The Children’s Partnership, a small but polished advocacy organization, is expanding again. It was founded in 1993 by Wendy Lazarus, a former health policy director of the Children’s Defense Fund, and Laurie Lipper, who (like Lazarus) has worked for Oakland, Calif.-based Children Now. The Partnership works the rich vein between broad-based public policy and direct-service implementation. Among its recent ventures: a Toolkit for Action aimed at governors and legislators to help them make technology available to low-income neighborhoods, and implementing a strategy that the Children’s Partnership calls Express Lane Eligibility, which is designed to fast-track poor kids into reimbursable health care services.
Comparitively itty-bitty Children’s Partnership ($800,000 annual budget) is also steering a “100 Percent Campaign,” along with the Children’s Defense Fund and Children Now, which seeks to “simplify the health care eligibility maze for roughly 5 million low-income children and their parents” (www.100percentcampaign.org).
Children’s Partnership operates through the Tides Foundation, a “holding company” for progressive nonprofits. The Partnership’s Santa Monica staff of eight is headed by Lazarus, while Lipper and two others work in a new D.C. office at 200 P St. NW, #330. Contact: (202) 429-0033, (310) 260-1220, or www.childrenspartnership.org.
More is on the way to Washington D.C. via Florida than just the next U.S. president. Tallahassee trial lawyer Ken Connor is the new president of the Family Research Council, a leading conservative public policy/lobbying shop with 120 staff. He replaces acting CEO Chuck Donovan – a Democrat and former Reagan-era White House official and co-author of “Blessed Are the Barren: A Social History of Planned Parenthood” – who will remain at FRC. Donovan has held the always psychologically besieged FRC fort (current reported budget deficit: $3 million) since Gary Bauer departed for a run for the GOP nomination for president. That campaign will best be remembered for Bauer’s not flip-flopping on the issues, while flipping himself (along with a pancake) off a New Hampshire stage. Bauer, after being pancaked by Gov. George W. Bush, is now in Virginia running the campaign for Working Families PAC and the nonprofit American Values.
Bauer isn’t the only FRC president to be flattened by a Bush. Connor, 53, a former chairman of Florida Right to Life, ran for Florida’s GOP gubernatorial nomination in 1994 and was defeated by Jeb Bush. An adoptive parent, Connor will commute to D.C. until the school year ends. Besides, as a former chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics, things have been far more interesting for trial lawyers in Tallahassee than in D.C. Contact: (202) 393-2100, or www.frc.org.
FRC is joined at the hip with Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family (2000 budget: $116 million), run by James Dobson. In 1990 Bauer and Dobson co-authored “Children at Risk, The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Our Kids.” But as Bauer was off running for president, Dobson’s co-host on their radio show, Focus on the Family Senior Vice President Mike Trout, was flipping more than pancakes. Trout, 53 and a 19-year employee of Focus on the Family, resigned after revealing an extramarital affair. When Trout joined the Focus staff after it relocated from Los Angeles, he was one of 30 employees. Now 1,300 work at Focus’ modern campus-like headquarters, which welcomed its one-millionth visitor a few months ago. The Dobson-Trout 30-minute daily broadcast reached an estimated 1.5 million people in North America. Trout quit, he told the Colorado Springs Gazette, “because his behavior violated moral standards that Focus on the Family employees agree to follow.” In a November letter to supporters, Dobson wrote that fund raising has “been rather lean for us for unknown reasons.” Contact: (800) 232-6459, or www.family.org.
Tommy Wells, the new chair of the National Organization of State Associations for Children (NOSAC), will soon be one busy guy. Since 1991 Wells has been the executive director of the D.C. Consortium for Child Welfare, representing 20 nonprofit service providers in navigating one of the nation’s most dysfunctional public agencies, D.C.’s Child and Family Services Division. Wells, then a child protection worker, testified against the management in 1989 in the La Shawn vs. Barry lawsuit which eventually sent the agency into federal receivership. But that “victory” has yet to accrue to D.C. children. So far, the agency has devoured two federal receivers: Jerry Miller, a former top official in Massachusetts, Illinois and Pennsylvania, and Ernestine Jones, whose arrestingly miserable job performance landed her briefly in jail. On Election Day Wells won a seat on a newly configured and largely powerless nine-member D.C. School Board.
