YWCA Boston to Continue LeadBoston and InIt Civic Leadership Programs

init class 2013 group

BOSTON – YWCA Boston and the Boston Center for Community and Justice (BCCJ), two of Boston’s oldest and most recognized social justice organizations, announced plans today to continue BCCJ’s civic leadership programs through an exclusive licensing agreement.

Under the deal, LeadBoston – a premier executive leadership program focused on social responsibility for mid- and senior- level executives – and InIt – an intensive youth leadership and development program for high school students – are anticipated to continue permanently under YWCA Boston management.

BCCJ was established in 2005, emerging from the local branch of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, which began work in Boston in the 1920s. Recognizing the economic challenges nonprofits currently face, the BCCJ board of directors had been engaged in an ongoing effort to secure the sustainability of these acclaimed programs. 

After reviewing proposals from several interested organizations, BCCJ chose to license its programs to its longtime collaborator, YWCA Boston.  Founded in 1866 by key figures in America’s abolition and suffrage movements, YWCA Boston has been improving social conditions in the city for 145 years. Today, the organization boasts more than two dozen LeadBoston graduates among its staff, board members, volunteers and supporters, including YWCA Boston President and CEO Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, LeadBoston ’99.

“On behalf of YWCA Boston’s board, chair Kathryn Murphy and the entire YWCA Boston family, we are delighted to continue LeadBoston and InIt and provide critical social justice training to Boston’s current and future leaders,” said Ferrell-Jones. “More than ever, Boston needs visionaries across all sectors who understand the social issues facing our most marginalized neighbors, and who are willing and able to bridge the racial, gender and socio-economic divides that prevent all Bostonians from achieving the freedom, justice and dignity that they deserve.”

BCCJ Board Chair and City Year executive Maureen Alphonse-Charles (LB ’97) echoed Ferrell-Jones’ sentiments. “LeadBoston and InIt alumni are making enormous strides to create a better Boston.  We are delighted that these programs will survive and prosper under the time-honored and tested leadership of YWCA Boston.  In YWCA Boston, we recognize a shared commitment to social justice for all people, from all parts of our community.”

More than 60 Boston-area youth will participate in the 250-hour YWCA Boston InIt curriculum beginning this summer, and more than 50 adult leaders are anticipated to enroll in its 2012 LeadBoston program this coming winter.

Nearly 1,000 Boston executives are alumni of the LeadBoston program which will mark the graduation of its twentieth class on June 15. Among many notable LeadBoston alumni are former Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo; senior advisor to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Ron Bell; Fidelity Investments Senior Vice President Sheila Cavanaugh;  Greater Boston Food Bank CEO Catherine D’Amato; Bridgespan Boston office chief William Foster; Boston Architectural College President Ted Landsmark; Edwards Angell Palmer and Dodge partner Rebecca Lee; Liberty Mutual Vice President Melissa MacDonnell; Paradigm Properties CEO Kevin McCall; Caritas Carney Hospital President Bill Walczak; and Whittier Street Health Center president Frederica Williams.

This is YWCA Boston’s second acquisition of nationally-recognized social justice programs. In 2009, the organization absorbed and subsequently expanded the adult and youth interracial dialogues programs originated from City-Wide Dialogues on Boston’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity.  More than 3,000 Bostonians have participated in these programs.

Additionally, more than 3,500 Bostonians annually receive services from YWCA Boston through its signature health education and affordable housing programs.