Newsmakers for August 2008

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Kevin McCartney

Kevin McCartney secured $82 million for Boys & Girls Clubs programs in less than two years of heading state government relations, while also serving as the manager of the organization’s all-important Washington office, according to the Atlanta-based Boys & Girls Clubs of America. BGCA has now made McCartney’s fundraising role permanent by naming him senior vice president of government relations. His main task for President Roxanne Spillett: Secure federal dollars for programs around the country, while keeping efforts up at the state level.

McCartney, who has worked for BGCA for 25 years, was hired and trained by Robbie Callaway, the man largely credited with opening up the federal tap for BGCA when he ran BGCA government relations before leaving in October 2006. BGCA said in a recent press release that Callaway is still “actively engaged in helping the organization secure government funding,” which can only help McCartney’s chances of success.

McCartney is the second full-time person hired for the position since 2006. Spillett hired lobbyist Lorraine Howerton five months after Callaway left, choosing not to hire Callaway’s protégé, Steve Salem. Salem bolted to run the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in Baltimore. When Howerton was shown the door in May 2007, McCartney was placed in charge of government relations with interim status.

It isn’t as if BGCA is hurting; thus far, it has proven relatively recession-proof compared with the rest of the youth work field, bringing in more than $60 million in federal money each year on top of lucrative corporate partnerships and McCartney’s draws from the states. But domestic spending for youth programs – particularly dollars coming by way of federal earmarks – is in ever more jeopardy as the economy staggers and the war marches on.

BGCA’s money is kind of, sort of, an earmark. For decades, a line item has authorized spending on “boys and girls clubs,” which technically could be given to some other program. That never happened until fiscal 2008, when longtime BGCA collaborator Mark Picarilli scored half of the $60 million directed at BGCA to help establish boys and girls clubs through his own firm, First Pic.

BGCA is authorized to receive up to $95 million in 2009; McCartney says he hopes to receive at least $90 million of it. Contact: (404) 487-5700,; Office of Government Relations (202) 478-6200.

Peg Whalen

The Milwaukee, Wis.-based Alliance for Children and Families has hired Peg Whalen to be director of evaluation and research services.

Whalen spent the past 10 years conducting evaluations at the Michigan State University School of Social Work, including a multi-year examination of the state’s Family Group Decision Making sites. (See Snapshots, December 2007.) That program has been a highlight for the state’s beleaguered child welfare system, which is headed to court to fight a lawsuit filed by New York litigation group Children’s Rights. (Only one defendant has ever endeavored to go the distance with Children’s Rights in court. Washington, D.C., fought and lost badly in 1991).

At the Alliance, which under CEO Peter Goldberg has developed a staff of 40 and an annual operating budget just under $6 million, Whalen will develop what the organization calls “a broad evaluation and research services agenda.” Her primary task, she says, will be helping any of the Alliance’s 368 members that endeavor to perform evaluations.

Beyond that, she is interested in carrying over a survey she did of kinship caregivers in Michigan that examined the motivations of and costs incurred by relatives caring for youth in the child welfare system. A national survey on the same subject, or at least one that covers Wisconsin, is a possibility, Whalen says.

Whalen replaces Tom Lengyel, who is now associate director of research with the Denver-based American Humane Association. Contact: (414) 359-1040,

Larry Murray will be vice president of youth programs for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), a Columbia University-housed nonprofit led by Joseph Califano Jr., former U.S. secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

Murray was promoted from his role as director of youth programs, where since 1996 he has developed and overseen implementation of CASA’s Striving Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows (CASASTART), a community-based school program aimed at preventing substance abuse and delinquency among high-risk adolescents between 8 and 13. CASASTART has 146 sites in 51 cities. Contact: (212) 841-5200,

The Chicago-based YMCA of the USA hired David Thomas to be its first vice president for diversity and inclusion. Some diversity tasks had been assigned to lower management at the organization, but Thomas says his hiring signals a “broader” and more “strategic” level of attention to the issue.

“This is an organization that touches 20 million people each year in thousands of communities, all getting more diverse,” Thomas says. “Cultural competency is critical for all of the Ys.”

It would be hard to find someone with more experience on the subject. Thomas was vice president of diversity for LaSalle Bank Corp. in Chicago, and held the same job for Sprint, where he worked for 17 years. Contact: (800) 872-9622,

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) named Julie Kantor to be its national vice president. Kantor co-founded NFTE New England with Mike Caslin, the national group’s outgoing vice president, who is leaving to pursue his own entrepreneurial ambitions (which are, no surprise, centered on social good).

Kantor has served on the frontline and behind the scenes for NFTE. As a certified entrepreneurship teacher, she has taught entrepreneurship skills to more than 1,000 youth. She also ran the NFTE Greater Washington Program Office for 13 years and has helped raise more than $12 million for the NFTE movement. Contact: (212) 232-3333,

Clearwater, Fla.-based Eckerd Youth Alternatives (EYA), led by CEO David Dennis, has spent 40 years developing a reputation for working with troubled youth, particularly those who have had contact with the juvenile justice system. The organization operates some 40 programs in eight states, with an annual budget of just under $92 million.

But an immediate need in its Florida backyard prompted the organization to try its hand at a new service: foster care. Eckerd will take in the 3,600 youth who previously were served by Sarasota YMCA, which surrendered its $49 million contract with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) after a state review found major flaws in its services.

