Blue-Ribbon Panel Chaired by NYU Wagner Prof. Gordon Campbell to Look into Closures of Several Nonprofit Organizations
Gordon J. Campbell, Professor of Practice at NYU Wagner and Director of the school’s Executive MPA Program, is among two dozen seasoned nonprofit human services executives who have been named to a blue-ribbon Commission of the Human Services Council (HSC) to look into the closures of several large nonprofit human services organizations in New York City. Campbell, with more than three decades of experience as a government official and nonprofit leader, will chair the new Commission.
The role of the Commission is to seek to “understand the contributing factors from management and oversight to challenging fiscal environments” in connection with the demise of organizations such as FEGS; the $250 million health and human services nonprofit shut its doors after announcing it had lost $19.4 million last year.
HSC works closely with city and state government.
“Over the course of several months, the group will evaluate the financial details, management decisions, government contract terms, and accountability systems of these organizations to gain a full picture and understanding of what caused them to close. They will also examine existing oversight approaches, including those required and those considered best practices, investigate the financial and other management decisions made, and identify funding and other systemic issues contributing to financial problems,” according to an HSC statement.
Professor Campbell most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of New York City, which creates, leads, and supports strategic initiatives that have a measurable and lasting impact in improving education, income stability, and health.
He was Chief Executive Officer of Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading and largest victim assistance organization, from 1998 to 2007. During his tenure, Safe Horizon was widely recognized for its compassionate and effective emergency response to the 9 /11 attacks. Prior to leading Safe Horizon, he served in senior positions in the Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani Administrations. He was the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services and Chief of Staff to the First Deputy Mayor. In addition, he was Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations and a mayoral appointee to the City’s Procurement Policy Board. While at the city’s Human Resources Administration, he headed the Office of Medicaid Transportation and created and organized the Division of AIDS Services.
Before arriving in New York City, Mr. Campbell served as a prosecutor, a labor attorney, as well as the Chief Administrator for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
The grand jury decisions in the police killings of Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO., and Eric Garner of Staten Island, NY, were the catalysts for insights, reflections, and next-step brainstorming as the NYU Wagner community came together for an open-mike forum on December 9 facilitated by Wagner students Simone Andrews and Quintin Haynes.
The conversation among nearly 100 students, staff, and faculty reflected not only the deep emotions that many have voiced on the New York University campus and across the country at demonstrations, die-ins, and tributes to the victims and their families, but an opportunity to discuss policy solutions, as well.
Haynes said he was pleased that so many of Wagner’s faculty and staff were present at the gathering, engendering a collaborative spirit with students.
In recent weeks, NYU Wagner’s Black Student Association (BSA) released a letter to the Ferguson City Council, offering recommendations for improving police/community relations, along with an open letter to the Wagner community underscoring the need for dialogue aimed at bringing about change that matters.
The BSA has been holding a series of “Tea Talks” on topics such as Ferguson’s rippling effect throughout America, and the obstacles to collaboration and mutual support facing us all.
The continuing outcry has a strong resonance for many people within the Wagner community, and events are now being scheduled for the spring semester to continue the conversation.