff.

Cristina Lopez, a former staff member returning from the Academy for Educational Development, will serve as Executive Director Deepak Bhargava’s chief of staff.

Maggie Fine comes to CCC from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y. She served for 12 years as executive director of the congregation’s Veatch Program, which supports organizations (mostly Unitarian Universalist) that are named for benefactor Caroline Veatch. Fine will remain on Long Island, overseeing CCC’s Resources for CommunityOrganizing project.

Elizabeth Coit is the new director of development, joining the center after six years with the Wilderness Society. Adam Luna comes on board as director for external affairs, charged with raising the visibility of CCC’s projects.

The center has steadily expanded its leadership team in the first few years under Bhargava (who replaced Andrew Mott), and has moved its office from the Georgetown section of Washington to the city’s U Street corridor, a neighborhood where hundreds of low-income residents are being priced out by the development of new homes and condominiums.

One new project on the horizon for CCC, spokeswoman Germonique Jones says, involves the plight of some 65,000 undocumented immigrant youth who graduate from high school each year in the United States. If a graduating teen has not received citizenship, he or she can be deported. Jones says the center is developing a nationwide network of youth who are in this predicament and who will become the centerpiece of an advocacy campaign against the federal regulation.

The prospect for change improved greatly when the Development, Relief for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.). The bill would allow undocumented graduates who immigrated as minors and have lived in the United States for more than five years to apply for legal status to pursue college or enlist in the military. Contact: (202) 339-9300,

Alexandria, Va.-based Earth Force, the often-foundering 12-year-old youth environmental group started by Pew Charitable Trusts, has named Charles Tampio to serve as president. Tampio, vice president of the Close Up Foundation, took over for outgoing Earth Force President Vince Meldrum in mid-December.

Earth Force reaches about 36,000 youth each year with programs that combine environmental education and service learning. Those programs are operated through Earth Force’s 10 community-based offices and its partnerships with other organizations in 18 states. Contact: (800) 233-6723,

Youth Venture, an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit that supports youth activism and business ideas with grants of up to $1,000 each, has a new executive director, Gretchen Zucker. Zucker began her career in the Africa Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has spent the past two years as director of the Innovative Learning Initiative at Ashoka – a promoter of social entrepreneurship – to which Youth Venture is joined at the hip.

Youth Venture’s founder, Bill Drayton, was recently named one of America’s 25 best leaders by U.S. News and World Report Magazine, putting him in company with such notables as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Colin Powell. Contact: (703) 527-4126,

The New York-based National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) named Robert Harrod as CEO and Christine Oliver to chair its interim national board of directors. Harrod has been executive director of NCCJ’s Greater Cincinnati regional office for 21 years. Oliver is CEO of the Chicago Dwellings Association.

NCCJ was founded in 1927 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, with a mission to fight bigotry and racism. Harrod inherits a fragile nest egg as he moves up: NCCJ’s endowment has shrunk from $22 million to about $5 million over the past five years, and it has lost 23 of its 60 chapters. Contact: (212) 545-1300,

Associated Marine Institutes (AMI), which operates 54 programs in seven states aimed at turning around the lives of adjudicated youths ages 14 to 17, named retired Ft. Lauderdale judge Frank Orlando to be chairman of its board of directors. Orlando was instrumental in the evolution of the organization, when he directed some of the youth who appeared in his court to a friend’s marine research program at Florida Atlantic University. That program shifted its focus from research to youth work, spawning AMI in 1969. Contact: (813) 887-3300,


The Stuart Foundation (assets: $325 million) named Don Ernst to be senior program officer for its public schools program. Ernst comes to Stuart, which primarily makes grants in California and Washington state, from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, where he headed government relations for five years. Before that, he was one of the initial staff members of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, serving as co-director of policy. Contact: (415) 393-1511,

The Joyce Foundation (assets: $800 million) hired Whitney Smith to manage the Chicago-based grant maker’s employment program, which gave out $6.8 million in grants last year. Smith has spent the past seven years with the Chicago Jobs Council, most recently as associate director. Contact: (312) 782-2464,


Beverly Watts Davis, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, has changed jobs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Davis will now serve as the special assistant to SAMHSA Director Charles Curie.

Before joining SAMHSA, Davis headed an anti-drug program, Fight Back San Antonio.

Her federal tenure was marked by an unfortunate e-mail accident in January, when SAMHSA Deputy Director James Stone wrote to Curie assessing Davis’ performance and mistakenly sent it to hundreds of agency employees. “Beverly is not a team player,” Stone wrote. “She wants to look good and is willing to lie or dissemble in order to maintain a positive image . . . [and] she will not take responsibility for her decisions.”

Curie apparently feels differently about her work.

Davis was on annual leave in Mexico late last month, according to SAMHSA, and could not be reached for comment.
Contact: (240) 276-2000,


A youth leader from Maryland was caught on tape soliciting sex online from minors. Not surprisingly, it quickly cost him his job.
Rabbi David Kaye was vice president of programs for PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, a national group based in Rockville, Md.

He was snagged in a sting operation run by “Dateline NBC” and Perverted Justice, a group whose members pretend to be kids in chat rooms in order to ferret out people who try to solicit sex with minors. The group claims that its work has contributed to 38 convictions.

The fake teens gave out an address where the chat room visitors could meet them. The “Dateline” episode showed Kaye arriving at the house to find reporter Chris Hansen waiting to interview him. Hansen was also involved in the show’s coverage, back in 2001, of a questionable ring of nonprofits headed by the National Child Safety Council.

Kaye has not been charged with a crime. But PANIM accepted his resignation immediately after the incident. Contact:


Alan Akira Watahara, 52, an advocate for disadvantaged children in California for more than 30 years. Watahara helped found the California Partnership for Children, the California Children’s Lobby and the Children and Youth Policy Project at the University of California at Berkeley. He most recently served as a principal for the Watahara group, which provides legal counsel to California nonprofits.

Mark Davis, 56, former legislative director and legal counsel for Reps. Frank Riggs (R-Calif.) and Lee R. Terry (R-Neb.). Davis was instrumental in negotiations between Congress and the administration of President Jimmy Carter to pass an amendment to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. The so-called “jail amendment” mandated that states remove all juvenile status offenders from facilities housing adults.