Newsmakers for April 2006

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When the Colorado Children’s Campaign (CCC) was down on the mat a few years ago, its most loyal supporters in the funding world resurrected it based on one criterion: the reputation and potential of its leader, Barbara O’Brien. (See “An Agency’s Near Fatal Drift,” April 2005.)

“Barbara was the campaign,” says Elsa Holguin, a senior program officer at the Rose Community Foundation. “My biggest concern was that she was totally burned out and would leave if we didn’t do something.”

Their confidence in her abilities proved well-founded. After heading a remarkable resurgence at CCC, O’Brien leaves the organization on solid ground after 15 years. She is seeking election as Colorado’s lieutenant governor, and will be the running mate of former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, who stands as the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

In 1999, CCC was on life support. After the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, local philanthropies focused their youth work attention on violence prevention. That left little money for CCC, which had become the state’s foremost advocate on youth policy and legislation.

After years of piecing together money for special projects, taking the organization further from its mission as a general youth advocate, O’Brien finally broke down in tears at a meeting with Holguin. A year later, Rose and 10 other Colorado funders saved the operation by committing $1.3 million in 2000 in all-important general support to CCC.

Six years later, O’Brien leaves CCC in fine shape. The campaign ran on a budget of $1 million in 2005, with a staff of 22, and it oversees Colorado’s $8 million small schools initiative grant from the Gates Foundation. CCC expects to name O’Brien’s successor in May. Van Schoales, vice president of education, serves as interim director. Contact: (303) 839-1580,


The Portland, Ore.-based Friends of the Children, which pairs high-risk youth with paid youth workers, named Kregg Hanson to serve as its new executive director. Hanson was previously president of Medical Management International, also in Portland.

Hanson replaces Catherine Milton, Friends’ leader since 2002 and former vice president of Save the Children, based in Westport, Conn. Milton had wisely slowed the expansion of Friends, focusing on improving the academic and life skills services provided to youth already in its network of chapters. (See “So Many Friends, So Fast,” June 2005). Hanson’s challenge will be to find reliable sources of income for the group and its eight chapters. Contact: (877) 493-2707,


Reclaiming Youth International (RYI) last month announced the retirement of Larry Brendtro, its founding president. Brendtro, a psychologist and publisher of the journal Reclaiming Children and Youth, opened RYI to provide training and assistance on strength-based approaches for helping youth with conflicts at home and in the community. Brendtro also serves on the federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

A succession plan was well in place. Stepping up to CEO is Brendtro’s longtime colleague, Vice President Steve Van Bockern, while lead trainer Mark Freado becomes vice president and chief financial officer. Contact: (800) 647-5244,


The Kansas City, Mo.-based Camp Fire USA announced that Senior Vice President Jill Pasewalk will replace outgoing CEO Stewart Smith in June. Smith, who is only 45, has led the national nonprofit for nine years.

Pasewalk is about as prepared as anyone could be for the job, and knows the Camp Fire system on every level after spending 17 years in the organization. She has served as CEO of a council (Camp Fire Alaska, the largest youth agency in the state) and of an affiliate (in Oakland, Calif.), and spent the past four years at the national headquarters, two of them as a field executive.
Camp Fire says its 145 councils and affiliates serve 750,000 youth each year. Contact: (816) 285-2010,


After 22 years with the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) – a once-unique program that drew property tax revenue to help youth in Florida’s Pinellas County – President James Mills retired last month. JWB expects to have a new president by May.

The board was created in 1946 to ensure programming for youth in Pinellas County, whose population of 921,000 stretches over 24 cities. The board uses dedicated property tax money to make grants to grassroots organizations and nonprofits. This is no easy scheme to imbed in a county system, because it requires a referendum, and Mills deserves credit for spreading similar boards and councils to 14 other Florida counties. Contact: (727) 547-5600,


Bill Galston stepped down as director of the College Park, Md.-based Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) in January. A current Brookings Institution senior fellow, Galston served as the deputy assistant for domestic policy to former President Bill Clinton.

He is succeeded by Peter Levine, CIRCLE’s deputy director for four years and a longtime University of Maryland scholar. Levine served as a researcher and federal lobbyist for Common Cause from 1991 to 1993.

CIRCLE, founded in 2001 and housed at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, produces studies of civic engagement issues pertaining to people ages 15 to 25. It is funded primarily by Pew Charitable Trusts and the Carnegie Corp. of New York. Contact: (301) 405-4767,


The National Center for Fathering (NCF), based in Overland Park, Kan., hired Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) President Carey Casey to serve as its next CEO. Casey leaves FCA after 18 years with the organization.

