Board of Trustees
Frank Blechman, Secretary
Frank Blechman is a consultant helping businesses, community organizations, and public agencies increase their effectiveness though internal and external consensus building. He has assisted with process design, system design, facilitation, training, and motivation. From 1991-2002, he was a member of the graduate faculty at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution of George Mason University. He has served on many boards and commissions including the Fairfax Partnership for Youth, the Fairfax County Alliance for Human Services, the Fairfax Committee of 100, the Northern Virginia Mediation Service, The Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax, Voices for Virginia’s Children, and the Wolf Run Foundation. Born in Newport News, Virginia, he graduated from Newport News High School (1965) and received a B.A. in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia (1969) where he was recognized as an Echols Scholar. He is both an Honorably Discharged Veteran of Service in the United States Navy and a conscientious objector. He is married and has two children.
L. Robert Bolling
Robert Bolling is the Chief Executive Officer at ChildSavers, a 90+ year-old not-for-profit agency that provides child mental health and child development services in the greater Richmond, VA community. Prior to this position, Robert served as Executive Director of the William Byrd Community House, a community based agency that serves the needs of children and families in the tradition of the settlement house movement of the early 19th century. Other nonprofit work includes Boaz & Ruth, an agency that helps the formerly incarcerated to achieve independence, and The Healing Place, a long-term residential recovery center for homeless men suffering from addiction. Early in his career Robert ran a youth workforce development program that helped high school and college students find summer employment. Robert is a graduate of Amherst College with a degree in political science. He also completed a post-college, two year fellowship through Amherst. Robert has studied leadership at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and completed coursework in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Snead School of Business. He is a member of the 2005 Class of Leadership Metro Richmond.
Beverly Tennessee Crowder is a product of Southampton County Public Schools. She holds a B.S. in Education from St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, VA; an M.S. in Reading from Longwood College in Farmville, VA; and an endorsement in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. She holds licensure in teaching, primary and secondary administration, and superintendent. A retired educator, Mrs. Crowder served nearly 40 years in the Halifax County Public Schools, where she served as teacher, principal in a number of schools, mentor to many teachers, and Director of Student Services. Engaged in the South Boston Community, Mrs. Crowder serves on the South Boston Planning Commission and a member of the South Boston Museum. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Currently, Mrs. Crowder is the State Community Ambassador for AARP, a position that allows her to carry out the work of the Association at the community level in a geographic area. In this position, she recently received the Virginia’s Gordon Morton Award for Volunteer Service, the highest award of service from AARP. She was married to the late Rev. Dr. James M. Crowder and has one daughter, Antoinette.
Linda H. Gilliam is a resident of Richmond, VA and a native of Hopewell, VA. She is a retired educational administrator, but for 35 years, her career spanned every level of education, including teacher, staff development instructor, high school assistant principal, middle and high school program administrator, elementary principal (where she led a challenge school to full accreditation), Director of Disciplinary Review, and an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond, where she taught for eleven years in the Teacher Licensure Program in the School of Continuing Studies. Currently, Dr. Gilliam is a consultant with the Virginia Department of Education, Office of School Improvement and Virginia Commonwealth University. Her civic service includes being a member of Second Baptist Church, where she is Second Vice-President of the Diaconate Ministry and has held a number of positions, including Trustee Ministry, Finance Ministry; Women’s Ministry and Superintendent of Sunday School. She also served on the Board of the Petersburg YMCA, and on the Board of Directors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is also a member of the Association for Fraternities/Sororities Advisors, where she was inducted into the Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Academic Honor Society, in 2013. Other honors include: The Alpha Kappa Alpha Certificate of Acknowledgement and Congratulations from the North Carolina House of Representatives; the 2011 Hope Award from Mount Hope Baptist Church, Prince George, VA; and Kappa Alpha Psi’s 2011 Distinguished Community Service Achievement Award; 2012 Distinguished African-Americans from Hopewell; and a Key to her native city, Hopewell, VA.
Liliana Hernandez is currently chief union steward for the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 250. Liliana Hernandez is a Child Welfare Program Specialist in the Children’s Bureau, Division of Program Implementation at the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. She serves as the federal project officer for the Child Welfare Waiver Demonstration Projects and the Family Connection Grants: Child Welfare/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Collaboration in Kinship Navigation Programs. She received a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Public Policy from the University at Albany. She has published in various peer reviewed journals on postsecondary education and kinship care. Liliana lives in Arlington, VA.
