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About

We are committed to ensuring that there are no boundaries to young people’s aspirations, no limits to their potential.
young kids crouching low to the floor

Our Mission

We help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children, youth, and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods.

We believe all kids have limitless potential. But for those growing up surrounded by poverty, family instability, and physical or emotional stress, life is too often about survival, not possibility. It’s unacceptable that in New York, a city of historic opportunity, so many of our children face serious barriers to realizing their own promise.

Children’s Aid is a professional powerhouse of solutions for young people. We are teachers and social workers, coaches and health care providers. We know what it takes to ensure children grow up strong and healthy, and ready to thrive in school and life: excellent education and health care, social-emotional support, and strong, stable families.

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2300

FOOD PACKAGES

Delivered or distributed each week since the beginning of the pandemic

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83%

of your support

goes directly to our programs and services to help children, youth, and families

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711

JUNIORS AND SENIORS

participated in our College Access and Success programs

A Powerhouse of Solutions

Poverty cannot be overcome with one service or program at a single point in time. That’s why we commit to supporting children, youth, and families every step of the way. For more than 160 years, with your support, Children’s Aid has been able to help families change their lives by adapting to the ever evolving nature of poverty and constantly seeking improvement. We are on a mission to connect young people and their families with the tools they need to learn, grow, and become leaders of their own lives.

  • a smiling babyOur home visits prepare expectant parents to welcome their newborn.
  • young child smilingWe provide high-quality preschool to ensure children start kindergarten ready to learn.
  • two students sitting at a desk and readingOur community schools focus on the whole child, while also engaging family members, to ensure that students succeed in the classroom.
  • Kids at a swimming pool being silly.Thousands of kids join us after school and at camp for activities that keep the mind and body strong.
  • Kids sitting with a woman smiling.If a family is struggling, our expert social workers staff react quickly to bring stability.
  • Teen sitting at a desk in front of a microscope smilingWe are there at every twist and turn to help teenagers navigate the transition to college or a career and, ultimately, an independent adulthood.

Every Step of the Way

How we connect children and youth with the tools to learn, grow, and lead.

Reading on the Rug

This month, award-winning authors and illustrators help bring literature to life for our littlest readers.

A Rich History

Children's Aid was founded in 1853 by Charles Loring Brace and a group of social reformers at a time when orphan asylums and almshouses were the only social services available for poor and homeless children in New York City. Children’s Aid operated lodging houses, fresh air programs, and industrial schools to support an estimated 30,000 poor and orphaned children living in the city’s streets.

Read about our history

Our Leadership

Phoebe Boyer

Phoebe Boyer

President and CEO

Phoebe Boyer

President and CEO

In July 2014, the Children’s Aid Board of Trustees selected Phoebe Boyer to be the organization’s 11th president and chief executive officer. Phoebe came to Children’s Aid from the Robertson Foundation, a $1 billion foundation created by Julian Robertson and his family that takes a targeted approach to supporting critical national issues, including education reform. She spent more than a decade at the foundation, most recently as its executive director, where she oversaw operations and grant-making of more than $100 million annually. During her tenure there, she developed and executed the foundation’s national K-12 education reform strategy.

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Georgia Boothe

Georgia Boothe

Executive Vice President

Georgia Boothe

Executive Vice President

Georgia Boothe joined Children’s Aid in 2015 as the vice president of the Child Welfare and Family Services Division. She oversees the organization’s work with young people who have become involved in the juvenile justice system as well as the preventive services program, which works to strengthen families that are involved in the child welfare system. She also leads a deeply experienced team of social workers and other front line staff in serving children and families with special needs. Georgia comes to Children’s Aid after spending more than five years at Pathways to Housing NY, as the executive director. She holds an M.S.W. from Columbia University and earned her undergraduate degree from Skidmore College, where she studied social work and American studies.

Rhonda Braxton

Rhonda Braxton

Vice President of Health and Wellness

Rhonda Braxton

Vice President of Health and Wellness

Rhonda Braxton is responsible for the overall administrative operations of all health and wellness services. Rhonda has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, program expansion, and staff development. A significant portion of her professional career has been devoted to ensuring access to health care and education services to underserved populations. She has served as the chief program officer and deputy director of youth services at Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, vice president of planning and operations at Girl Scouts USA, and director of the Adolescent Health Center at The Door. During her tenue at The Door, Rhonda provided administrative and fiscal oversight of a health care facility that provides reproductive and primary health care services to adolescents. She served on several adolescent health care planning committees and offered testimony at New York City Council meetings and the National Institute of Health on the status of adolescent health care for urban youth. Rhonda holds a B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University and an M.B.A. in Health Care Administration from Baruch College/Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Drema Brown

