Atlantic Philanthropies Hires New Children and Youth Director

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The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international grant maker with assets of $3.3 billion, has hired Donna Lawrence to oversee its disadvantaged children and youth program, which last year made 50 grants totaling $107 million to programs in the United States, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Bermuda.

Lawrence's resume includes 25 years of foundation leadership positions and youth work experience as an organizer, caseworker, administrator and policymaker. She is currently the executive director of the New York-based Riggio Foundation, which was started in 1994 by Barnes and Noble Founder Leonard Riggio and holds assets of around $78 million. Its largest youth-related grantee over the years has been the Children's Defense Fund (CDF).

Before coming to Riggio, Lawrence was executive director of the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's New York office.

Her early career stops were more youth-relevant.

Until 1995, Lawrence was executive director of Family Dynamics, a New York City-based social service and family support agency with a $2.5 million budget and 75 member staff that served about 9,000 families annually. That agency merged with SCO Family Services in 1997.

Lawrence left Family Dynamics in 1995 to become the director of the Children's Defense Fund's New York State office, then served as the organization's national vice president of field operations. She was former New York Mayor David Dinkins' senior advisor on children and youth when he was Manhattan Borough President, and then served as director of the city's office of children and youth when he was elected mayor.

Lawrence currently sits on the city's child fatality review team.

"Her accomplishments in the philanthropic, government and nonprofit sectors and her proven skills as a leader, manager, policy maker and advocate will be a tremendous asset to Atlantic," said Atlantic Vice President, Marcia Smith, in a statement.

Lawrence will join the foundation on November 24.