As chair of NOSAC (which has state association members in 26 states, D.C. and Ontario), Wells and his colleagues are grappling with how to get access to Social Security Act Title IV-E training funds – they provide a 75 percent federal match to state training dollars – which now go exclusively to public agencies. Two other issues on NOSAC’s agenda: the recruitment and retention of direct-service workers and better articulating the rationale for group care in “appropriate” cases, says Wells. Contact: (202) 547-1589.
Ahoy mate! Add another retired admiral to the bridge of Girl Scouts of the USA, docked on the east bank of New York harbor. Hired as COO for the 3.6-million member organization is retired admiral Jackie E. Barnes. The former New Jersey Girl Scout will report up the chain of command to retired admiral Marsha Johnson-Evans. The Girl Scouts’ D.C. office has a new national director of advocacy and government relations, Laurie Westley. While the Texas-based Boy Scouts of America manages to collide with every available navigational hazard, the Girl Scouts have steered a calm and steady course through America’s treacherous cultural waters. Contact: (800) 478-7248, or www.girlscouts.org.
High/Scope, a Ypsilanti, Mich.-based education and youth development nonprofit, has a new president: Arthur Stellar, formerly superintendent of schools in Kingston, N.Y. A former Eagle Scout, Stellar has spent his career in the public school systems in Ohio, Oklahoma, New York, Maryland and Massachusetts (as acting superintendent in Boston). He succeeds David Weikart, who founded High/Scope in 1963. Its adolescent division, often overshadowed by High/Scope’s bent towards classroom learning, just received a $420,000 three-year grant from the Detroit-based Skillman Foundation (assets: $600 million) to promote after-school and summer youth development programs in the low-income Nolan/State Fair area of Detroit. There, paid and volunteer youth workers will receive extensive training in High/Scope’s “youth-centered approach” to service provision. Contact: (734) 485-2000, or www.highscope.org.
Abandoning D.C. for cooler climes, the Campus Outreach Opportunity League (COOL) has set up shop in Boston, still a climatic improvement over its original home in Minneapolis. The group promotes college students’ involvement in community service. Last spring it went through a leadership and staff meltdown. Board chair Bobby Hackett, a program officer at the Bonner Foundation in Princeton, N.J., cleaned house and decreed the shift to Boston. Not making the northward move: any real money in the bank. Visions of affluence were dashed when a renewal “national direct” grant request of $1.2 million to the Corporation for National Service was nixed.
Still, COOL has managed to assemble an experienced duo equipped with big job titles to offset the lack of cash. President Dawn Hutchinson was COOL’s conference coordinator a decade ago, and later co-founded playground-building KABOOM with Darrell Hammond. Most recently she’s raised money for Boston-based Jumpstart. Her Jumpstart colleague, Ariane Hoy, has also jumped to COOL as CEO. Says Hutchinson, “We’re busting our butts” to grow from 150 member-colleges to 500 by year’s end. The centerpiece of the effort will be its annual conference to be held in Boston March 16-18. Contact: (617) 695-2665, or www.cool2serve.org.
The ousted COOL-in-chief, Melissa Kendrick, has found gainful employment as the deputy director of the American Youth Work Center (AYWC), the nonprofit parent of Youth Today (circ. 62,000). She’ll handle the agency’s growing 16-year-old International Practical Training Program with the United Kingdom, Canada and Jamaica, as well as overall management of the agency. AYWC has an annual budget of $1.8 million and has nine full-time staff, almost all engaged in reporting for and publishing Youth Today. Kendrick was president of COOL for four years, director of Community Kitchens in Birmingham, Ala., and a juvenile probation officer for three years in San Diego. Contact: (202) 785-0764, or www.youthtoday.org.
The Chicago-based National Runaway Switchboard, the crisis line of choice for about 150,000 teen callers per year, has a new director, Maureen Blaha. Blaha has spent the last decade as director of Parents Care & Share of Illinois, a statewide child abuse prevention program within the Children’s Home & Aid Society of Illinois. Prior to moving to Chicago, she was director of external relations for the Massachusetts Office for Children in Boston. She succeeds Lora Thomas, director for the past 11 years of the federally funded ($995,000 this fiscal year) telephone counseling program.
The agency, known as Metro Help prior to winning its award under the Runaway Youth Act in 1975, has had its contract renewed every three years despite stiff competition from other national hotline operators. Contact: (773) 880-9860. Crisis Line: (800) 621-4000, or www.nrscrisisline.org.