This group of renowned and talented professionals are dedicated to advancing the vision and mission of City Year.
Jim serves as chief executive officer and is recognized as a leader and innovator in the education field. Prior to this role as CEO, Jim Balfanz has served as President of City Year for nine years, steering its continued evolution as a performance-driven organization. Jim led City Year’s strategic shift toward addressing the nation’s urban education challenge as a scalable human capital strategy for high-poverty schools and co-authored a 2012 City Year report, “Closing the Implementation Gap,” that highlights the critical role national service can play in helping to improve student achievement in America’s highest need schools. In partnership with Johns Hopkins Talent Development and Communities In Schools, Jim has also played a leadership role in the development of Diplomas Now, which was awarded a $36 million Investing in Innovation award by the Department of Education.
Prior to his role as President, Jim served as City Year’s Chief Operating Officer for five years during which he led the organization through a sustained period of growth that enabled it to grow from 15 to 21 U.S. locations and launch its second international affiliate in London. Jim began his work with City Year as a corps member at a Head Start Program in Boston in 1993, after which he joined City Year’s staff and has since assumed various roles in City Year’s National Headquarters, including Deputy Director of National Affairs, and Director of New Site Development, followed by being named the Founding Executive Director of City Year Greater Philadelphia in 1997.
Jim received his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University, is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business Executive Management Program, and a 2011-2012 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. He currently serves on the boards of Eye to Eye and City Year UK. In 2016, he was appointed to the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development as a Distinguished Educator, and in 2019 he was appointed to the Science of Learning Development National Advisory Committee.
City Year welcomed Shanuah in 2017 as its first General Counsel. In this role, Shanuah is responsible for developing and implementing legal strategy in alignment with City Year's mission, vision, values, and culture.
Shanuah brings to the General Counsel role years of experience in a broad range of disciplines, including finance, governance, strategic planning, and process re-engineering. Previously, she served as Deputy General Counsel for the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency and was charged with overseeing legal services in support of all aspects of the agency’s affordable housing mission, including closing complex affordable loan transactions, implementing compliance and risk management policies and procedures, and managing defensive litigation. From 2001 through 2011, while with Textron Financial Corporation, Shanuah held a number of positions: Division Counsel, certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Division President where she managed a $700M+ leveraged lease portfolio, loan serving unit, insurance subsidiary and was a member of the company’s Executive Committee.
Shanuah, a native of Cleveland, has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Vassar College and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Shanuah is active in her Boston community and serves as a trustee of the New England Baptist Hospital. She has previously served as a director of the SpeakEasy Stage Company and President of the Board of Directors of Rosie’s Place, the first women's shelter in the United States.
Michael Brown is Senior Advisor and Co-Founder of City Year, an education-focused nonprofit organization that mobilizes idealistic young people for a year of service in systematically under resourced schools and promotes the concept of voluntary national service as means of building a stronger democracy. Michael led City Year for 30 years, including 13 as CEO.
This year more than 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members are helping to address the nation's high school dropout crisis and turnaround low performing schools by serving as full-time tutors, mentors and role models in systematically under resourced schools in 29 U.S. cities. City Year also has affiliates in South Africa and the UK. Through its national initiative, "In School and On Track: A National Challenge," City Year aims to significantly increase the urban graduation pipeline in America.
City Year served as an inspiration for AmeriCorps, the federal initiative through which more than one million Americans have served their country. City Year has 32,000 alumni who have contributed more than 54 million hours of service and earned access to more than $150 million in college scholarships through the AmeriCorps National Service Trust.
For his work developing City Year and advancing the national service movement, Michael has been awarded the Reebok Human Rights Award, Independent Sector’s John W. Gardner Leadership Award and has been named one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report as well as an Executive of the Year and member of The Power and Influence Top 50 by The NonProfit Times.
Michael is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He currently serves as the president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers. Prior to co-founding City Year, Michael served as a legislative assistant to then Congressman Leon Panetta and as a clerk for Federal Judge Stephen Breyer.
AnnMaura Connolly is the Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President of City Year Inc., a national youth service corps dedicated to helping urban schools and students succeed, and the President of Voices for National Service, a coalition committed to expanding opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve and volunteer. Since serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after graduating from Holy Cross, AnnMaura has been a leading voice for the idea that a year of service should be a common expectation and common experience of every young person, and has built a career around growing citizen service as a strategy for solving critical issues and developing the next generation of leaders in the U.S. and abroad.