Allison Lawrence is currently the HosPAC (political action committee) Director for the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association in Glen Allen and adjunct faculty for Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia. She holds an A.S. from Reynolds Community College, a B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and is also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Program at The University of Virginia. Allison has fundraising, legislative and advocacy experience having worked for McGuireWoods Consulting, the Democratic Party of Virginia, and M. H. West & Co., Inc. She is currently a National Council Member for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Member of The 20/20 Leaders of America serving as its Director of Policy and Program Development; and a Member of The Links Incorporated, Commonwealth Chapter. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with the YWCA Richmond and Friends of Anderson Cemetery which was formed to restore, preserve, and enhance one of Henrico County’s oldest African American Cemeteries.
Born in Lee County, Virginia, Kay Kovacs grew up in Bristol, Virginia and earned a B.S. degree in Social Work from James Madison University. Her career began at Bristol Department of Social Services, and with some years as a stay-at-home mom to three children, she worked in foster care, adoption, and child protective services until 1995. She became interested in the child-focused system of a child advocacy center (CAC) for child abuse victims and served as Volunteer Chair of the task force that was responsible for establishing Virginia’s first CAC in Bristol/Washington County. After its establishment, she served as the Executive Director from 1998-2004. During the next nine years prior to retirement, Ms. Kovacs served as the Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Virginia, the statewide association of CACs and successfully garnered support from the Virginia General Assembly to provide annual funding to CACs throughout the state, mentored fellow CAC directors, and organized what has become an annual statewide conference to provide training and education to a wide range of child advocacy professionals. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her nine grandchildren, and volunteering with Southwest Virginia’s Communities in Schools program.
Judy Kurtz, Treasurer
Judy Kurtz is a consulting and management specialist for non-profit organizations with over 15 years experience in program planning, fundraising, grant writing, community organization, public relations, volunteer management and board development. Her primary focus is on issues involving foster care, adoption, and day care. Ms. Kurtz most recently served as Executive Director of the Virginia Beach Court Appointed Special Advocacy program. Prior to that, she was a program development consultant for Westside Children’s Center in Los Angeles and Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Prior to obtaining her master’s degree in public health from UCLA, Ms. Kurtz spent over 20 years working in the field of pediatric physical therapy in hospital, rehabilitation, and educational settings. She currently serves on both the Eastern Region Child Fatality Review Team and Friends of CASA. Previously, she was elected as a representative for California’s Early Intervention Service Delivery Project and served as PTA president in Virginia Beach.
John Oliver, Esq. is currently in part-time private law practice, but he served for 31 years in the Chesapeake City Attorney’s office, first as an Assistant City Attorney and later as a Deputy City Attorney. During that time, he was legal counsel to several City departments and agencies, including the Chesapeake Community Services Board (now Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare), the Chesapeake Department of Human Services where he handled all child abuse and neglect, foster care and termination of parental rights cases brought before the Juvenile and Circuit Courts, all guardianship and adult protective service cases brought before the Circuit Court, and all agency-related legal matters. Mr. Oliver has given his time to a number of human services related efforts over the years. He was a former member and chairman of the Local Human Rights Committee of the Southeastern Virginia Training Center, the State Human Rights Committee, the former Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect and a former member of the CHIP/Healthy Families program in Chesapeake.
Mary Riley, Chair
Mary Russo Riley is the Community Programs Administrator with the Chesapeake Department of Human Services. Prior to going to work for the city thirteen years ago, she was employed by Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Family Services of Tidewater and owned a retail paint and decorating business in Durham, North Carolina. She has served as Treasurer of the Hampton Roads Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, Chairperson of Prevent Child Abuse Virginia, a board member of Children’s Health Investment Program, a board member of Children’s Harbor, 2nd Vice President of the Hickory Marching Band, and a member of the Parish Council at Prince of Peace Catholic Church. She graduated from Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, got her Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame, and her Masters of Arts from the University of Akron. She has been married for 31 years to her husband, Morgan, and is the proud mother of a junior at James Madison University. She is also a stepmother and has three step- grandchildren who unfortunately live in Tennessee.
S. Duke Storen, VDSS Commissioner
Yasmine Taeb is an attorney specializing in civil rights and civil liberties. She’s currently serving as Legislative Director for Human Rights & Civil Liberties at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), a Quaker lobby. Previously, she served as a Project Manager for the Center for American Progress and as a 2013-2014 Fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP) Leadership Institute. She has substantial legislative and advocacy experience and has served as the Government Relations Manager for the Arab American Institute as well as a Legislative Fellow for Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee. Yasmine has previously served on the Arlington County Human Rights Commission, Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women, as well as on the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. She holds a J.D. from the Penn State Dickinson School of Law, pursued an M.A. in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations at Georgetown University, and holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida.