You Gotta Believe, a pioneer in the field of finding permanent families for young adults, teens and pre-teens in foster care, has a new leader, allowing the former director, Mary Keane, to return to her first love, program work, after three years at the helm of the nonprofit agency.
Although Keane is going back to the field, she agreed to also serve as a senior adviser. This means the New York City-based YGB can tap her expertise when needed, which should ensure a smooth transition for Jennifer Pinder as the new executive director.
YGB board President Gretchen Beidl said she is “thrilled” to welcome Pinder aboard with her solid qualifications. “Her deep background in mission-driven leadership in the fields of child welfare and social policy make Jennifer an ideal leader to continue to grow YGB’s mission,” Beidl said this week in an email.
“As an adoptee,” Pinder stated in a news release, “I have a unique appreciation for the loving, lifelong support network a family provides and I am excited to join an organization that has an established, 25-year history of finding permanent families for older children in foster care.”
Pinder joins YGB with more than 20 years of nonprofit and corporate experience under her belt. Most recently, at the social science research firm IMPAQ International, she led strategic partnerships with several federal agencies, including the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation; the Office of Head Start; the Children’s Bureau; the Administration for Children and Families; and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
She said she plans to use that experience to expand the roster of YGB partnerships in her new role.
Based in New York City, YGB’s mission is to reduce the number of foster youth exiting the system without the stability of a family. According to the organization’s website, in New York City alone, more than 900 young adults are on the verge of aging out at age 21. Without the support of a loving family, statistics show, half of them will experience homelessness and other bad outcomes. YGB says it has placed more than 450 youth with permanent families in the past 14 years.
The organization’s founder, Pat O’Brien, is now executive director of the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York.
The Imprint staff reports
CORRECTION: This article mistakenly noted that Ms. Pinder had spent time in foster care before being adopted. It was updated on July 17.