Newsmakers for September 2010

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Foundations

An-Me Chung, who handled much of the Charles Mott Foundation’s after-school portfolio for 10 years, has joined another behemoth in the youth work grant-making field: the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Chung will work on MacArthur’s Digital Learning and Media. The program, with a budget of $19 million in 2009, supports efforts to develop new digital learning environments and to research the effects of changing educational media on youth.

At Flint, Mich.-based Mott, Chung handled part of the Learning Beyond the Classroom portfolio under its larger Pathways Out of Poverty effort.

Chung joined Mott after serving as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Education, where she helped the department and Mott develop the framework for what would become the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Before that, Chung was associate director of the Wellesley, Mass.-based National Institute on Out-of-School Time.

Mott has not replaced Chung yet. Contact: MacArthur (312) 726-8000, www.macfound.org; Mott (810) 238-5651, www.mott.org.

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New York-based Atlantic Philanthropies, which is in the process of spending down its final assets, added two senior staff members during the summer months.

Fran Barrett is Atlantic Philanthropies' new capacity-building director. Barrett was executive director of the Community Resource Exchange, a management consulting firm she founded in 1979.

Barrett’s husband, Wayne Barrett, is a popular columnist for the Village Voice.

Atlantic also named Dall Forsythe, a professor at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, to be vice president for finance and operations.

Forsythe got his start as staff assistant to the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.). He served as budget director for the State of New York under former Gov. Mario Cuomo (D).

In order to honor the wishes of its benefactor, Chuck Feeney, Atlantic must spend down its remaining billions by 2016. The grant maker is led by CEO Gara LaMarche. Contact: (212) 916-7300, www.atlanticphilanthropies.org.

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Louis Caldera has been chosen by the Landsdowne, Va.-based Jack Kent Cooke Foundation as its new vice president of programs. The foundation has granted just over $100 million since its inception in 2000: $60 million in scholarships to low-income students and $45 million to nonprofits that provide similar scholarship assistance.

Caldera has a long history in politics, both state and national. A West Point graduate, he was a California State assemblyman from 1992 until 1997, and left that job to become chief operating officer at the Corporation for National and Community Service under President Bill Clinton. After only a year, he was named secretary of the Army.

Caldera returned to the White House to work for President Barack Obama as director of the White House Military Office, but that stint was short-lived. Caldera signed off on the now-infamous Air Force One fly-by over the Statue of Liberty, and chose not to alert New Yorkers or the media about the operation. Caldera resigned in May 2009 and joined the Center for American Progress the next month. Contact: (703) 723-8000, www.jkcf.org.

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Donna Frisby-Greenwood is the new program director for the Philadelphia area at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which supports journalism and community-serving programs in 26 towns and cities.

Frisby-Greenwood launched the Philadelphia school district’s Office of College and Career Awareness in 2004 and served as its executive director until July. Prior to 2004, she helped to create the country’s first online voter registration drive as executive director of Rock the Vote. Contact: (305) 908-2600, www.knightfoundation.org.

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Maryland Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald has accepted a new senior position at the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Donald is now vice president of the foundation’s Center for Effective Family Services and Systems. The spot became vacant when its former occupant, Patrick McCarthy, was tapped to succeed Doug Nelson as the CEO of Casey.

Donald became DHR secretary in March 2007, and before that was director of Washington, D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency from 2004 to 2005. Her Placing Matters Initiative in Maryland dramatically increased the number of children who were reunited with their families, particularly in Baltimore City. Contact: (410) 547-6600, www.aecf.org.

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One of the other Caseys – Casey Family Programs in Seattle – has hired Kimberly S. Ricketts as managing director for strategic consulting. Ricketts was the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families for former Gov. Jon Corzine (D).

Ricketts is in charge of the foundation’s support to California, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Nebraska and Puerto Rico. She will report to David Sanders, executive vice president for systems improvement.

Casey Family Programs funds direct service, consulting, policy and research activities related to its two overarching missions of improving foster care services and reducing the need for those services. Contact: (206) 282-7300, www.casey.org.


Nonprofits

Peter Kleinbard stepped down this month as executive director of the New York-based Youth Development Institute after nine years on the job. Succeeding Kleinbard at the head of the organization is YDI Director of Programs Sandra Escamilla. YDI helps local organizations and governments with efforts to implement youth development programs by assisting in program conception and staff training. It is a project of the Tides Center, a San Francisco-based group that serves as fiscal sponsor and covers back-office and legal services for socially progressive organizations and ventures.

Its work is rooted in New York City, but YDI is involved in national youth development initiatives such as Beacons, community centers located in schools  that provide before- and after-school activities for youth. Beacons got its start in New York but the concept has now spread to Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Escamilla joined the YDI staff in 2001, the same year as Kleinbard. YDI’s other leaders include Young Adult Initiatives Director Vivian Vazquez and program directors Sarah Zeller-Berkman and Annie Moyer. Kleinbard will remain with YDI as a senior consultant. Contact: (646) 943-8820, www.ydinstitute.org.

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Children’s Rights, a nonprofit that has engaged a number of states in class action lawsuits over the years, named William Meezan to serve as director of policy and research, filling the position left by Julie Farber in January.

Meezan, an author and researcher in the field of social work and child welfare services, was previously a professor of social work at The Ohio State University, and received the 2009 Pro Humanitate Literary Award from the North American Resource Center for Child Welfare.

Meezan was an expert witness in Children’s Rights’ class action suit against New Mexico. The organization was founded in 1995 by former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Marcia Lowry, who continues to serve as its executive director. Contact:  (212) 683-2210, www.childrensrights.org.

