Newsmakers for April 2004

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Nonprofits

In what spokeswoman Joyce Johnson called a “painful moment in our history,” the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) laid off 15 staffers in late February. “The economy has affected us the same as it has other nonprofits,” says Johnson. “We had to make adjustments, but we’re hopeful that this is it.”

“We have to shrink to strengthen” in the long term, says CWLA President Shay Bilchik. The downturned economy and the ensuing decline in demand for CWLA’s consulting services, he says, forced the national association of almost 1,200 public and private nonprofit agencies to “figure out where we could restructure without changing overall goals.”

A number of the layoffs will come from CWLA’s consulting division, the largest program area for the agency, which works with public and private agencies providing child welfare services. On the program side, kinship care director Mattie Satterfield was let go. Her duties will be folded into CWLA’s programs for foster care and family preservation. Contact: (202) 638-2952, www.cwla.org.

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Marilyn Smith is the new director of programs for D.C.-based Reading is Fundamental, which provides free books and literacy resources to needy families. Smith leaves the Alexandria, Va.-based Communities in Schools, the national advocate for partnering community resources with schools, where she served as executive director for four years. Before that, Smith served as director of United States service learning for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Contact: (877) 743-7323, www.rif.org.

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Ten Hut! Scholarship America, a St. Peter, Minn.-based private-sector scholarship organization, wasted little time securing a replacement for its president of 18 years, Bill Nelsen. Retired Marine Gen. Cliff Stanley will relocate to Minneapolis and assume command of the organization when Nelsen steps down in mid-July. Stanley retired from the Marines in 2002, and has since served as a vice president to University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin, who recently resigned. Contact: (800) 537-4180, www.scholarshipamerica.org.

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Rutledge Hutson has left the D.C.-based Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) to become deputy director of the child welfare and mental health division at the Children’s Defense Fund. Huston, seven years removed from her 1997 internship with CDF, was CLASP’s senior staff attorney for five years. Contact: CLASP (202) 906-8000, www.clasp.org; CDF (202) 628-8787, www.childrensdefense.org.

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Mary Bissell, formerly an attorney in CDF’s child welfare and mental health division, is now a fellow at the New America Foundation, a 5-year-old progressive think tank in Washington. Bissell will write a series of articles and policy briefs to increase public support for cutting-edge child welfare reforms. Contact: (202) 986-2700, www.newamerica.net.

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J. Harry Wells, director of Omni Youth Services in Buffalo Grove, Ill., was named CEO of Chicago Youth Centers in February. The center is among the largest independent youth service agencies in the city, serving about 11,000 youth at 17 centers each year, with programs ranging from overnight camp to child welfare services. Wells has chaired the Illinois Collaboration for Youth and serves as its youth policy chairman. Contact: (312) 795-3500, www.chicagoyouthcenters.org.

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Esther Benjamin was named vice president for business development by the Baltimore-based International Youth Foundation. Benjamin has served as the chief financial officer since 2001 of the 14-year-old group, which works in 60 countries. She was appointed as a White House Fellow by former President Bill Clinton in 1999. Promoted to take her place as CFO is Samantha Barbie. Contact: (410) 951-2328, www.iyfnet.org.

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The 23-year-old Development Training Institute, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that specializes in community organizing and leadership development, named David Cortiella its new president. For the past five years, Cortiella served as CEO of Boston-based community group Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion. Cortiella succeeds the training institute’s founder, Joseph McNeely. Contact: (410) 338-2512, www.dtinational.org.

Foundations

Rodger McFarlane has joined the Denver-based Gill Foundation as the gay rights grant-maker’s executive director. McFarlane is a longtime activist with an impressive recent leadership history, most recently as executive director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and before that as executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights. (Both are influential AIDS organizations in New York City).

McFarlane replaces Claudia French, who left in August after two years. Contact: (303) 292-4455, www.gillfoundation.org.

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After serving for three years as CEO, the Skillman Foundation’s Kari Schlachtenhaufen stepped down in early April. Schlachtenhaufen has worked with the Detroit-based foundation since 1985, but told local papers she is moving on to pursue other opportunities in philanthropy. Vice President Richard Connell is serving as interim CEO for the Detroit-area grant-maker (assets: $500 million). Contact: (313) 393-1185, www.skillman.org.

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The Benton Foundation provided Boston’s Education Development Center (EDC) with $668,000 for its new Center for Media & Community in February – then handed over its leaders as well. Benton President Andrea Taylor left the foundation to become director of the new center, which will focus on using information and communication technologies to strengthen actual and virtual communities and to foster lifelong learning.

Joining her in the move will be Andy Carvin, who will serve as Taylor’s project director for the new center. Carvin was the director of another technology endeavor for Benton, its Digital Divide Network. That Benton project will also now move under the auspices of EDC, freeing the foundation (with an endowment of $8 million, down from $15 million in the 1990s) to focus on communication policy. EDC also runs the YouthLearn Initiative, which supports youth development professionals who use technology for educational programming. Contact: EDC (617) 969-7100, www.edc.org; Benton (202) 638-5770, www.benton.org.

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Michael Maidenberg, former publisher of the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota, will trade the Badlands for the beach, joining the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (assets: $1.8 billion) as chief program officer. Maidenberg replaces Penelope McPhee, who left the foundation to replace the retiring president of the Atlanta-based Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Ira Jackson. Contact: (305) 908-2600, www.knightfdn.org.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon reported last month that he found no legal wrongdoing in the practices of the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (assets: $1.2 billion), but criticized the foundation’s board for giving too much power to President Carl Schramm. Schramm has been criticized for steering grant-making away from the Kansas City area, and his massive restructuring efforts prompted several board members to resign.

No better time to announce a major youth effort in the area: In mid-March, Kauffman announced an aggressive expansion of the Freedom Schools. The board approved $12.9 million over the next nine years to expand the six-week summer program for urban youth, expecting to have 20 sites by 2008 in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., as well as St. Louis. Part of the first allotment of $1.6 million will go to the Children’s Defense Fund to develop the Freedom Schools curricula and evaluation system. Contact: (816) 932-1045, www.emkf.org.

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Jaqueline Kaye, a senior evaluation associate at the New York-based Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, has joined Atlantic Philanthropies (assets: $3.75 billion). Kaye will be the New York liaison for Atlantic’s strategic learning and evaluation program, which develops measures to evaluate the impact of Atlantic grants on the recipients. The division is overseen in Atlantic’s Dublin, Ireland, office by John A. Healy. Contact: (212) 916-7300, www.atlanticphilanthropies.org.

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Darlene Nipper was named executive director of the BET Foundation, the philanthropic arm of D.C.-based Black Entertainment Television. The foundation funds social campaigns, including Speak Now, a voter registration drive, and Rap-It-Up, a partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and safe sex. Nipper was formerly chief operating officer of the Arlington, Va.-based National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. (202) 608-2208, www.bet.com.

Federal Government

Two new members were appointed to the Coordinating Council for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by President George Bush last month. Neither appears to have any specific background in juvenile justice. Bray Barnes is a lawyer and former New Jersey detective, as well as an active Boy Scouts alumnus. Once an Eagle Scout, Barnes now serves on the National Advisory Board for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and as national chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. He also filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of BSA in Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that scouts could ban homosexuals from its units. Barnes represented the Individual Rights Foundation, a Los Angeles-based group that litigates “high-profile conservative and libertarian public interest cases,” according to its website.

The other new council member, Victor Rodriguez, is a longtime member of Texas law enforcement, on both the state and city level. He is the chief of police in McAllen, Texas. Contact: (202) 514-2190, http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/council/info.html.