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Donna Cooper named to lead PCCY

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 13, 2012 02:38 PM

Donna Cooper

Donna Cooper, who was Gov. Rendell's policy chief for eight years and who has experience in both city government and the advocacy world, has been named the new executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth.

Cooper will succeed Shelly Yanoff, who is stepping down after leading the group for 26 years.

"We're delighted to welcome a successor to Shelly who possesses such passion for improving children's lives, such deep knowledge of the Philadelphia region, and years of experience working effectively on behalf of children's policies," said PCCY board chair Carolyn Adams in a statement.

In an interview, Cooper said she took the job after eight years in Harrisburg and two years in Washington reinforced her view of the need for advocacy groups working on behalf of children.

"A lot has been done in the past 10 years to connect the needs of children and benefits to the economy," she said. "People have come to the realization that unless we improve our investment in kids, our future as a nation is undermined."

Before working for Rendell in Harrisburg, Cooper served three years as deputy mayor for policy and planning under Rendell and designed and led a program called Greater Philadelphia Works that helped single mothers on welfare achieve self-sufficiency.

She also led the advocacy group Good Schools Pennsylvania, which fought for equitable education funding statewide.

Rendell called Cooper the "conscience" and "soul" of his administration when she left two years ago to become a senior fellow at the Center for American Progess, a progressive think tank.

Cooper said she would start her new job in January. 

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Comments (4)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 13, 2012 7:19 pm
What an awful decision. So much for the coalition building that PCCY is known for. Donna is a smart woman, but incredibly polarizing and without the heart of Shelly Yanoff.
Submitted by Carolyn Adams, President of PCCY (not verified) on November 27, 2012 9:16 am
While Anonymous calls Donna Cooper a “polarizing” choice for PCCY, the board of PCCY sees Donna as a passionate advocate for children with a powerful intellect and deep experience in working with others to turn policy ideas into opportunities for our kids. She is exactly the right choice as successor to Shelly Yanoff, who could accurately be described in just those ways.
Submitted by Annonym. (not verified) on November 27, 2012 2:48 pm
I have known Donna Cooper for more than 25 years. She is a strong advocate and always clear about standing with those who need the most support. She also knows "the system." Her return to Philadelphia is welcome.
Submitted by WeareAnonymous (not verified) on December 10, 2012 8:56 pm
Honestly, the wonderful Carolyn Adams can't possibly believe that. As a person who studies demographics and urban policies, she is well aware that it is unacceptable for another middle class white woman to run the organization for the next 10 years. What about representation of the population one is serving? What about honoring Shelly's legacy by not getting someone with such a foul mouth? What about the collaboration that PCCY is known for. Check the coffers, my check will not be in the mail for this annual appeal.

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