Community Briefs: JEVS CEO Retires, NYC Partners

Jay Spector. Photo by Linette Kielinski

JEVS CEO to Retire, Successor Named
Jay Spector, the longtime president and CEO of JEVS Human Services, Inc., will retire in June and be succeeded by Cynthia Figueroa, deputy mayor of the Office of Children and Families, the nonprofit announced on Dec. 7.

Figueroa will start on Feb. 7; her last day with the city is Jan. 10. She will work together with Spector for four months before he retires.

“I’m so excited to have this opportunity to build upon the inspirational history and legacy of its founders and work with an exceptional team to expand opportunities for those it serves,” Figueroa said.

JEVS was founded in 1941 to help Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe restart their lives. Today, it is the largest human services and employment nonprofit in the region, helping those facing socio-economic challenges to lead independent lives. It annually assists more than 30,000 individuals with a staff of more than 1,000.

Spector has spent the last 26 years as president and CEO.

Cynthia Figueroa. Photo by Gabrielle Mahler

He joined JEVS in 1979 to expand the organization’s workforce programs and helped the organization build programs to help people with intellectual, physical and mental health disabilities to remain in their homes.

Spector helped design a welfare-to-work program that brought attention to the significant barriers that confronted those on welfare, according to a JEVS news release.

Under his leadership, JEVS grew from a $5 million nonprofit into one with a budget of more than $100 million.

“I am very excited about this next chapter in JEVS’ history and am confident that Cynthia is the very best choice to lead this extraordinary organization into its next 80 years,” Spector said. “Her commitment to our region’s families is underscored by her impressive background and the passion with which she has worked on behalf of the communities we serve.”

Figueroa was a member of Mayor Jim Kenney’s cabinet and “is widely credited with transforming the City’s Department of Human Services into a national model as a high-performing, outcomes-driven child welfare system,” the release said.

“Under her leadership, family involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems decreased, prevention services increased, PHLpreK expanded to 4,000 annual seats and more family supports are available at community schools,” Kenney said in a statement. “In response to the pandemic, Cynthia successfully led programs that provided food access and created safe spaces for young students while they transitioned to virtual learning.”

92Y, Curtis Institute Announce Collaboration
The 92nd Street Y in New York City and Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music announced a collaboration entitled Curtis at 92Y.

Curtis will work with 92Y to develop adult education classes taught by Curtis faculty and alumni, which will be featured on 92Y’s global adult education and culture platforms.
92Y is a Jewish cultural and community center on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Curtis at 92Y launches on Jan. 19 with a multi-session, online adult education course taught by Jonathan Coopersmith, chair of Musical Studies at Curtis. The course will center on Franz Schubert’s ”Quintet in C Major.”

On Feb. 18, the first of two annual Curtis on Tour concerts premieres with a Curtis ensemble performing Schubert’s work on the stage of 92Y’s Kaufmann Concert Hall in New York City. A second Curtis on Tour offering at 92Y will be announced later.

In addition, Curtis and 92Y will work together to develop educational activities around Curtis on Tour appearances on 92Y’s concert series for students enrolled in 92Y’s School of Music and in the larger New York City community. It will focus on the community served by 92Y’s Center for Arts Learning & Leadership; pre-pandemic, the program served more than 15,000 primarily under-resourced NYC public school students in person.

In the summer, selected students from 92Y’s Recanati-Kaplan Program for Excellence in the Arts will study with Curtis alumni teaching artists in an online intensive instructional and mentorship program.



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