Child homelessness is at a record high in New York City, with one in 10 students in public schools living in temporary housing.
Phoebe Boyer ’93 is on the frontline working to prevent these children from falling through society’s cracks. As president and CEO of Children’s Aid, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofits serving children, Boyer is responsible for leading a team of more than 1,200 employees who provide health, education, and wellness services to New York City’s needy and at-risk youths.
“Kids who live in poverty, it’s through no fault of their own,” says Boyer, who studied nonprofit management at the Business School and earned the Joanne Martin Academic Award for Public and Nonprofit Management upon graduation. “With the right supports they can achieve anything, and that’s been the motivator, I think, for my entire career.”
In this episode of Columbia Bizcast, Boyer discusses her important work in overseeing an organization with 45 citywide sites that provide a gamut of children’s services, from adoption programs to summer camps to after-school education. As the first female CEO of Children’s Aid — a role she took on in 2014 — Boyer has become something of a role model for both her staff and the many single mothers and young women that her organization works with daily.
“We are in the opportunity business,” says Boyer. “Our kids, because of the realities of living in poverty, they often face many barriers to the opportunities that I think other people take for granted, whether it’s educational opportunities or opportunities to have high-quality healthcare. Our kids need those opportunities, and that’s what we’re providing them with.”