Newsmakers for February 2003

National Nonprofits

The D.C.-based National Network for Youth, the trade group of service providers for runaway and homeless youth, continues its wobbly climb from financial and organizational woes (See “Nose Knows,” July). The network is still searching for a permanent leader after dumping Brenda Russell last July and undergoing drastic financial cuts. Brought in as CEO is Victoria Wagner. Wagner is “on loan” from YouthCare, a multi-service agency in Seattle, where she has been CEO since 1986. She replaces another interim CEO, Gretchen Noll, who will return to her position heading HIV/AIDS issues for the network. Board member Larry Zippin reports that the search for a permanent director will end by April 1. Some who know Wagner think it has ended already. Contact NNFY: (202) 783-7949,

The Hamilton Fish Institute – the school violence prevention think tank based in George Washington University that received a $3.4 million earmark from the U.S. Justice Department last year – named Beverly Caffee Glenn as its new director. Glenn was director for human and civil rights at the National Education Association, supervising a safe schools project. Hamilton Fish was founded with help from Congress in 1997, and uses universities to test violence prevention strategies across the country. Contact: (202) 496-2200,

The Children’s Aid Society, a New York City agency with a $70 million budget and $217 million in assets, named C. Warren “Pete” Moses to replace Executive Director Phil Coltoff. Coltoff, who has served as executive director for 21 years, will maintain CEO status, leading the organization’s policy and long-term planning, while Moses (formerly the organization’s chief operating officer) will shoulder day-to-day operations. The society oversees national programs on community schools and on adolescent sexuality and pregnancy prevention. Contact: (212) 949-4800,

Elsewhere in the Big Apple, Lai-Wan Wong started her tenure as the director for programs for the I Have a Dream Foundation. The 16-year-old organization provides long-term mentoring and financial assistance for groups of children living in low-income areas. Wong comes from the New York City public school system, where she was a special assistant to the deputy chancellor for instruction. Contact: (212) 293-5480,

Following the departure last month of Sara Melendez, its president since 1994, Independent Sector has appointed Peter Shiras to fill in as interim CEO. Shiras is IS’s senior vice president for programs. The search committee hopes to finish conducting interviews “within a month or two,” says spokeswoman Patricia Nash. Independent Sector also has announced the appointment of five new board members: Angela Glover Blackwell, president of the Oakland, Calif-based PolicyLink; David Eisner, vice president of New York-based AOL Time Warner; Kevin Klose, CEO of D.C.-based National Public Radio; Paula Van Ness, CEO of the Phoenix-based Make-A-Wish Foundation; and Gary Yates, CEO of the California Wellness Foundation in Woodland Hills. Contact: (202) 467-6100,

D.C.-based anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids appointed two new vice presidents, David Kass and Jeff Kirsch, in early 2003. Kass was the deputy assistant secretary for legislation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Kirsch served for 20 years as deputy executive director at D.C.-based Families USA, a national consumer health organization. Contact: (202) 776-0027,

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy hired Jeff Krehely as its new research director. He was a special assistant to Atlantic Philanthropies President Harvey Dale in New York, and before that was a researcher at the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy in Washington. Contact: (202) 387-9177,

The D.C.-based Children’s Defense Fund hired Wylie Chen to head its new youth outreach program, which seeks to recruit college and high school students to become involved in their communities. Chen is a University of Oregon graduate, fresh off directing an English program in Taiwan. Contact: (202) 628-8787,

The Chicago-based YMCA of the USA named Audrey Haynes to be director of the government relations office. Haynes comes from the D.C. office for the state of Kentucky, where she was also director. Contact: (312) 977-0031,

Guidestar, the Williamsburg, Va.-based group providing financial information on United States nonprofits, has opened a D.C. office to bolster its public affairs efforts. Tapped to head that office is Dan Moore, the registrar of charities for the state of New Mexico. Contact: (757) 229-4631,

Also opening a D.C. office is the Flint, Mich.-based Afterschool Alliance. To run the new office, the Alliance brought in U.S. Department of Education veteran Jennifer Rinehart. Rinehart spent the past two of her six years at the department as project officer for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, a program that Afterschool Alliance president Judy Samelson says is being mishandled by the Bush administration.

“The White House and Congress have backed away from the steady and sensible growth of after-school funding … mapped out in the No Child Left Behind Act,” Samelson said in a statement on the new office.

Rinehart will be assisted by program director Della Cronin, who was a communications manager for the Clinton, Miss.-based MCI
WorldCom Foundation. Contact Afterschool Alliance: (202) 296-9378,

Another after-school agency making strides is the After School Corp. (TASC), a 5-year-old New York City group funded by philanthropist George Soros that has helped establish hundreds of after-school programs in the state. With a $75,000 grant from the Marion, Mass.-based Garfield Foundation, TASC is launching an initiative designed to help schools and community-based organizations around the country replicate its New York programs. Contact TASC: (212) 547-6950,

Childhelp USA, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based national nonprofit helping to serve the needs of abused and neglected children, appointed Amy Harrison to be chief administrative officer. Harrison will have to get used to having a boss: A year ago, she was chairman, president and chief operating officer of the for-profit Children’s Comprehensive Services in Nashville, which was recently bought out by Keystone Education and Youth Services. Contact: (480) 922-8212,

The National Council for Adoption, the Alexandria, Va.-based network of national adoption agencies, made the presidency of Thomas Atwood permanent last month. Atwood oversaw public policy and research, but two months ago became interim president after Patrick Purtill left in October to become director of faith-based and community initiatives at the Justice Department. Contact: (703) 299-6633,

Rachel Gragg joined the D.C.-based Center for Community Change as a senior policy analyst. Gragg, who most recently served as an adviser to the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), will be a senior policy analyst on jobs and family income security. Contact: (202) 342-0567,

A number of financial magazines and watchdog groups started the new year by recognizing what they considered the nation’s best charities. Using a variety of scoring systems – mostly centering on the amount of money from fund raising that goes to services – Worth and Forbes magazines and Charity Navigator (CN) all included a number of youth-related organizations.