Drema Brown

Vice President of Education and Head of School

Drema Brown

Vice President of Education and Head of School

Drema Brown ensures the success of Children’s Aid efforts to provide high-quality educational services to children, ages of 5-13, living in under-resourced neighborhoods. Drema oversees after-school, summer, and parent education programs in Children’s Aid community schools and community centers. Since she joined Children's Aid in 2011, Drema has headed the successful launch of the Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School in the South Bronx, and she will continue to support its full development as a K-5 community school. Before joining Children’s Aid, Drema worked at New Leaders, where she led the design, development, and delivery of a leadership curriculum for its New York City and national principal training programs. Drema holds an Ed.M. from Harvard, a B.A. from Yale, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Moria Cappio

Moria Cappio

Vice President of Early Childhood Programs

Moria Cappio

Vice President of Early Childhood Programs

Moria Cappio leads a dedicated group of teachers, family workers, and support staff to guarantee that children (ages 0-5) in Children’s Aid Early Childhood programs will be ready for kindergarten and every year of school thereafter. At a time when early childhood education has received a growing attention, Moria is committed to improving the quality of Children’s Aid’s programming. Moria first joined the organization in 2006 as the director of early childhood programs at the East Harlem Center, later overseeing a significant expansion across Washington Heights and more of East Harlem. In 2012, Moria oversaw historic growth when Children’s Aid doubled the number of children in our early childhood classes to 1,000. Prior to joining Children’s Aid, Moria was a New York City public elementary school teacher in East Harlem. She holds both elementary and special education teaching certifications, and is a graduate of Boston College and Harvard University.

Joann Casado

Joann Casado

Compliance Officer

Joann Casado

Compliance Officer

Joann Casado works with staff across the agency to ensure program operations meet regulations put forth in our contracts with government and private funders. Joann oversees issues related to contract compliance, program audits, and investigations, and she trains staff on ensuring privacy and confidentiality, and on federal and state compliance requirements. Joann has worked in the nonprofit, government, and pharmaceutical sectors, and she started her career as a policy analyst, creating the first Institutional Review Board (IRB) in the South Bronx to empower community residents on ethics and research. Joann holds a bachelor’s degree from City College and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School. She has been certified in Healthcare and Research Compliance and has served as the non-affiliated member of several university IRBs.
Pat Cioffi

Pat Cioffi

Director of Real Estate and Facilities Operations

Pat Cioffi

Director of Real Estate and Facilities Operations

Pat Cioffi is responsible for the physical operations of 40 Children’s Aid sites across New York City. Pat oversees facilities repair, compliance, and custodial operations; agency security; small, medium, and large-scale construction projects; and management and safety of Children’s Aid headquarters. Pat also oversees real estate operations which include property management, lease negotiation, space planning, and relocations. Pat has managed commercial and nonprofit facilities and real estate operations since 2001. Previous positions include director of administration for Environmental Defense Fund and operations manager for KPMG. Pat earned a degree in business communications from William Paterson University and certifications in project management, active shooter/self-defense, first aid, and CPR.
Robyn Dietz

Robyn Dietz

Head of Talent Management and Human Resources

Robyn Dietz

Head of Talent Management and Human Resources

Robyn oversees human resources and talent management ensuring our organizational values are embedded in agency-wide practices; fostering inclusivity and equity; and encouraging employees to reach their full potential. Robyn has more than 30 years of human resources experience in both the private and nonprofit sector. Before joining Children’s Aid, Robyn most recently served as senior director at SunGard, and has held senior leadership roles at Shearman & Sterling LLP, MetLife, and Citibank. Robyn holds a Certificate in Organization Development from the William Alanson White Institute and earned a Master of Social Work from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College.

Sandra Escamilla-Davies

Sandra Escamilla-Davies

Executive Vice President

Sandra Escamilla-Davies

Executive Vice President

Sandra Escamilla-Davies joined Children’s Aid in 2016. She leads a team skilled at helping youth navigate the transition to adulthood through our diverse set of programs designed to find the best path to college or a career and, ultimately, adult independence. Sandra spent the year prior to coming to Children’s Aid advising nonprofits about leadership and staff development. That followed nearly 15 years with the Fund of the City of New York's Youth Development Institute, the last five of which she spent as the executive director, where she led a host of initiatives designed to help youth-serving organizations maximize their impact, both here in New York City and across the nation. Sandra earned an M.S.W. from Columbia University and received a B.A. in sociology from Hunter College, where she also was an instructor in a course on mentorship.