During her 17 years at City Year, AnnMaura has served as a member of the organization's leadership team, directing the organization's public policy, public affairs and international work and led the creation of the organization's two international affiliates in South Africa and the United Kingdom. As a co-founder and President of Voices for National Service, she has led the effort to expand and strengthen the federal investment in national service and played a key role in the development and passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which was signed into law in 2009.
In 2015, AnnMaura was named to the inaugural class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a joint initiative of the George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush and Lyndon Baines Johnson presidential libraries. In 2016 the College of the Holy Cross honored her with a Sanctae Crucis Award, the highest non-degree accolade bestowed on alumni, in recognition of professional distinction in the service of justice. In 2017, AnnMaura published her first book, In the Service of Others: America At Its Best, a collection of compelling stories from those who have served in national service programs across the country, in their own words. She also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, 9/11 Day of Service, City Year South Africa and City Year UK, on the Advisory Board for the Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program at Brandeis University, and on the NationSwell Council.
George Chu currently serves as Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Analytics at City Year. In this role, he oversees financial planning, reporting, forecasting and analytics.
He is also a co-founder and principal at The Room40 Group, a consulting and advisory group that helps nonprofits to improve, grow and change; and serves on the Board of Directors of two Public Benefit Corporations: YUPRO, a placement firm supporting Year Up graduates and The Bridgespan Group Social Impact, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bridgespan Group supporting for profit entities pursuing social missions.
George is a hands-on executive with a record of delivering results in entrepreneurial, high-growth nonprofit organizations. As a consultant, George has focused on defining strategy, creating buy-in, and leading execution and implementation from the frontlines to the executive team. Previously, George served as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Analytical Officer, and Chief Financial Officer for Citizen Schools, a nonprofit focused on improving schools. He was also a consultant for The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consulting firm, and Arthur D. Little, a global strategy and operations management consulting firm. George started his career as a manufacturing engineer for Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a two time collegiate All-American wrestler, and is named an inventor on U.S. patent 5,746,741. He is currently seeking hobbies more befitting his physical and intellectual condition. George resides in Dedham, MA with his wife Carolyn and two children, Will and Maddie.
In this role Allison advances the organization’s fundraising portfolio by deepening City Year’s current partnerships, building dynamic new investments and enhancing the ways in which City Year stakeholders across the country collaborate to further advance the organization to achieve its impact goals. In addition, Allison oversees the organization’s engagement of over 20,000 + alumni by mobilizing their talents, skills and resources to benefit the students served by City Year.
A Southern California native, Allison previously served as the Executive Director of City Year Los Angeles (CYLA). In 2007 returned to her home state to launch CYLA, leading the organization’s eighteenth site. Starting with 75 corps members in its founding year, CYLA has quickly grown to meet the needs of the region, expanding to 275 corps members in its seventh year. Prior to launching CYLA, Allison served as City Year’s national Alumni Director. In addition, Allison has worked at several community development and education organizations in the U.S. Allison held leadership positions with Learning Leaders, an organization that engages 10,000 volunteers in New York City schools, including oversight of parent involvement programs at 20 schools in the Bronx. Prior to Learning Leaders, Allison taught and ran an after-school program in Washington, D.C. during a year of national service with Public Allies.
Allison serves on the Senior Fellow Society at the USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab and was recognized by LA magazine in 2013 as one of LA’s ten “Most Inspiring Women” for her great work as City Year Los Angeles’ Executive Director. She is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is the proud mother of Maya and Gil.
In this role Jessica oversees the preservation and creation of value in partnership with City Year’s senior leadership team through leadership of the financial, technology, legal and federal grants management for City Year’s annual operating budget and staff of 4,500. In this role, Jessica enables sustainable enterprise growth strategy in new and existing markets, co-leads transformations of the organization operating model to expand the benefits of national support services, and effectively deploys financing vehicles on the cutting edge for tax-exempt organizations, including swaps and derivatives, while maintaining compliance and risk controls. As an officer of the organization, Jessica is also charged with leading City Year’s investment, finance and audit committees.
A Massachusetts native, Jessica joined City Year in 2003 as a Fireman Fellow. While at City Year, Jessica served as City Year's Vice President of Operations Transformation, leading the development of the operating model transformation project processes, practices, and frameworks to increase frontline staff time focus on students, corps, and our stakeholders. Prior to this role, Jessica was City Year’s Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis, where she oversaw the annual operating and grant budgeting process for the enterprise, developed financial models for organizational and site growth, and designed financial and revenue reporting tools and processes. Prior to that, she served as City Year's National Director of Service, responsible for the standardization of our school-based service model. In her very first role at City Year, Jessica successfully managed the development of 287 Columbus Avenue as our national and City Year Boston headquarters.
