Thirty Years of Leading for Results
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its Children and Family Fellowship®, a signature Results Count® program for helping leaders realize lasting differences on behalf of children, youth, families and communities. To commemorate the milestone, the Foundation recently published a book called Developing Leaders that spotlights the words and experiences of more than 100 Fellows.
Since 1993, Casey has hosted 12 Fellowship classes involving 155 Fellows. The experience allows participants to be “clear-eyed, deliberate and even bolder for the kids, families and communities who need their leadership the most,” says Barbara Squires, the director of leadership development at the Foundation.
Lessons From Working on Behalf of Kids and Families
“Leadership is a key ingredient in the hard work of system transformation and community change on behalf of children, youth and families,” writes Lisa Hamilton, the Foundation’s president and CEO, in the book’s introduction. “The accomplishments of the 155 participants in the Fellowship help us see how an investment in leadership development is paying off for young people and families.”
In short first-person essays, the Fellows share lessons focused on results, racial and ethnic equity, self-awareness, leadership development, collaboration and weathering change. They also discuss career advancement and a commitment to realizing equitable results by concentrating on specific and targeted strategies for those most in need. The following entries — edited for length — of three such Fellows speak to the program’s impact:
- “I still practice the skills that I learned during the Fellowship and constantly reach for the tools in the toolbox that the Fellowship helped me to build. The Fellowship helped me to dream big, to say out loud how I wanted to use my life to bring about results for the people I am called to serve.” — Anne Williams-Isom, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, City of New York (Class 7)
- “The Fellowship has equipped me with the technical tools to be a results-based leader, and the adaptive skills necessary to transform PolicyLink into one of the most results-based think tanks in America.” — Michael McAfee, president and CEO, PolicyLink (Class 8)
- “The Fellowship enables collective action even as we walk separate leadership paths by giving us the gift of each other as counselors, mentors, confidantes, and fellow ‘good and necessary troublemakers.’ ” — Janet Carter, chief executive officer, Positive Coaching Alliance (Class 6)
A National Network of Fellows
The Foundation maintains a national network of alumni Fellows. This group represents a range of professional fields, including education, juvenile justice, philanthropy, child welfare, economic development, housing, mental health and research and evaluation. They meet annually to offer peer support and professional development while promoting connection and collaboration.
This community of leaders is “collectively committed to change on behalf of children, youth and families — and committed to each other,” says Network co-chair Joe Miller, a Class 9 Fellow and current chief of staff for organizational health and effectiveness at the School District of University City in Missouri.
Other notable Fellowship alumni include:
- Doug Ammar, executive director, Georgia Justice Project;
- Fred Blackwell, CEO, The San Francisco Foundation;
- Ryan Chao, president, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy;
- Soraya M. Coley, president, Cal Poly Pomona;
- Gloria O’Neill, president and CEO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council;
- Esther Shin, president, Urban Strategies, Inc.;
- Susan Thomas, president, Melville Charitable Trust; and
- Tony Thurmond, superintendent of public instruction, State of California.
“As a Foundation, we often speak of ‘more than money’ when describing how we invest in partners,” says Leslie Boissiere, the Foundation’s vice president for External Affairs. “Our investment in Casey Fellows is far more than money; It’s a lifelong relationship between the Foundation and the Fellows — as well as among the Fellows.”