EYA spokesman Tom Denham says the organization has brought in someone to oversee the project. Marcie Biddleman was the executive director of Heartland for Children, one of DCF’s 22 other private partners in the foster care business. Gov. Charlie Crist’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection named Biddleman to the state’s Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Advisory Council in December 2007. Contact: (727) 461-2990,

Kathi Crowe will replace Robin Nixon as executive director of the National Foster Care Coalition. Crowe, who chaired the coalition’s board of directors, served most recently as a consultant to the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. She was also an adjunct faculty member at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work, and at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.

Nixon steps down after eight years at the helm, during which she shepherded the group from a coalition within Casey Family Programs to an independent, 40-member organization. Contact: (202) 280-2039,

The Washington-based Academy for Educational Development has hired Becky Smerdon as principal scientist and deputy director of its U.S. Education and Workforce Development Group. Smerdon most recently worked as a senior research associate for the Education Policy Center of the Urban Institute. Contact: (202) 884-8000,

Byron Garret

The National PTA used its June national convention to introduce new CEO Byron Garret. Garret is the first male to hold the top position for the 5.5 million-member organization, which was originally the National Congress of Mothers.

It’s a male revolution over there these days. PTA elected its first male president – Chuck Saylors, a construction industry executive from Greenville County, S.C. – in June 2007.

Garret has a long history in youth work. Since 2005, he has been the national program leader for youth development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National 4-H Headquarters. Before that, Garrett served as Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano’s liaison to the White House on faith and community initiatives and director of the Division for Community and Youth Development at the state’s Office for Children, Youth and Families. Garrett founded and led two charter schools in Arizona before joining the governor’s staff.

Garret takes over for Warlene Gary, who retires after five years at the helm of National PTA and 35 years in the youth and family services business. Contact: (312) 670-6782,

The Chicago-based National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (UDL) named Scott Deatherage to be executive director. Deatherage was director of debate for the communications studies department at Northwestern University, where he coached the university’s debate team to seven national championships in 14 years.

UDL helps build the strength of debate leagues in cities that already have some infrastructure in place, and also works to help nonprofits and schools get debate programs under way in cities where most schools don’t offer them. The league, formed in 1997 by the Open Society Institute, has 311 high schools and 51 middle schools. The organization plans to launch new leagues in eight cities this fall.

Compared with a number of other youth work strategies in urban areas, debate’s major advantage is that it can be effective at low cost, according to UDL. The cost of a full UDL season is $750 per youth, according to the organization’s internal evaluation.

Deatherage takes over for Leonard Gail, who was serving as interim executive director and chairs UDL’s board of directors. Founder Les Lynn was the last permanent executive director; he now consults for the national office while serving as the director of its Chicago debate league. Contact: (312) 427-0175,

Tim Delaney will be the next executive director of the Washington-based National Council of Nonprofit Associations. He replaces Audrey Alvarado, who leaves this month to pursue other options in the field after nine years leading the council.

Delaney is the founder and president of the Center for Leadership, Ethics & Public Service, a Phoenix-based organization. Contact: (202) 962-0322,

Karol Friedman will join New York-based ORT America – which helps youth at its 400 U.S. sites and in other countries become economically self-sufficient – as its director of development. Friedman goes to ORT from Southfield, Mich., where she was president of career development and employment services for Jewish Vocational Service. Contact: (212) 505-7700,

Ian Storrar is the new chief operating officer at, a Washington-based national youth civic engagement organization run by CEO Maya Enista. Storrar comes to the organization, for which he has served as an adviser since 2007, from Common Cause, where he was director of youth and volunteer programs for three years. also added a trio of program assistants: Nicholas Troiano, Katie Taylor and Kaelen Kennedy, all recent college graduates. Contact: (202) 736-5703,

Veteran Washington Post reporter and editor Nancy Lewis has joined Youth Today as its first managing editor. Lewis spent 27 years with The Post, and in her tenure as a reporter covered a number of juvenile justice-related issues in the city: Washington’s bloody drug wars during the 1980s and 1990s, teens charged as adults, and, through a special arrangement with the city’s chief juvenile judge, the closed court proceedings of delinquent and abused children. Lewis was most recently the food editor for The Post’s Extra editions.

At Youth Today, led by Publisher Bill Treanor and Editor Patrick Boyle, Lewis will play a major role in helping us get far more news into these pages and onto our growing website.

The hiring and the Web improvements are two of the many changes underway thanks to generous grants from Atlantic Philanthropies ($250,000) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($750,000 over three years). Among other things, Youth Today will create a beat to cover efforts to help youth make the transfer from school to adulthood, such as community college and job training programs. Contact: (202) 785-0764,


Richard Leigh Jr. and Robert Watt have been elected to the board of trustees at the Seattle-based Casey Family Programs, a nonprofit (assets: nearly $2.5 billion) that provides and strives to improve foster care.

Leigh is a corporate attorney, as well as a strategic adviser at Vulcan Inc. While working at Vulcan, he led the acquisition of the Rose Garden Arena for the National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers.

Watt was the vice president of state and local government relations at the Boeing Co. through 2007. He was previously CEO of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, as well as Seattle’s deputy mayor under Mayor Norm Rice. Contact: (206) 282-7300,


Frances Harding

Frances Harding will direct the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Harding has worked for the state of New York for 26 years, most recently as associate commissioner of the division of prevention and recovery for the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Contact: (240) 276-2581,


An Austin, Texas, businessman and child advocate has been charged with six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Billy Dan Carroll, 53, who has served as a court-appointed special advocate for the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Travis County, is being held on $2 million bail.

Carroll was first charged with sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl. When police searched his home for a second time, they found a videotape in which he appears to be sexually assaulting children of different ages. He now stands accused of assaulting eight children between ages 2 and 16, and two adult females. At least one child and both adults appeared to be unconscious in videotapes found by the police.

Nick Drymalski contributed to this report.