The NCF, a national nonprofit founded in 1990 by Ken Canfield, develops products and advocates policies aimed at helping men become better fathers. Contact: (800) 593-3237,


Paula Clayton has been named medical director at the New York-based American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), a nonprofit foundation that funds research and education on diseases such as depression and addiction that may end in suicide. Clayton previously was a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. AFSP, founded in the late 1980s, reports awarding 120 grants totaling $2 million last year. Contact: (888) 333-2377,


Rita Elizondo took over as CEO of the San Antonio-based National Latino Children’s Institute (NLCI) at the end of last year, replacing Rebecca Barrera. NLCI focuses on national programs and policies to help in the positive development of Latino youth. Elizondo, a San Antonio native, was previously a consultant with San Antonio-based Breakthru Solutions, and before that was president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Contact: (210) 228-9997,


Naina Dhingra is the new public policy director at Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based supporter of comprehensive sex education programs. Dhingra, who takes over for Marcella Howell, was an intern at Advocates while she was a student at The George Washington University. She worked most recently as a donor relations and communications associate for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Contact: (202) 419-3420,


Charles Fields joined the Seattle-based Marguerite Casey Foundation (assets: $662 million) as program officer for the Western and national regions in January. Fields previously managed the West Oakland Initiative, a community development partnership between the William and Flora Hewlett and the San Francisco foundations. Contact: (206) 691-3134,


Nadia Brigham is the new program associate at the Battle Creek, Mich.-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation (assets: $6.8 billion). Brigham will work in Kellogg’s youth and education programming area. She previously served as senior community investment associate for the Heart of West Michigan United Way. Contact: (269) 968-1611,


The Denver-based Daniels Fund, which provides college scholarship and community support grants, promoted Chief Financial Officer Jeb Dickey from senior vice president to executive vice president. Kristin Donovan also moves up, from vice president to senior vice president. Contact: (877) 791-4726,


At the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Nelson Hernandez is out as director of the Community Capacity Development Office, a division of the Office of Justice Programs that oversees DOJ’s network of 300 Weed & Seed communities. Hernandez, who previously coordinated community affairs for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., left to become the city planner for Ventura County, Calif. His interim replacement is Deputy Director Denise Viera. Contact: (202) 616-1152,


New Jersey’s Commission on Higher Education tapped Gov. Jon Corzine’s senior policy adviser, Jane Oates, to serve as its executive director. Oates, who took over the commission last month after less than a year as Corzine’s adviser, had been an adviser to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) since 1997. She was Kennedy’s key staff member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the lead adviser on higher education and youth employment policy for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Contact: (609) 292-4310,


Tommy Jewell didn’t have to wait long for a potential scandal after he was appointed to succeed Mary Dale-Bolson as secretary of New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) in late February. A local television station reported in March that in 1999, a state district judge had settled and sealed a case involving a woman’s request for a temporary restraining order against him.

Gov. Bill Richardson ’s administration is looking into allegations of domestic violence involving Jewell. Dale-Bolson, Jewell’s predecessor, helped CYFD get out from under court supervision for the first time in 25 years. Contact: (505) 827-7602,


Lionel Tate was 14 when he was sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for the murder of a 6-year-old playmate in Fort Lauderdale, making him the youngest American to receive that sentence. Three years later his conviction was thrown out, and he got a new lease on life: a sentence of 10 years probation and time served.

He has not made the most of it. The same year he was released, Tate was found out after curfew carrying a knife and received an additional five years of probation.

Now he faces the prospect of another long sentence after pleading guilty to robbing a pizza delivery man at gunpoint. Tate may receive up to 30 years in prison.


Dwight Whorley received 20 years in prison after becoming the first person convicted under a 2003 law, the federal PROTECT Act, that prohibits the possession of cartoons depicting child sex abuse. The 52-year-old Whorley, a Richmond man who is already a registered sex offender stemming from a previous pornography charge, was convicted last November after being caught in March 2004 receiving Japanese cartoons depicting children. Whorley’s decision to use a public computer at the Virginia Employment Commission to receive the images ultimately got him caught.


The March edition of “Newsmakers” reported that Debra Delgado is the new program executive “in charge of the disadvantaged youth division at Atlantic Philanthropies.” She is a program executive in that division, but she is not in charge of it. She reports to Disadvantaged Children and Youth Director Charles Roussel.