Jessica brings to the CFAO role many years of experience in a broad range of disciplines, including finance, operations, governance, strategic planning, and change management. Her responsibilities have included risk management, compliance, marketing and sales, personnel management and training, financial modeling, contract administration, and customer satisfaction at public and private sector organizations including The Community Builders, MassDevelopment Finance Agency, and Public Financial Management Inc.
Jessica has been an active volunteer in her children’s school communities, serving in capacities as varied as Board Chair and room parent. She has also served several terms in leadership of her synagogue's Board of Trustees. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in Urban Studies and the MIT Sloan School of Management MBA program where she was awarded the Seeley Scholarship prize. She is the proud parent of Hannah and Theo.
Ellen joined City Year in 2018 and serves as the leader of Information Technology (IT) for City Year. As the leader of IT serving the sites’ and national needs, Ellen and her team enable groups across the organization to deliver the City Year’s mission by supplying applications, connectivity, collaboration tools, and data gathering/analysis tools.
While new to City Year, Ellen is a Boston area native who brings skills in strategic planning, program and project leadership and improving business operations through technology solutions. Previously Ellen spent 12 years working in IT at Harvard University, holding various roles until finally reporting to the university CIO as the Managing Director of Project and Vendor Management. Before Harvard Ellen worked primarily in IT consulting in various industries including pharmaceuticals, IT outsourcing, insurance, financial services, and even retail food services as part of her over 20 years of experience in IT. Ellen was previously on the board of City Stage, a Boston non-Profit which offers urban children, youth, and families opportunities to participate in the performing arts, so they can make discoveries about themselves and the world.
Ellen is a graduate of Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and has a Master of Science in electrical engineering from University of Notre Dame.
Jason Holton currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition for City Year. In this role, Jason leads the recruitment efforts for the entire organization for both staff and corps. Before stepping into this role on the national senior leadership team, Jason served as the leader of City Year Milwaukee in his role of Vice President and Executive Director. In this role, Jason served as the primary leader, internal manager, strategist, external champion, and builder of the Milwaukee site. Jason began his work in Milwaukee, the city he continues to call home and where his family has been deeply rooted for multiple generations, in 2009 when he founded the City Year Milwaukee site alongside champions and stakeholders in the city.
His career with City Year, however, began in 2005 as the National Recruitment Systems Manager. In 2006, Jason was promoted to National Recruitment Director overseeing the product & process development for the City Year network recruitment function. Jason then led the City Year Washington, D.C. Program and Service department as the Deputy Director. During his time in Washington, DC, Jason was accepted into the competitive inaugural class of LEAD City Year, an internal program aimed to sustain a culture of continuous talent investment aimed at accelerating the organization's growth and cultivating future site leadership. Jason came to the organization with a BA from Lake Forest College where he studied History and African American Studies. Jason has also been involved as a Board Member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation of SE Wisconsin, FUEL Milwaukee and is a graduate of LeadBoston. Jason continues to actively serve on the boards of University School of Milwaukee, We Grow Greens, and the advisory board for Public Allies Milwaukee.
Jeff Jablow is City Year’s Chief Education Strategy Officer, where he oversees organization-wide strategy, leads education partnerships, policy and evidence-building and the development and spread of innovative school design practices. In this role, Jeff directly oversees a number of national departments, including: District Engagement, which supports developing transformational partnerships with 47 school districts across the country; Strategic Planning and Analysis, which leads organization-wide strategic planning and stewardship of the organization's long term impact strategy; Education Policy Strategy, which leads the creation and oversight of the organizations education policy platform and manages external evaluations, and the School Design Division, which develops, tests, and disseminates innovative school-wide practices to strengthen student outcomes and support whole school improvement.
Prior to joining City Year, Jeff worked as a strategy consultant with Cambridge Strategic Management Group, Ernst & Young Consulting, and The Bridgespan Group. Jeff’s passion for service and the nonprofit sector was ignited during his time working with Afrika Tikkun, a community development nonprofit in South Africa.
Jeff has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and is a Fuqua Alumni Leader of Consequence award winner. He has a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master of Science in accounting from the University of Michigan. Jeff serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for City on a Hill Charter Public Schools in Massachusetts and is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow. He’s a lifelong Cleveland sports fan, which has taught him perseverance, resilience, and how to celebrate small victories in life.