Abe Fernández

Abe Fernández

Vice President of Collective Impact and Director of National Center for Community Schools

Abe Fernández

Vice President of Collective Impact and Director of National Center for Community Schools

Abe Fernández works with a cross-section of stakeholders in the South Bronx to improve outcomes for children and youth along a cradle-to-career pathway, leveraging more than 15 years of experience in education, community development, and nonprofit management. He joined Children’s Aid in 2003 as an assistant director of community schools and went on to become the deputy director of Children’s Aid’s National Center for Community Schools, providing on- and off-site coaching, training, and consultation to many community school initiatives across the country. Prior to joining Children’s Aid, Abe was the director of youth services and ran the multiservice Washington Houses Community Center at Union Settlement Association in East Harlem. He started his career as a middle school mathematics teacher and director of the Summerbridge/Breakthrough program in the Bronx. Abe is a graduate of Brown University and the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at Columbia Business School.

Susan Fojas

Susan Fojas

Director of Performance Management

Susan Fojas

Director of Performance Management

Susan Fojas ensures high quality across all Children’s Aid programs by working with staff to ensure all children and youth in our programs experience success. Having led continuous improvement in human services for more than 20 years, Susan is skilled at using practical approaches to improve effectiveness in education, child welfare, healthcare, and youth development programs. Previously, Susan served as associate commissioner at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, leading efforts to ensure safety and well-being for children in foster care and preventive services. Prior, she evaluated programs at the Jewish Child Care Association of New York. Before working in child welfare, Susan conducted research on child development and cognition and contributed to several federal research studies. Susan has a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland.
Caroline Gallagher

Caroline Gallagher

Chief Development Officer

Caroline Gallagher

Chief Development Officer

Caroline Gallagher leads the fundraising team in growing private and public revenues. She comes to Children’s Aid from Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, where she drove fundraising strategy and scaled major gift cultivation, support, and stewardship. Prior to her role at Spence-Chapin, Caroline provided strategic development consultation to a variety of nonprofit organizations as head of her own independent consulting firm and as senior managing director of Changing Our World, Inc. Caroline earned an M.A. in education at Fordham University and a B.A. from Providence College.

Michael Greenberg

Michael Greenberg

Chief Financial Officer

Michael Greenberg

Chief Financial Officer

Michael Greenberg oversees Children’s Aid financial matters, including financial reporting, audits, the annual operating budget, payroll, and purchasing. With more than 30 years in the nonprofit sector and private industry beforehand, Michael is an experienced financial leader and an accomplished nonprofit chief financial officer. Most recently, he served as chief financial and administrative officer at Amnesty International, and has also held senior leadership positions at The END Fund, Acumen, Environmental Defense Fund, and Human Rights First. Before his nonprofit involvement Michael worked with both private startup and publicly traded internet technology companies and the reinsurance sector; he began his career with KPMG. Michael holds an inactive Certified Public Accountant license and has an undergraduate degree in business with an accounting major from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Courtenaye Jackson-Chase

Courtenaye Jackson-Chase

General Counsel

Courtenaye Jackson-Chase

General Counsel

Courtenaye Jackson-Chase serves as a chief legal advisor to ensure that Children’s Aid can best support the children and families it serves across New York City. She joined Children’s Aid in 2016, coming from the New York City Department of Education, where she served as general counsel. Working as a chief legal advisor and strategist to the chancellor and senior leadership team, she focused on legal and compliance matters, employment law, special education, and equal opportunity programming and policy. Courtenaye has also served as a senior advisor to the chancellor and chief deputy to the general counsel for the Department of Education. Courtenaye received her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law, and received her B.S. from Cornell University.

Yolanda McBride

Yolanda McBride

Director of Public Policy

Yolanda McBride

Director of Public Policy

Yolanda McBride leads policy, legislative and advocacy efforts at Children’s Aid in a range of areas, including education, health, child welfare and cross-systems coordination and reform. Before joining Children’s Aid, she spent nearly eight years in government at the New York City Council and the Office of the New York City Mayor creating and leading citywide initiatives. Yolanda also supported and managed for nearly 10 years research and evaluation projects at the New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy and began her career at a private family foundation. She has a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a minor in African American Studies from Lafayette College, a Master of Public Administration from New York University, and a certificate from Columbia University Business School’s Senior Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals.
Alethea Pratt

