Newsmakers for November 2006

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Judy Nee officially became the first person to serve as the board president and CEO of the 18-year-old, Boston-based National AfterSchool Association (NAA), which provides a national voice for its 9,000 members. Nee has been president of the board for two years, overseeing its name change from the National School-Age Care Alliance, but the nonprofit has been without a true executive leader since Mark Carter left in the summer of 2005.

One of NAA’s primary missions is to sell the concept of after-school accreditation to programs across the country. Aside from Nee, it has only three full-time employees: Chief Operating Officer Peter Howe, Chief Financial Officer Mike English, and Stephanie Brumbeloe, who oversees program improvement and accreditation. Much of the grunt work on state and local projects is contracted out.

Nee will run the nonprofit from her home in Florida, although she will hardly be stationary in the near future. Her next two months will be spent almost entirely on the road at accreditation sites and NAA events.

NAA’s accreditation program, really the only game in town for after-school programs interested in such a standard, is eight years old. The process carries a reasonable price: $1,850 for up-front materials and work in the first year, with an annual reporting and renewal fee of $100.

It is pricier now than in NAA’s recent past, when the organization got itself in murky financial waters by essentially subsidizing the process. In 2002, with 1,000 more members than now, the group spent $474,693 on its accreditation program, while making only $153,291 in fees from it. The entire process had to be suspended while the organization underwent its name change and got back in the black.

To help offset costs for programs, NAA has focused on developing partnerships with states that will provide funding for the accreditation process. Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey have set money aside for accreditation. Contact: (800) 617-8242,


National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy Executive Director Rick Cohen – a fierce advocate for nonprofits and foundations who was unafraid to blast nonprofit mismanagement and ineffective philanthropy – retired in September after seven years of leading NCRP. He leaves the organization temporarily in the hands of Mary Lassen, CEO of the Boston-based Women’s Union, while the board searches for its next leader.

Youth Today asked Cohen what he was most proud of during his NCRP tenure. Among his thoughts:

Not compromising for the sake of being accepted in the nonprofit infrastructure. “We turned down opportunities to soften our message and ‘play ball,’ such as on the accountability issue, when it meant having to swallow our core beliefs.”

Opening the door to the concept of directing foundation excise tax money toward oversight of foundations by the IRS and states.

Pushing for tighter constraints on what a foundation can count toward its minimum 5 percent in charitable payouts, and getting major newspapers to realize “that foundations sit on a lot more money than they give out.”

Cohen regrets some things as well, such as not spending enough time promoting the virtues of core operating support, and never taking on “with any great success” the issue of non-grant uses for foundation endowments.

Overall, says Cohen, NCRP could be “legitimately credited with raising the quality of debate on nonprofit issues … because we were willing to take the issues into circles of people that were not typically ‘the usual suspects’ of people who agreed with NCRP.” (Read: conservatives.)

This is hardly a eulogy for the man’s career. Cohen intends to stay active in the field, and he will write regularly for Nonprofit Quarterly. Contact: (202) 387-9177,


Patrick Lawler, the 51-year-old CEO of Memphis-based Youth Villages, was named one of America’s best leaders by the Harvard Center for Public Leadership and U.S. News & World Report. Youth Villages provides services to about 11,000 emotionally and behaviorally troubled youth each year, using a multisystemic therapy strategy (MST) that focuses on helping the child and the family. Lawler took over Youth Villages in 1986 – when it was called Dogwood Villages, before it merged with Memphis Boys Town – and implemented the now-popular MST strategy 13 years ago.

The nonprofit’s budget expanded from $900,000 in 1986 to $90 million this year, with 1,300 employees at 40 sites in six Southern states and Washington, D.C. Contact: (901) 252-7600,


Also making the top leaders’ list was City Year CEO Alan Khazei, who helped create the Boston-based national service organization 20 years ago— and who left in October. In a letter to supporters, Khazei said he will pursue several efforts to promote and discuss the success of City Year. That will include a forthcoming book and a stint as a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, where he is leading a study group on social entrepreneurship and national service.

Co-founder and President Michael Brown will absorb Khazei’s role at City Year. The organization, one of the largest partners of the national AmeriCorps program, estimates that it has gotten 15 million hours of service from 9,500 corps members. Contact: (617) 927-2441,


Maureen Curley is in as president of the Providence, R.I.-based Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,000 university and college presidents that promotes civic engagement and service-learning in higher education. Curley, who replaces the organization’s decade-long leader, Liz Hollander, previously served as executive director of the Massachusetts Service Alliance and helped launch Bridgestar, a Boston-based network of nonprofit leaders that is part of Bridgespan, the nonprofit consulting giant. Contact: (401) 867-3950,


