The Children’s Aid Society Names Abelardo Fernández Director of Collective Impact
Bronx-based Initiative Aligns Community Resources for College Focus
The Children’s Aid Society today announced the appointment of Abelardo (Abe) Fernández as director of its “Collective Impact” initiative, a multi-sector collaboration to develop a cradle-through-college or career pathway initiative in the South Bronx.
As director of the initiative, Fernández will lead an effort to organize community leaders in identifying, monitoring and improving indicators of child well-being and school success in the Morrisania area of the South Bronx. This unique partnership with Phipps Community Development Corporation (Phipps CDC) and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, announced in February, coordinates the work of local providers, the Department of Education and schools, parents, students, businesses and neighborhood leaders to obtain better school results for young people.
Collective impact—a strategy based on the premise that no single organization can affect large-scale, lasting social change alone—has been applied successfully in education reform to boost rates of children adequately prepared for kindergarten, reading and math scores, and high school graduation rates.
“We are delighted to appoint Abe to this important role overseeing our effort to expand the college-going culture in the Morrisania community,” said Richard R. Buery Jr., president and CEO of The Children’s Aid Society. “With his expertise in marshaling resources to achieve school success, Abe is well-positioned to help us organize the human and financial capital in this underserved community to support the common goal of ensuring that each child has every opportunity to succeed and thrive.”
The initiative has begun by focusing on the neighborhood’s schools and early childhood programs to keep track of young people’s needs, interests and progress, and to connect them to the programs and supports that will help them thrive. Fernández will work closely with the leadership and staff of Children’s Aid’s and Phipps CDC’s key programs, including Head Start and Early Head Start, after-school and summer programs, parent engagement and foster care services, to integrate each into a cradle through college and career pipeline.
Fernández most recently served as deputy director of Children’s Aid’s National Center for Community Schools, where as a leading expert on the community school strategy he has helped schools and school districts from coast to coast marshal and organize community resources to more effectively achieve student success. Fernández has designed and presented trainings at local and national conferences on topics such as school-community partnerships, parent engagement and systemic initiatives.
Fernández was formerly an assistant director of the Children’s Aid community schools department, supervising community schools in the South Bronx—including two start-up schools—and an administrative supervisor and consultant to the department.
Prior to joining Children’s Aid, he served as the director of youth services and ran the multi-service Washington Houses Community Center at Union Settlement Association in East Harlem. Fernández started his career as a teacher of middle school mathematics and director of the Summerbridge/Breakthrough Program in the Bronx. He is a graduate of Brown University and the Institute for Not for Profit Management at Columbia University.
About The Children’s Aid Society
The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City. Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938/ (917) 204-8214, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.