Newsmakers for March 2003

Save the Children, the international nonprofit relief organization that works in more than 40 countries, has named Mark Shriver to be managing director of its U.S. programs, which are focused largely on the group’s more than 200 isolated rural community sites in the Midwest, California and Appalachia. He replaces Catherine Milton, who ran the $13 million, 75-staff-member U.S. program for five years. Shriver will run the program out of Save the Children’s Washington office. Shriver, a two-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, lost a congressional primary in September. Contact: (203) 221-4228,


Shuan Butcher took his new post last month as executive director for the Center for Youth As Resources (YAR). Butcher was brought up through the YAR farm system, most recently serving as regional director for Youth as Resources in Southeast Ohio, Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. His resume includes experience as a youth minister and a youth worker for the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America and VISTA. YAR is a project of the Washington-based National Crime Prevention Council. Contact: (202) 261-4131,


Washington-based Independent Sector named Diana Aviv as its new CEO in late February to replace former head Sara Melendez, now a professor across town at George Washington University. Aviv leaves after nine years as director of public policy for the United Jewish Communities’ (UJC) Washington Action Office. She has experience managing the 157 federated communities for which UJC serves as an umbrella organization. That should help her prepare for life at Independent Sector, where the number of member organizations has swollen past 700.

She’ll also inherit budget problems, with a projected $500,000 deficit caused by the downturn in the economy and in philanthropic giving to national nonprofit infrastructure groups. Contact: (202) 467-6132,


Suzanne Barnard is back – this time as vice president of public policy for the Englewood, Colo.-based American Humane Association (AHA). Barnard had previously served at AHA in several roles, including acting director of children’s services. She returns to the youth and animal protection advocacy group from Baltimore, where she was a project coordinator for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family to Family child welfare project. Contact: (866) 242-1877,


Mark Redmond, who developed the Trailblazers Academy charter school for at-risk youth as associate executive director at the Domus Foundation in Stamford, Conn., will be the new executive director for the Burlington, Vt.-based nonprofit Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Redmond has written about youth issues for the New York Times, America and Youth Today. Contact: (802) 864-7423.


A little executive shuffling among friends here: Paula Jameson joined the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) in late January as chief operating officer, managing the daily operations for the organization and its staff of 164. Jameson, an attorney, has served as senior vice president and counsel for the Public Broadcasting Service in Washington. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman said Jameson is the first in a series of “executive additions” to the staff.

Departing CDF is Jill Ward, hired away from her job as director of the CDF’s Violence Prevention and Youth Development office by the D.C.-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, where she will replace former executive director Mark Pertschuk. Pertschuk moved to California to direct the Marin Institute, an alcohol and drug dependency prevention organization in San Rafael. Contact: CDF (202) 628-8787,; Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (202) 408-0061,


YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) named Sam Evans as director of Movement Advancement, the national resource organization for YMCA policy campaign projects in the United States. Evans has been with Y-USA for 10 years, most recently as chief administrative officer. Joining the YMCA as chief marketing officer is beauty industry veteran Joanna Taylor. Taylor has worked on the marketing teams of heavy hitters such as Revlon, Ann Taylor and, most recently, Soft Sheen-Carson in Chicago, where she was assistant vice president in charge of marketing. Contact: YMCA (312) 977-0031,


Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Christian policy group founded by child psychologist James Dobson, recently laid off 34 of its 1,300 staff and announced a $5 million cutback in annual spending, from its current $130 million. Most of the cuts were made at mid-level positions, and spokesman Paul Hetrick said efforts will be made to rehire laid-off staffers in the future. Contact: (800) 232-6459,


While others in the youth field face cutbacks, D.C.-based Youth Service America (YSA) actually managed to add three new positions, giving it a staff of 15. Kelita Svoboda Bak will direct government relations for the 300-member international alliance and resource center. Bak takes quite a career turn, careening from a stint at the Washington government relations firm Capital Concepts after serving as a lobbyist for the American Motorcycle Association.

Dave DeCicco, who handled public relations and grants management for YSA, will lead its new communication department, where the first media campaign will be for the YSA-led National Youth Service Day (which is actually three days, April 11-13). Andrea Felix will move up to head the Youth Voice Initiative, a program that will seek to increase opportunities for young people to serve as decision-makers at organizations and in communities. YSA operates on a $3 million budget, mostly donated by corporations, including State Farm Insurance, General Motors, AT&T and Verizon. Contact: (202) 296-2992,


The D.C.-based Aspen Institute in January named acclaimed author and newsman Walter Isaacson as its CEO. Isaacson was CEO of the CNN News Group, part of AOL Time Warner, and before that was the managing editor of Time magazine. Isaacson succeeds Elmer Johnson, who had served as interim president since 1999, when former head Charles Knapp retired after only two years.

Also joining Aspen in January was Robert Shireman, who will be a senior fellow for the Program on Education in a Changing Society. Shireman comes to the think tank from the James Irvine Foundation in San Francisco, but is best known in the youth field as an education adviser to former President Bill Clinton and the man who, as legislative director for former Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), pioneered an overhaul of the federal student loan program. Contact: (202) 736-5800,

Bush administration whiz kid Bobby Jindal, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is resigning. Jindal, who headed the Louisiana Department of Health at the age of 24, was instrumental in developing the administration’s Medicare policy, but told the New York Times that his “contribution is finished.” Jindal is leaving to help raise his 13-month-old child, but will consider a run for the Louisiana governorship. He is 31. Contact: HHS (202) 619-0257,


Cheri Yecke is leaving the Department of Education (DoE) to become Minnesota’s commissioner of education. Yecke oversaw the Teacher Quality and Public School Choice program and its $2.8 billion in teacher quality grants, and also developed a mentoring program for the USA Freedom Corps. Contact: DoE (800) 872-5327,


Jim Jennings took over in January as chief operating officer of the D.C.-based Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. The former executive vice president of America’s Promise has 30 years of political experience in public affairs. He lost his life partner to AIDS in 1983. The foundation does HIV research and outreach at 250 sites in 17 countries. Contact: (202) 296-9165,


President George W. Bush honored several youth workers with invitations to his State of the Union address on Jan. 29. Among them: Henry Lonzano, president of Californians for Drug-Free Youth and the director of international ministry Teen Challenge from 1975 to 1985; Sister Maria Fest, who directs a family support services center at Sisters of the Divine Providence in Pittsburgh; Lenny Compton, a college student who mentors through the AmeriCorps Oakland program near Detroit; and retired NFL star Darrell Green, whose Youth Life Foundation in Washington helps disadvantaged youth through learning centers and tuition assistance. Green is also starting a center for disadvantaged children in Nashville.

The Round Rock, Texas-based Michael and Susan Dell Foundation announced in late January that it will work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) on a rapid response program known as “Team Adam” (named after the murdered son of NCMEC founder and TV personality John Walsh and his wife, Reve.) The foundation will kick in $3 million for the program, which provides on-site response and support to local law enforcement officers investigating cases of child abduction or sexual exploitation. The idea is to provide assistance to police with limited experience in the missing children field. Ben Ermini, director of the missing children division, will oversee Team Adam at NCMEC. Contact: Dell (512) 472-3515; NCMEC (703) 963-1866,

Robert L. Woodson Jr., 39, a campaign adviser to President Bush and a former chief of staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the time of his death, Woodson was the senior vice president of the D.C.-based National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, founded by his father, Robert L. Woodson Sr.


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