Newsmakers for September 2006


Mala Thakur has been acting executive director for the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) so interminably that you almost forget she had the interim tag. But the board of directors, chaired by Howard Knoll, finally rectified that in August by naming her to replace her old boss, David Brown, who left in November 2005 to become deputy director of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. The board conducted a national search to find the 27-year-old organization’s next leader, but ultimately agreed on Thakur, who served as Brown’s deputy director.

NYEC is a national network of 250 members, most of them direct-service agencies, working to improve the effectiveness of programs that help youth become productive citizens. Contact: (202) 659-1064,


Matthew Stagner took over as director of the Chapin Hall Center for Children this month, replacing Mark Courtney, who held the post for five years. Stagner comes to the nonprofit, based at the University of Chicago, from D.C.-based Urban Institute, where he directed the Center on Labor, Human Services and Population. The two organizations do a considerable amount of work together, so it is not surprising that Stagner is the second executive-level staff member to head west in recent memory. One of the institute’s juvenile justice experts, researcher Jeff Butts, joined Chapin Hall last summer.

Also departing the Urban Institute: Rob Geen, director of child welfare research, who leaves to become vice president for public policy at another D.C. research tank, Child Trends. Geen began working at Child Trends in September, alongside new president Carol Emig. Contact: Chapin Hall (773) 753-5900,; Child Trends (202) 572-6138,; Urban Institute, (202) 833-7200,


YWCA USA names Lorraine Cole, CEO of Black Women’s Health Imperative, to replace leader Peggy Sanchez Mills, who has overseen a period of change for the national organization since November 2004. That’s when she stepped in for Interim Director Dorris Daniel-Parkes, who took over in 2003 for the quickly ousted Patricia Ireland.

Before heading the Black Women’s Health Imperative for six years, Cole was executive director of the National Medical Association for six years. She has also served as a fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Ford and Rockefeller foundations.

The YWCA also recently elected Suzanne Durham, executive director of YWCA of Central Alabama, to chair its board of directors. Contact: (202) 467-0801,


After 12 years at New York-based Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY USA), six as executive director, Elisabet Eklind left the organization this month.

Hippy USA – whose $1.6 million annual budget is financed largely through AmeriCorps grants and support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation – began in 1988 and now counts 157 sites in 26 states and Washington. Each site is dedicated to helping parents prepare 3- and 5-year-olds for academic success. Among its biggest proponents is Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), who pushed for HIPPY’s presence in Arkansas when she lived there and is now a trustee emerita.

Eklind says the board, chaired by child advocate and National Human Services Assembly board member Diane Keller Kessler, will soon appoint an interim replacement. Contact: (212) 532-7730,


Karen Waddell, CEO of the Clearwater, Fla.-based Eckerd Youth Alternatives, left last month to pursue work in private consulting. Eckerd operates 40 youth programs in eight states.

Since Waddell took over as CEO in 1999, the organization has doubled the number of children cared for annually, from approximately 4,000 to more than 9,000. The annual operating budget increased from $58 million to its current $92 million.

Waddell will be replaced by a transition team put together by Jim Swann, chair of Eckerd’s board and son of its late co-founder, Jack Eckerd. Eckerd mourned the passing of its other co-founder, Ruth Eckerd, in July. Contact: (727) 461-2990,


After eight years, senior program assistant Sarah Pearson is leaving the American Youth Policy Forum for the D.C.-based Close-Up Foundation. She will be director of special projects and will work on writing, networking and development, as well as assisting the president on special projects. Contact: (202) 775-9731,


YMCA of the USA’s senior consultant for program development, Barbara Taylor, lauded for her behind-the-scenes work on YMCA’s youth development programs, has left the organization. “She is an unsung hero there,” says Irv Katz, CEO of the National Human Services Assembly. “She’s a collaborator with a capital C, really focused on what’s good for youth.” Taylor’s job has yet to be filled and she has not taken another position, according to YMCA spokesman Arnie Collins. Contact: (800) 872-9622,


Kristin McSwain has gone from line worker to queen bee. The AmeriCorps alumna (D.C. Corps, 1991) was recently tapped to be director of AmeriCorps State and National, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). McSwain has been CEO of the Massachusetts Service Alliance, the nonprofit that distributes the state’s AmeriCorps funds, for three years. She replaces interim director Elizabeth Seale, who filled in for previous director Rosie Mauk and remains chief operating officer. Contact: (202) 606-5000,


Will Isemann is the new chief financial officer at KidsPeace, a national nonprofit serving kids overcoming crises. Isemann comes to KidsPeace from Danville Regional Health System in Virginia, where revenues nearly doubled, from $87 million to $170 million, during his tenure as secretary and treasurer. Contact: (212) 239-5437,


The NonProfit Times has named its “Power and Influence Top 50” for 2006. Several of those named are also noteworthy for their contributions to youth work and nonprofit management. Among them: Irv Katz, president of the National Human Services Assembly; David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service; Rick Cohen¸ executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; Roxanne Spillett, president of the Atlanta-based Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Jill Schumann, president of the Baltimore-based Lutheran Services in America; and Roy Williams, chief scout executive of the Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts of America.


Another of the powerful 50, Child Welfare League of America CEO Shay Bilchik, is stepping down in February. He might have moved that date up if he knew that one of his last tasks would be that most unpleasant of agency experiences: moving.

The building that houses CWLA and a number of other nonprofits, a plush spot just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, will either undergo massive reconstruction or will be torn down in the very near future. Either way, CWLA is out, and the nonprofit will follow many others in the field to cost-effective Northern Virginia. The organization will relocate to Crystal City in December, according to spokeswoman Joyce Johnson. Contact: (202) 638-2952,


Richard Tagle changed organizations this summer, leaving the D.C.-based Public Education Network (PEN) to become executive director of the D.C.-based Higher Achievement Program, replacing Maureen Holla. Tagle managed and executed initiatives regarding race and gender at PEN for 12 years, and served as chief of staff for the past three years. Contact: PEN (202) 628-7460,; Higher Achievement Program (202) 544-3633,


Charles Hiteshew is the new chief operating officer at Alexandria, Va.-based America’s Promise. Hiteshew comes to AP from the Public Education Partnership Fund, where he was executive director and oversaw its recent merger with the D.C. Education Compact. Hiteshew previously served as chief program officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area, and before that as the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tarrant County in Fort Worth, Texas. Contact: (703) 684-4500, .


Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former baby, the Los Angeles-based After-School All Stars, promoted chief operating officer Ben Paul to serve as its new CEO. Paul takes over for Frank Donaghue, who was with the program for four years. Contact: (310) 275-3232,


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (assets: $9 billion) Senior Program Officer Floyd Morris has taken over for Rush Russell as president of the Trenton, N.J.-based Children’s Futures, which advocates on behalf of the city’s infants, toddlers and parents. Morris oversaw a number of major initiatives for the foundation, including the Urban Health Initiative, the recently-ended After School Project, Join Together and the Childhood Obesity program. A replacement has yet to be named for Morris, who had been with RWJF since 1989.

Russell left Children’s Futures in December to serve as senior vice president of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Contact: RWJF (888) 631-9989,; Children’s Futures (609) 695-1977,


Another key RWJF staffer on the After School Project – which sought to prove that central planning would enhance the quality of out-of-school-time programs in urban areas – moved on after the eight-year project was completed. Senior program consultant Carol Glazer will lead a new initiative, the National EmployAbility Partnership, for the National Organization on Disability. Contact: Glazer (646) 277-2402, .


Seattle-based child welfare provider Casey Family Programs (CFP) added two new executives over the summer. David Berns, formerly director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, will succeed William Bell as executive vice president of child and family services. Bell became CEO in January.

David Sanders joins Casey as executive vice president of systems improvement. Sanders, who was the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, took over in August for the departing Carol Boone. Contact: (206) 216-4183,


The other Seattle-based Casey – the Marguerite Casey Foundation (assets: $662 million), which shares a headquarters with CFP – added a few new faces as well. Cristiana Balli will become the “network weaver” in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and is responsible for networking among organizations in the Southwest Region. Judy Ford was hired as director of programs and evaluation, while Gabriela Quintana, formerly the community relations liaison for the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, becomes program officer. Contact: (206) 691-3134,


The New York-based William T. Grant Foundation (assets: $250 million) has named its second group of Distinguished Fellows for 2006. The recipients: Martha Holleman, senior policy advisor at Baltimore’s The Safe and Sound Campaign, and Robin Nixon, executive director of the National Foster Care Coalition in Washington. Contact: (212) 752-0071,


Jay Hein was tapped to replace Jim Towey as the director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Hein, who becomes the third director in the office’s nascent history – its first was John DiIulio – leads two organizations. He is president of both the Indianapolis-based Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, a think tank that he founded, and the American Renewal Foundation, which encourages “renewal through America’s founding Biblical principles of faith in God, liberty and compassionate entrepreneurship.” Contact: (202) 456-6708,


Mary Bain, 94, one of the few women hired to manage one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, the National Youth Administration (NYA). Bain was hired by the administration as an NYA district director for Northern Illinois, and in 1939 became the state’s NYA director.


Jane Bucy, 77, executive director of the National Network for Youth from 1982 to 1990. Before taking on youth policy in Washington, Bucy directed the Galveston Shelter for Youth in Texas, where more then 4,000 abused and homeless youth were provided temporary shelter during her tenure.


Newsmakers incorrectly reported in July/August that Karen Walker, vice president of research at the Philadelphia-based Public/Private Ventures, had left the organization. While Walker has taken a job as a professor at the University of Virginia, she will continue to serve P/PV as a senior adviser.


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