Newsmakers | September-October 2015

dr thomas kenyon 2Project HOPE recently announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas Kenyon, M.D., M.P.H. as its new president and CEO effective Oct. 1, 2015. Dr. Kenyon comes to Project HOPE after working for over 20 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most recently as the director of its Center for Global Health. Previously, he served as the principal deputy global AIDS coordinator and chief medical officer for PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) at the U.S. Department of State. Earlier in his career, Dr. Kenyon actually had previous positions with Project HOPE as director of its operations in Swaziland from 1987 to 1992 and as a consultant pediatrician for a HOPE program in Grenada, West Indies for two years in the mid1980’s. Dr. Kenyon earned his bachelor’s in Zoology from Indiana University and a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. He also completed medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a three-year residency in pediatrics at the University of Arizona Health Services Center. “Dr. Kenyon is one of the world’s most accomplished and respected experts in public health,” said Richard T. Clark, Chairman of the Project HOPE Board. “He has been a leader in tackling some of the severest health crises of our time and has a deep understanding of how to run a global organization, working with a wide range of people of varying cultures and needs.” Dr. Kenyon succeeds the retiring Dr. John P. Howe, III, who has headed the international health and humanitarian organization for 14 years.


Colleen McDonoughColleen McDonough has been selected to be the next executive director of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation. She succeeds Karen Sherry, who recently retired after serving in the position for 17 years. Until her selection as executive director, McDonough had been director of the foundation making her selection a promotion from within. She was selected for her new role at the helm of the foundation after an extremely impressive tenure as director during which she helped increase foundation funding by 175% and increased the number of foundation programs from 65 to 163. She also headed the execution of successful initiatives such as Children Will Listen, the Fresh Air Fund Summer Guitar Camp, Creativity in the Classroom and the Young Jazz Composers Awards. McDonough first came to the ASCAP Foundation from the Women’s Sports Foundation where she was assistant executive director for special projects. Her career also includes positions serving as director of educational affairs at the Public Relations Society of America and executive director of the Public Relations Student Society of America. After her education, which includes a master’s from Sarah Lawrence College and a bachelor’s the University of New Hampshire, a young McDonough rocketed to an administration position in academia at Pace University where she worked as assistant dean and adjunct professor. Colleen McDonough’s impressive credentials and her productive time at the ASCAP Foundation make the foundation’s board more than confident in her leadership going forward.


paul debassioUnited Way Worldwide appointed Paul DeBassio as the new executive vice president of investor relations for the organization. DeBassio will be responsible for directing international client relationship management of individuals and corporations as well as increasing the capabilities of local United Ways so they can more effectively assist their communities. Prior to this appointment, DeBassio oversaw United Way Worldwide’s connections with local United Ways in the U.S. as its vice president of network engagement and performance. “Paul has a terrific track record of working with local United Ways to increase investments in work that support communities’ education, financial stability and health goals,” said Brian A. Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide. Having worked in local United Ways in New England in his early years and been born into a family who supported the organization both as volunteers and financially, DeBassio is truly dedicated to the organization and its mission to help individuals and communities. He also worked for a time with the New England Chapter of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). DeBassio attended and graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in marketing from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College in 1987. His career has been spent serving children and communities ever since. Looking ahead at his new role and talking of his service and time with United Way specifically, Paul DeBassio says the he hopes “to create and amplify the same meaningful experience for donors and companies to help them give back to their communities.”


America’s Promise Alliance has elected Stephanie Watkins-Cruz, 21, to its board of directors and Zartashia Javid, 20, to its Alliance Trustees. The partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth has included two youth leaders on its board of directors and its Alliance Trustees for years. Selected out of nearly 100 applicants from across the nation, each is a full voting member of their respective leadership bodies and will serve a two-year term.

Stephanie Watkins-CruzWatkins-Cruz is a recent graduate-with-distinction of the University of North Carolina (UNC), Asheville where she was also active as a regular volunteer for the Black Student Association. Furthermore, she worked as a tutor with the I Have a Dream/Urban Mentoring Academy of Asheville to help with the education of youth in low-income and underserved communities. After exemplary academic performance and generous public service during her undergraduate education, Stephanie Watkins-Cruz will be pursuing a masters of public administration at UNC Chapel Hill beginning this fall.

Currently a college senior at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, Javid is pursuing a STEM degree but also has a marked passion for education and education policy. Like Watkins-Cruz, Javid has spent her time tutoring and educating others. She has served as an AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) member helping homeless youth better themselves by learning programming in Little Rock and currently holds a position as an Avid tutor. Also active in research, Javid received a research grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA) to study the efficacy of STEM education methods. First of her family to graduate high school and first to go to college, Zartashia Javid is known as a leader in student government and plans to pursue a career in the education sector after graduation.


Andrew_AllenYouth and Shelter Services (YSS) recently announced the departure of Dr. George Belitsos, its founding chief executive officer (CEO) and leader of the organization of 39 years. The Idaho-based child-serving organization has chosen Andrew Allen as his successor and its next CEO. Allen, carefully selected after a long nationwide search, has worked as director of community relations for the Principal Financial Group for 14 years. Very much a YSS veteran, he was a charter youth member on the YSS board of directors, later served on the YSS foundation board and has dedicated much of his time over the past 20 years volunteering, advocating and fundraising for YSS. Allen actually credits the organization with providing services that saved his life in the mid-1990’s, after which Dr. Belitsos became a mentor and important figure for him. Subsequently, Allen served YSS further, co-chairing capital campaigns for the YSS Family Life Center and Iowa Homeless Youth Centers. Dr. George Belitsos will serve as emeritus CEO and work part-time through December 2015 with Andrew Allen as he adjusts to his new position at the helm of the organization.


Children Now appointed Jim Keddy as its new vice president. Keddy joins Children Now from The California Endowment where he has worked since 2009, first serving as director of Healthy Communities, North and then as vice president and chief learning officer. Before his time at the endowment, Keddy was the state director of the faith-based community organizing network People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO) California. His stint at PICO also included a position as a senior staff member of the PICO National Network and leader of numerous community organizing efforts in California. Having dedicated his career to helping children and communities, Keddy has served on the boards of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the California Budget Project and Cover the Kids. He is currently working to support youth music and arts, serving on the board of the Sacramento Children’s Chorus and the advisory board of a Hmong arts organization. One of his most recognizable accomplishments is his leading of Californians for Healthy Kids, a coalition in support of universal health coverage for the children of California. He is also known for heading multiple other local and state level initiatives addressing issues such as afterschool program access, affordable housing, increasing parental involvement in education and improving community health. His educational background includes degrees from the University of California, Davis and the Graduate Theological Union. With over two decades of experience in community organizing, Jim Keddy is an ideal selection to lead Children Now’s local efforts and the expansion of The Children’s Movement of California. President of the organization, Ted Lempert, expressed this by saying “Jim has an exceptional track record of meaningfully engaging communities and running successful grassroots policy campaigns on issues critical to kids’ well-being. We’re delighted that he is coming to Children Now to enhance our game-changing children’s advocacy model.”


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