Alethea Pratt

Chief Information Officer

Alethea Pratt

Chief Information Officer

Alethea Pratt leads a team of professionals responsible for technology infrastructure and cybersecurity at Children’s Aid. Alethea has more than 30 years of business and technology experience. She’s held leadership positions at Fortune 100 international corporations in the pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and technical services industries. Most recently she held senior executive positions in nonprofit pension and health organizations. Alethea earned Bachelor of Science degrees in chemistry and biology as well as a Master of Business Administration.
Anthony Ramos

Anthony Ramos

Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Anthony Ramos

Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Anthony Ramos manages the public profile of Children's Aid across all media and led the organization’s efforts in its first rebranding process in more than four decades. Since joining Children’s Aid in 2011, Ramos has helped to communicate Children's Aid’s strategic objectives to key stakeholders and enhance its web presence through multimedia. Ramos came to Children’s Aid from the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where he served as director of communications. Prior to his work with GLSEN, Ramos managed communications for the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center and the National Hemophilia Foundation.

Don Shacknai

Don Shacknai

Chief Operating Officer

Don Shacknai

Chief Operating Officer

Don Shacknai, who joined Children’s Aid in 2018, focuses on ensuring that Children’s Aid has operational and technical controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and people systems in place to optimize operational excellence. He came to Children’s Aid from New York City Housing Preservation and Development, where he was the first deputy commissioner. While there, he oversaw teams across seven bureaus including technology, human resources, facilities, and budget. Prior to that, Don worked in executive level positions at the New York City Fire Department, including first deputy fire commissioner, and the Administration for Children’s Services. He was also an attorney with the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Prior to law school, Don worked for nonprofit organizations as a child abuse prevention caseworker and advocate. Don earned a J.D. from Cornell Law School and his bachelor’s in English literature from Bucknell University.

 

Ali Tan

Ali Tan

Chief of Staff

Ali Tan

Chief of Staff

Ali Tan joined Children’s Aid in 2018 and serves as a key advisor to the president and CEO. She drives the organization’s cradle-through-college agenda, leads strategy with our board of trustees, and focuses on improving overall organizational effectiveness and accountability. She also oversees the organization’s policy and advocacy work at the local, state, and national levels. Ali brings a wealth of experience to Children’s Aid from the private, nonprofit, philanthropy and government sectors, most recently as the Director of Strategic Advancement, Education Programs and Initiatives at the New York Public Library. Ali earned a master’s in public administration, with a focus on nonprofit management and education policy, from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Amy Scharf

    Amy Engel Scharf

    Chair

    Amy Engel Scharf

    Chair

    Amy joined the Children’s Aid board in 2010 and was elected chair in 2018. She currently works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a consultant to their Ethics Committee and Public Affairs Department. She was a former equity analyst for Smith Barney and Dean Witter Reynolds and currently serves on the board of trustees of the Clark Museum and advisory board for Johns Hopkins University's School of Arts & Sciences. Amy earned her bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins and holds master’s degrees from Yale and Columbia.

Vice Chair

  • Jill
    Olson

Treasurer

  • Russell
    Diamond

Secretary

  • Eren
    Rosenfeld

Assistant Treasurer

  • Linda
    Kao

Trustees

  • Carllene
    Brooks-Oden
  • Russell
    Diamond
  • Raja
    Flores, MD
  • Dr. Sebastian
    Guth
  • Russell
    Horwitz
  • Ellen
    Jewett
  • Linda
    Kao
  • Alan E.
    Katz
  • Gregory E.
    Kerr, MD
  • Christopher R.
    Lawrence
  • Beth
    Leventhal
  • Janine E.
    Luke
  • Rick
    McNabb
  • Vanessa
    Melendez
  • Jay
    Nydick
  • Jill
    Olson
  • Tom
    Reynolds
  • Eren
    Rosenfeld
  • Lauren Razook
    Roth
  • Amy Engel
    Scharf
  • Sandra
    Serrant
  • Brad
    Silver
  • Andrea
    Wahlquist
  • Peter
    Wallace
  • Suzanne
    Waltman

Trustees Emeriti

  • Iris
    Abrons
  • Sheila
    Baird
  • Elly
    Christophersen
  • Susan M.
    Coupey, M.D.
  • Bart J.
    Eagle
  • Mark M.
    Edmiston
  • Desmond G.
    Fitzgerald
  • Marshall M.
    Green
  • Lolita K.
    Jackson
  • Lane H.
    Katz
  • Ronald H.
    Kaufmann
  • Martha Bicknell
    Kellner
  • Edgar R.
    Koerner
  • Felix
    Orbe
  • Kevin J.
    Watson

Working Stronger Together

There is strength in numbers when it comes to battling for funding and influencing legislation. We are proud to work with amazing organizations and coalitions that share our vision for children, youth, and families.

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