YMCA of the USA elected four new members to its board of directors last month: Virginia Bales Harris, former chief financial officer of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Ann Ostergaard, whose Pittsburgh-based firm provides human resource consulting to nonprofits; Michael Scott, former president of the board of the Chicago Public Schools; and Judah Sommer, managing director at Goldman Sachs. Contact: (800) 872-9622,


After 38 years at the New York-based Ford Foundation (assets: $11.5 billion), President Susan Berresford will retire on Jan. 1, 2008. Berresford has led the grant maker for the past 12 years. The board will meet in January to discuss the search for the foundation’s ninth president. Contact: (212) 573-5128,


The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (assets: $5.5 billion) hired Brandee Butler as one of its human rights and international justice program officers. Butler served as an attorney for the Alliance for Children’s Rights, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps low-income youth and youth in the child welfare system gain access to education and health care. Before that, she worked on child trafficking issues at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Contact: (312) 726-8000,


Gail Mumford will replace Raquel Mariscal as a senior associate for juvenile justice reform at the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation (assets: $3 billion). Mumford has a career’s worth of experience in detention reform, after working in the much-heralded Missouri Department of Youth Services for 23 years, most recently as director of treatment services. “I want to do some front-end work with the system,” says Mumford, who will work with Bart Lubow and the staff of Casey’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. Contact: (410) 547-6600,


The New York-based William T. Grant Foundation (assets: $275 million) announced the launch of a new small-grants program called Youth Service Improvement Grants. It will support 20 to 25 activities a year among nonprofits in the New York metropolitan area to improve the quality of services for people ages 8 to 25. Each agency will receive in the neighborhood of $25,000. Contact: (212) 752-0071,


Patty Stonesifer, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced at Independent Sector’s annual conference in Minneapolis last month that Hilary Pennington, co-founder of Jobs for the Future (JFF), will join the $31.7 billion grant-making behemoth in January as its director of strategic planning for the United States.

Pennington and Arthur White started JFF, a research and policy development organization focusing on education and work force development, in 1983. She served as CEO for 21 years before handing over the reins to the current leader, Marlene Seltzer.

Pennington was a member of President Clinton’s transition team in 1992, and led the development of the School to Work Opportunities Act, which has provided more than $1 billion to help states and communities support youth transitioning from high school to postsecondary education.

The move to the Gates Foundation is a logical one. After stepping out of JFF’s top spot, Pennington headed the Early College High School Initiative, which JFF coordinates for Gates and a number of other funders. Contact: (206) 709-3100,


Case Foundation CEO Jean Case, wife of AOL co-founder Steve Case, was named chairwoman of President Bush’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, which brings together people from the world of business, entertainment and government to “promote and recognize outstanding volunteer service and to raise awareness of the many ways in which Americans can help meet the vital needs of their communities through civic engagement and service.”

The council apparently will not promote outstanding budgets for such endeavors. Asked if it will confer with the administration on spending – Bush asked for a cut in AmeriCorps spending for 2007 – Case replied that the council is there only to “champion” the cause. Contact: (202) 606-5000,


Youth Today has routinely covered the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI), one of the first personal touches Bush put on his presidency.

There was the strange and untimely departure of its initial director, John DiIulio, and the wacky faith-based recipient disclosure list that cited “the City of Saint Louis” as a faith-based grantee.

Now, one of the early leaders in the office, 37-year-old liberal-turned-evangelical David Kuo, has called into question the motives and practices of the faith-based initiative in his new book, Tempting Faith.

Kuo, former deputy director of the office, was once a liberal activist who experienced an internal sea change after his impregnated girlfriend had an abortion. He developed a brain tumor in 2003 and expects to live no more than 10 years.

His book contends that the administration thought it could use grants from the office to bolster support among religious groups that might otherwise lean left, and that faith-based groups were given absurd scores on their grant applications. Boys & Girls Clubs of America received a score of 70 in the first round of grant applications, Kuo writes, while religious groups “with little more than a post office box” hit the high 80s and 90s.

He recalls one grant review panelist joking, “When I saw one of those non-Christian groups in the set I was reviewing, I just stopped looking at them and gave them a zero.”

The administration and several former officials have vehemently denied Kuo’s assertions.

Kuo does claim that when it came to unreasonable choices on grantees, the White House “really did have nothing to do with it.” The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kuo says, selected peer review panels stacked with people from the faith-based policy world. Sounds like the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” defense, considering that, at last check, the White House ran HHS.

At Youth Today, our first sense that clandestine acts were afoot came upon the release of the first faith-based grants. We asked the White House for the names of recipients, as well as the names of unsuccessful applicants, with plans to compare the percentage of groups in any religion that got money with that religion’s percentage of the applicant pool.

Access denied, the press office said; the White House was not required to release names of rejected grantees. Contact: OFBCI (202) 456-6708,


In the September edition of Newsmakers, an item about the passing of June Bucy misspelled her first name as Jane.