Hubie Jones is a vital member of the social justice movement in Boston where he has held numerous positions in academia, served on multiple boards and played a leadership role in the social development of the city and its people. Professor Jones is Dean Emeritus of the Boston University School of Social Work, where he served as Professor and Dean from 1977 to 1993. He was Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Urban Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston from 1995 to 2003 and for eight months in 1992, he was acting President of Roxbury Community College. From 1972 to 1977, he was Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Professor Jones has played a key role in the formation, rebuilding and leadership of at least thirty community organizations within the black community and across the city. In twenty of these organizations, he served as chairman of the board or executive director. Some of these leadership roles include: executive director of the Roxbury Multi-Service Center, board chairman of the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, board president of Roxbury Youthworks, Roxbury Community College Foundation and the Citywide Educational Coalition. He founded Higher Ground, Inc., modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone. Since 2002, he has been founder and president of the Boston Children’s Chorus. He has served as a trustee at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute for 10 years and a trustee of the Foley Hoag Foundation for 25 years. For 20 years, Hubie Jones appeared weekly as a panelist on “Five on Five”, a public affairs program on WCVB-TV.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the City College of New York and Master of Social Work from Boston University School of Social Work. Mr. Jones has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Northeastern University, University of Maryland, Lesley University, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.
Kanna first joined the City Year family as a Boston corps member in 1995, and then continued on staff in the communications department and as the Director of CYZYGY, City Year’s National Convention, in 1997. Kanna then joined the Boston Redevelopment Authority, as Special Assistant to the Director, working on the planning and economic development agenda for the city in the late 90s. After public service, Kanna moved to the Midwest to attend business school, and subsequently entered the private sector at Goldman Sachs in Chicago as an equity derivatives salesman in 2001. Kanna moved with Goldman to London in 2004, helped build their international and emerging market equity derivatives franchises, and then moved to Barclays in 2011 to build those same businesses again.
Throughout his time in the private sector, Kanna maintained his connection to the service sector by helping to bring City Year to the UK. He was a Founding Board member of City Year UK, and served as the Finance Chair for five years. Kanna also organized the Goldman Sachs Gives Team in London to support the program’s work through donations from senior leaders. Since joining City Year, he is one of the only people to serve as a corps member, staff member, individual donor, corporate sponsor and Board Member.
Kanna is a graduate of Harvard College with a degree in English literature, and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Kanna is married to Jill, and they are raising their three children.
Christine is Chief Growth and External Affairs Officer at City Year where she focuses on generating resources, developing partnerships and mobilizing key stakeholders—diverse young adults, investors, partners, educators and policymakers—to fuel increased impact with students and schools across the country.
Christine recently led a refresh of City Year’s brand and messaging to reach a new generation of young adults, highlight the strengths of students and communities and share relevant content in an authentic way to inspire audiences to engage with City Year. As part of her work leading City Year’s national expansion over the past decade, Christine has launched City Year programs in 12 new cities, securing multi-year private sector growth capital and strategic partnerships with school districts. She also served as the founding Executive Director of City Year Miami, leading the organization’s largest new site. Christine joined City Year in 2005 as a Fireman Public Service Fellow where she led City Year's signature corporate partnership program, increasing revenue by over 40% and securing two new national corporate partners.
Prior to City Year, Christine served as the founding Director of the International House of Blues Foundation-Orlando, an arts education program that promotes cultural understanding and creative expression through music and art. She also founded the House of Blues Folk Art Festival, a dynamic cultural festival that featured prominent national self-taught artists.
Christine was the first woman in her family to graduate from college, earning her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Florida State University and her master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Mithra joined City Year in 1993 as part of the start-up team for City Year Providence, Rhode Island, the organization's first expansion location. Mithra led the site as Team Leader, then Program Director, and then moved to City Year Inc. where she created the organization's first national convention program and developed City Year's strategic planning capacity.
After serving with City Year for four years, she attended New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she majored in finance and founded the school’s first service organization. After graduation, Mithra worked at A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm in Manhattan. Like many New Yorkers, Mithra was deeply affected by the events of September 11, 2001. Within months, Mithra left her position at A.T. Kearney to found City Year New York. She subsequently served as co-Executive Director and then Regional Vice President for City Year Philadelphia, New York, Providence, and Washington, D.C.
After her service as a Regional Vice President, Mithra was responsible for all site operations as Senior Vice President of Regional and Site Operations. In this role, Mithra led all aspects of operations for 27 US sites with 640 staff, 3,000 AmeriCorps members, and a total revenue budget of $131M. In 4 years, Mithra grew the organization from a budget of $77M to $131M.
As Chief People Officer, Mithra is responsible for recruiting, engaging, developing, and retaining City Year's nearly 1,000 staff across 29 locations. In this role, she also leads the work to actively promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across the City Year community to ensure that the organization is equipped to fulfill its promise to the tens of thousands of students it serves.
Mithra earned her bachelor's degree from Brown University. She lives in Minneapolis/St.Paul with her husband and three daughters.
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr., a native Clevelander, serves as City Year’s Senior Vice President for Regional and Site Operations. In this capacity, Phillip oversees all aspects of operations for 28 U.S. sites, including five regional vice presidents, more than 670 site staff, 3,000 AmeriCorps members and a total revenue budget of $138 million. Phillip is responsible for ensuring all City Year sites meet their operating goals, while positioning to meet long-term growth plans.
Prior to his current role, Phillip served as the Vice President and Executive Director for City Year Cleveland. During Phillip’s tenure, the site grew the corps size by 36 percent, increased AmeriCorps member retention from 78 percent to 94 percent and won Best of City Year three consecutive years. The site went from finishing in the red financially to increasing its surplus by 200 percent, including an increase in revenue from the school district, private sector and site board by 400 percent, 188 percent and 75 percent respectively. Also, the schools City Year serves in Cleveland saw significant improvement, including East Technical High School, where the graduation rate increased from 39 percent to 73 percent in less than five years.
Previously, Phillip served as a Cleveland Executive Fellow through a joint executive on loan venture between the Cleveland Leadership Center and the Cleveland Foundation. Before participating in this fellowship program, Phillip was a senior account executive with Marcus Thomas, LLC and an account executive at Fleishman Hillard. Prior to moving back to Northeast Ohio, Phillip held positions at Powell Tate | Weber Shandwick in Washington, DC and served as a congressional legislative aide for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
In 2015, Phillip made Crain's Cleveland Business’s Forty Under 40 list. Additionally, Phillip was accepted as a 2015 Pahara NextGen Leader, a program of the Aspen Institute. He was named by Crain's Cleveland Business as a "Who to Watch in Education" in 2014. Phillip was a member of Leadership Cleveland Class of 2013. He was selected as one of the Top 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers by Inside Business Magazine and the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club. Phillip was inducted into the George Washington University Hall of Fame in 2001.
A graduate of Gilmour Academy, Phillip earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The George Washington University School of Business. Phillip earned his Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the Case Western University Weatherhead School of Management. He lives with his wife and daughter in Solon, Ohio.
Charlie Rose has been a youth worker, organizer and entrepreneur in Boston for nearly 30 years. As a founding board member of City Year and then staff member who has played a myriad of roles, Charlie has helped build the organization into a national model for youth community service organizations. In addition, Charlie has also been a founding board member for seven other organizations including YouthBuild Boston and has served the community through his work with organizations such as Youth Outreach Program, Citizens for Safety, National Toxics Campaign, United Labor Unions Local, Urban Edge and as a VISTA volunteer. Prior to joining City Year’s staff, he was the Director of Youth Services for the City of Boston’s Community Centers.
Stephen began his service in 1990 as a corps member and soon emerged a leader. In 1991, he became the very first alumni to serve as Program Manager where he was responsible for the service and leadership development of ten young people. Stephen was also the first alumni Executive Director of City Year Boston. In addition to a number of leadership positions within the City Year organization, Stephen has helped found several City Year sites including Providence, San Jose and Philadelphia and supported the launch of City Year’s 15th site, City Year South Africa in Johannesburg. His contributions were recognized in 1997 when he was named the Founding Co-Executive Director for City Year Philadelphia. Stephen went on to join the headquarters team to support the overall management and support of the sites.
Stephanie Wu leads the design, execution, and evaluation of City Year’s Whole School Whole Child services, which are delivered by 3,000 City Year AmeriCorps members in more than 300 schools in 27 cities nationwide. She oversaw the program research and development initiative that fueled the organization's strategic shift toward addressing the nation's urban education challenge.
During City Year’s first decade, Stephanie developed and led foundational in-school and out-of-school community youth programs. She was responsible for putting in place fundamental concepts and practices supporting City Year’s culture, ideals, and leadership techniques, which remain essential to City Year’s work in schools and communities. Stephanie is also the founder of City Year’s Summer Academy, the organization’s intensive training program for staff and senior corps.
Before taking on her current role, Stephanie supported City Year's scaling and capacity building through leadership positions across numerous City Year departments, including Co-Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice president of U.S. Site Operations, and Senior Vice President for Human Resources. Stephanie is a graduate of Boston University and came to the organization from the private sector in 1988, serving as a founding team leader in City Year’s original summer pilot.
Over the course of her career, she has supported a variety of national service, youth development, and education organizations in the United States, UK, France, and Africa as a board member and thought partner. Stephanie played a leadership role in the design and founding of the Compass Academy charter school in Denver, where she currently serves on the founding board. Stephanie was a 2015-2016 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow.