Shelly Yanoff, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Set to Retire
(Philadelphia, PA) May 28, 2012 – The Board of Directors of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) announces that Executive Director, Shelly Yanoff, will be leaving the nonprofit organization she has headed for over two decades in the fall, after a new leader has been selected.
"Shelly has been an incredible champion for children throughout the region," says Carolyn Adams, chairwoman of the board of directors. "Her extraordinary vision and leadership helped shape policy and guided PCCY to its position as one of the region's most tenacious advocates on behalf of children and their families.
During her 25-year career with PCCY, Yanoff has worked tirelessly to increase funding and improve programming in child health, child welfare, public education, child care and youth development. Thousands of children and their families have been touched through her leadership since she took over as executive director in 1987.
“It’s time to step aside in order for PCCY to begin its next phase into the future," Yanoff says. "I'm fully confident that the organization's next decade will transform the lives of children all over Southeastern Pennsylvania.”
Yanoff's career in defense of children and families begin in the mid-1960s when she crafted the strategy to save the “Get Set” day care program for 5,000 youngsters in Philadelphia. She went on to lead a rally in Harrisburg of 2,000 Philadelphians who insisted on more state support for neglected children. Later, she organized more than 10,000 Southeastern Pennsylvania residents who traveled to Washington, urging that the government invest in children.
"Shelly has made countless contributions to improving the quality of services to children because of her sheer resolve,” Adams says, adding, “she has inspired countless others here at PCCY and at other advocacy organizations to emulate her remarkable persistence on behalf of the most vulnerable."
Yanoff’s leaving was announced as PCCY’s board and staff begin to develop a new three-year operations plan. Adams said the board will commence a comprehensive search for new leadership.
As executive director, Yanoff has played a major role in expanding the scope and quality of services to children and their families in the region. Over the course of her tenure Yanoff:
- Drew attention to the plight of homeless children and advocated on their behalf by working to change City and School District policy.
- Took busloads of protesters to Harrisburg, successfully advocating for changing the state’s reimbursement formula for child welfare.
- Launched a child health watch in neighborhoods around the city and taught families how to secure health insurance for their children.
- Helped craft the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), got the legislation passed and continued to work to secure healthcare for the region’s children.
- Initiated a project to protect kids from lead poisoning. Called "Get the Lead Out," the program and subsequent continuous advocacy helped Philadelphia become the most improved city in terms of protecting children from lead poisoning.
- Supported increased funds for schools at the city, state and federal level.
- Introduced ‘Eye Day’ in which thousands of kids get free eye care and ‘Smile Day’ that provides children with free, annual dental care.
- Advocated for the adoption of Pennsylvania’s education funding formula and for full-day kindergarten.
A graduate of Penn and Villanova Law School, this month Yanoff was awarded an honorary doctorate from Arcadia University.
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