Patrick Corvington, a mid-level manager with Baltimore's Annie E. Casey Foundation was named yesterday by President Barack Obama to be the new CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the parent of AmeriCorps and other volunteer efforts.
CNCS has been without a permanent leader for more than 10 months and still lacks a choice for chief financial officer. There are also numerous vacancies on the 15-member board of directors, even though Obama has signaled that public service is one of the hallmarks of his administration.
Unlike the announcement for Obama's original choice - Maria Eitel, a Nike vice president - at a large public ceremony, Corvington's selection was released late Friday in a simple press release from the White House, along with various other selections, including the new head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the new director of the Institute of Justice.
Also unlike Eitel, who contributed more than $26,000 to the Obama presidential effort, Corvington gave $250 to the Obama campaign - on the day of the election.
Corvington is better known in the public service sector than Eitel, who withdrew before Senate confirmation because of health problems, but he also seems to lack experience leading a major foundation or similar organization. The budget for CNCS is expected to rise to nearly $6 billion within five years, and Congress has repeatedly faulted the corporation for its budgeting and management.
The White House announcement describes Corvington as a recognized expert in nonprofit sector leadership and capacity issues, new and emerging philanthropy and volunteerism.
CNCS Board Chairman Alan D. Solomont, who is awaiting confirmation to be the new ambassador to Spain, and Board Vice Chairman Stephen Goldsmith, who will succeed Solomont as chairman, issued a joint statement saying, "Patrick's management experience, expertise in capacity building and understanding of the value of service today will prove invaluable" as CNCS expands.
Corvington serves as a senior associate in the Leadership Development Unit, but is not among the top officials at Annie E. Casey. He is a senior adviser to Casey Executive Vice President Ralph Smith, who manages the day to day operations of the foundation, which is known for its work to find alternatives to detention for juveniles and for its work in tracking the state of America's children.
Before joining AECF, Corvington was executive director of Washington-based Innovations Network, a small nonprofit that helps other nonprofits with planning and evaluation tools.
The new Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act puts an emphasis on innovation, through a new White House office and a fund that would be as much as $50 million. The fiscal year 2010 budget for CNCS has yet to clear the Senate.
Corvington, a native of Haiti who grew up in Africa, came to the United States as a teenager, graduated from the University of Maryland and earned an M.A. in public policy from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is a resident of Takoma Park, Md., a suburb of Washington.
He has worked with migrant workers on the East Coast, served as a advocate for adjudicated youth as interim director of the Sykesville Group Shelter Home and has worked as a patient advocate in a community-based HIV/AIDS clinic. He serves on the board of Echoing Green, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and the advisory board of the American Humanics Nonprofit Workforce Coalition.