Cay Stratton is the newly elected board chair at the Philadelphia-based Public/Private Ventures. Stratton was a senior fellow at MDC, a nonprofit based in Chapel Hill, N.C., that focuses on removing barriers to jobs and education, particularly in the South.

Before that she spent 20 years in the United Kingdom, most recently serving as a special adviser to the U.K. Commission for Employment and Skills, which advises the prime minister on strategies related to employment, skills and productivity.

P/PV is led by President Nadya Shmavonian, who took over in January. Contact: (215) 557-4400, www.ppv.org.

Government

 Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary for Children and Families Carmen Nazario resigned on July 19 from the top job at the Administration for Children and Families, to deal with the illness of her husband, Alexis.

David Hansell, Nazario’s principal deputy assistant secretary, is serving as acting assistant secretary.

Some Washington insiders said they knew in advance of Nazario’s plans to leave.   HHS did not announce the change publicly, but HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained Nazario’s departure in an e-mail to ACF staff.

“Carmen has been in communication with Bill Corr and me about her husband Alexis’ battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and the possibility that she may need to return with him to Puerto Rico, where she can better manage his care and quality of life,” Sebelius wrote.

Alexis Nazario is a retired lawyer and a former U.S. Air Force pilot.

Nazario was nominated in May 2009, but was among President Barack Obama’s nominees who took a long time to receive Senate confirmation. She was confirmed in September of 2009. Before joining the administration, she was an assistant professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, where she taught social policy and coordinated the Social Work Practicum at the School of Social Work.

Hansell joined the Obama administration in June 2009. Prior to that, he served for two years as commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

This is his second stint as acting assistant secretary; he was placed in that role during Nazario’s wait for confirmation

This leaves the bench fairly thin at ACF when it comes to presidential appointees.  The agency was already getting by with one appointee, Bryan Samuels, to oversee its major operation, the Administration for Children, Youth and Families, which bafflingly is subordinate to ACF. Samuels is the lone appointee in charge of ACYF’s programs, the Children’s Bureau and the Family and Youth Services Bureau, which in previous administrations each had a presidential appointee of its own. Contact: (202) 401-9215, www.acf.hhs.gov.

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President Barack Obama announced few nominations during July and August, but did make a recess appointment noteworthy for youth work observers. Dr. Donald Berwick was named administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Berwick was CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a 19-year-old Cambridge, Mass.-based organization with about 100 staff members tasked with promoting best practices in health care reform and administration.

CMS is the central agency at the Department of Health and Human Services for Medicaid, Medicare and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), so Berwick will play a major role in executing the tenets of this year’s health care reform law. Contact: (877) 267-2323, www.cms.gov.

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The Corporation for National and Community Service announced the appointment of two top social-sector experts to key positions. Dr. Erwin Tan is the new director of Senior Corps and strategic adviser for veterans and military families, and John Kim is a senior adviser for change management.

Tan was assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and served as attending physician at the Division of Geriatric Medicine. He also helped lead a controlled trial for the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health that studied the academic benefits for children who have older volunteers in their classrooms.

Kim was director of grants management for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, where over the past few years he standardized the grant-making practices of each Casey program area. Contact: (202) 606-5000, www.cns.gov.

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Perhaps the most glaring opening that remains on Obama’s youth team is the administrator position at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Juvenile justice was expected by many to be a priority youth issue for the administration, but the Justice Department has struggled to find a candidate for the job whom they like and who wants to join the administration.

Twice it appeared that Justice was set to recommend a person to the White House: former Georgia juvenile judge Karen Baynes in December, and Texas Juvenile Probation Commission Executive Director Vicki Spriggs in June.

Both women withdrew their names from consideration; Baynes cited family issues, and Spriggs decided to stay in Texas to help her agency weather a looming budget storm.

Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson said in late July that Justice was completing a round of interviews with new candidates for the position. In the meantime, veteran OJJDP staff member Jeff Slowikowski continues to serve as the acting administrator, flanked by two deputy administrators, Melodee Hanes and Marilyn Roberts, as well as Senior Adviser Catherine Pierce. Contact: (202) 307–5911, www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov.

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Allison Blake, former director of the Institute for Families at the Rutgers School of Social Work, was sworn in this summer as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.

New Jersey created the Department of Children and Families in 2006, separating it from the Department of Human Services as part of a court settlement in a lawsuit brought by the New York-based advocacy organization Children’s Rights.

Gov. Chris Christie (R) nominated Black last month after his first appointee, Janet Rosenzweig, withdrew following criticism for her alleged involvement in sex research.

Before taking over the institute at Rutgers, Blake held a number of leadership positions at the New York-based Council on Accreditation, which promotes best-practice standards for human services agencies. Before that, she was a caseworker with New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services (now DCFS) for 18 years.

Blake assumed the agency’s top position as it remains under federal court supervision. In her most recent report to the court, monitor Judith Meltzer said the state had made significant improvements in the way it serves the 9,000 children committed to its care, although she notes there are still deficiencies in regular caseworker visits and assessments. Contact: (609) 292-1840, www.state.nj.us/dcf.

 

Crime

Jonathan Hartman, a 30-year-old youth volunteer for the Salvation Army in Johnson County, Ind., was sentenced to 70 years in prison for molesting three girls over the course of three years and for plotting to kill witnesses who planned to testify against him in the case.

All of the victims were between the ages of 12 and 15. Hartman, who served as a youth minister for the Salvation Army Church in the town of Greenwood, was arrested for the crimes in April 2009.