Worth’s Top 100 Charities included a number of youth work heavyweights: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Child Welfare League of America, YMCA of the USA, Children’s Defense Fund and the Girl Scouts of the USA. Also included in the top 100: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, National Crime Prevention Council, National Mental Health Association, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, KaBoom! and National Youth Employment Coalition.

Charity Navigator named Boys & Girls Clubs of America one of its Consistently Excellent Charities, and identified the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and American Indian College Fund as two of the fastest expanding charities in the nation.

Both CN and Worth also took time to finger some questionable charities. Among CN’s “10 Charities Stockpiling Your Money” was the New York- and D.C.-based Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The “10 Charities in Deep Financial Trouble” included DARE America (See Report Roundup for this month) and United Children’s Fund, a D.C.-based charity among the network of nonprofits tied to the Jackson, Mich.-based National Child Safety Council (See “Bingo Jackpot,” October).


The San Francisco-based Walter and Elise Haas Fund (assets: $213 million) hired activist-turned-bureaucrat Pamela H. David as executive director. David began her political career as a gay rights activist, eventually working on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign. Most recently, as director of San Francisco Mayor Art Agno’s Office of Community Development, she oversaw a $25 million grant-making program. David replaces Bruce Sievers. Contact: (415) 398-4474,

The Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds (assets: $1.2 billion) in New York named Richard Laine, director of education policy and initiatives at the Chicago-based Illinois Business Roundtable, to be its deputy director of education programs. As an associate superintendent for the Illinois State Board of Education from 1994 to 1999, Laine helped to develop the Illinois Learning Standards and “Project Jumpstart” to assist the state’s low-achieving schools. Contact: (212) 251-9700,


AmeriCorps, a project of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNS) run by Rosie Mauk, named three new directors in December. The VISTA program will be headed by David Caprara, whose most recent job was directing the American Family Coalition (AFC) in Washington. AFC is affiliated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a religious leader noted for his acquisition of major media sources and close ties with the Bush family. Moon owns United Press International (UPI) and the Washington Times, and Caprara has served as a vice president for the Washington Times Foundation.

John Foster-Bey, the former director of the program for regional economic opportunity at the D.C.-based Urban Institute, will run AmeriCorps’ largest operation, its state and national program. Foster-Bey worked as a program officer with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Ford foundations.

Wendy Zenker will take over the National Civilian Community Corps, a 10-month residential national service program for women and men ages 18 to 24. Zenker was a U.S. Department of Education official for 15 years before moving to the Office of Management and Budget and, finally, to CNS, where she was chief operating officer. Contact CNS: (202) 606-5000,

Dr. Nora Volkow was named the new director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) last month, and will replace acting director Glen Hanson in April. Volkow leaves her position as associate director for life sciences at the Upton, N.Y., Brookhaven National Laboratory, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. NIDA is a division of the National Institutes of Health, directed by Elias Zerhouni. Contact: (301) 496-5787,

Former Clinton-era Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson was named president of Consulting Services & Research, a D.C. firm specializing in survey and policy research. Federal clients include the drug czar’s office and the departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Education and Labor. Robinson ran the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, which includes the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Contact CSR: (703) 312-5220,

Susan Neuman, the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education who helped implement the No Child Left Behind Act, is leaving the administration and plans to return to academia. Neuman went to the Department of Education from a teaching career that took her to the University of Michigan, Temple University, Boston College, the University of Massachusetts and Yale University.

Jack Jennings, director of the D.C.-based Center on Education Policy, suggested that Neuman may not have been suited for the political terrain. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that she was in over her head,” Jennings told Education Week. “In my opinion, she did not have the background for that position.” Department spokesperson Daniel Langan said a new assistant secretary will be appointed “expeditiously.” Contact: (800) 872-5327,

Also resigning his post is Daniel Schecter, chief of staff for Drug Czar John Walters. Schecter, who will be replaced by his deputy, Chris Marston, leaves after 30 years of service with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Contact: (202) 395-6618,

Nina Shokraii Rees, former deputy assistant for domestic policy to Vice President Dick Cheney, is the head of the Department of Education’s new Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII). OII makes strategic investments in promising educational practices through grants to states, schools and community organizations. Contact: (202) 205-4500,


Grammy Award-winning R&B artist Robert Kelly, popularly known as R. Kelly, was arrested in Florida on child pornography charges after police found 12 photographs of a nude underage girl in his home. Kelly is already facing charges in Illinois that he participated in and videotaped sexual acts with a minor.

Brent Johnson, an Anne Arundel, Md., Department of Social Services officer who directed a well-regarded program that helped parents pay child support, pleaded guilty to stealing $368,000 from the program. The Child Support Initiative Program began in the mid-1990s, and ended after Johnson resigned in August 2001.

Information for Newsmakers can be sent to the author.


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