Young Adult Institute and its network of affiliate agencies (“YAI”) offer children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) a comprehensive range of services. From residential, day programs, medical services, and schools; to life skills, crisis services, and employment supports, YAI is committed to seeing beyond disability, providing opportunities for people to live, love, work, and learn in their communities.
YAI has been dedicated to providing innovative services for the I/DD community since its founding in 1957, a time when institutional living was the norm for people with I/DD. Operating in New York, New Jersey, and California, YAI offers more than 300 person-centered programs for people of all ages.
20K Individuals supported
Manhattan Star Academy
NY, NJ, CA Presence
From its very beginning YAI has been dedicated to providing innovative services for the I/DD community. YAI co-founders Bert and Pearl Maze MacLeech believed that developmentally disabled persons could lead productive lives. Out of their opposition to the practice of placing the developmentally disabled in institutions, they pioneered the 1950s movement to establish community-based services for them.
They envisioned a “total life adjustment approach, emphasizing personal growth, social responsibility, employment goals, and the development of independence for the individual.” At a time when institutional living was the norm for people with I/DD, this vision was nothing short of revolutionary.
Today, YAI is at the forefront of healthcare, education, long-term services and supports for children and adults with I/DD and behavioral challenges. The agency operates programs that cover the lifespan including residential, day, and employment services; medical and clinic services; respite; crisis intervention; summer camps; travel; recreational opportunities; and free information and referral services available to all.
What began as a very small not-for-profit serving seven people with I/DD, has grown into one of New York’s largest nonprofit organizations. With an annual budget of $250 million and a team of 4,000 employees, YAI supports 20,000 children and adult and their families. YAI helps individuals in their care to make the transition from school to jobs and in developing social and community-living skills.
“YAI’s reputation as a pioneer in I/DD services transcends the spaces where it operates programs. As our field evolves, and community integration, deinstitutionalization, and person-first support become global standards, YAI is an increasingly recognized partner.”
— Mohamed S. Alshamari, Chief of Economic and Social Development, Royal Commission for Al’Ula
YAI Prepares for the Future: Empowering people through technology
YAI is focused on innovating, engaging, and advancing the agency as a multi-state organization that is tech savvy and a thought leader in the I/DD field.
YAI believes that technology can level the playing field and in the everyday lives of people with disabilities in ways that are affordable and scalable. Today’s wearables, smart home hubs, and interactive and interconnected software and hardware can assist with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), provide access to information and entertainment, and help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) achieve personal goals and greater independence.
YAI is positioned ahead of its peers with data gathering and dashboards that will help inform its real-time decision making in ways that will allow it to push the boundaries of what’s possible in supporting and empowering individuals with I/DD and behavioral challenges.
Board of Trustees
YAI’s Board of Trustees is an accomplished assemblage of volunteers from a variety of professional backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, who share the agency’s dedication to fostering a better world for people with disabilities.
The agency is committed to providing the highest quality services and conducting our business with honesty and integrity and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, our Board of Trustees functions as stewards and fiduciaries to ensure that we fulfill this commitment in everything we do.
The Board performs a variety of services, including monitoring the quality of our programs and the overall integrity of our organization, and approves our annual budget. It oversees overall strategy, policy, and compliance. It also evaluates the performance of the CEO and determines the CEO’s compensation.
While Board members are expected to focus on the financial health and stability of the organization, one of their most important contributions is the time and talent they devote to the organization.
Roles & Responsibilities
The YAI Board of Trustees works with the Chief Executive Officer, George Contos, and the leadership team to serve the interests of people who are supported by YAI and their families. Trustees are expected to become familiar with YAI’s mission, vision, history, programs, plans, by-laws, and financial status, through ongoing meetings, dialogue and other initiatives.
The Board of Trustees’ responsibilities include:
Appoint, support, and assess the performance of YAI's Chief Executive Officer
Provide strategic direction, including approval of strategic plans and any major initiatives
Safeguard YAI's financial stability
Serve on one or more of the following Board Committee*:
Share professional expertise
Represent YAI at functions and meetings as appropriate
Participate in fundraising initiatives and connect the agency with potential supporters, partners, and stakeholders
Make at least one personally significant charitable gift each year.
Trustees must exercise their responsibilities in accordance with the duty of care, duty of loyalty and duty of obedience, consistent with New York State law. These concepts are described below and are periodically reviewed with the full Board.
Duty of Care
The duty of care requires that trustees discharge their duties in a manner that they reasonably believe to be conscientious, thoughtful, and meticulous, using the same degree of care, skill, caution, and diligence that a person of ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances.
Duty of Loyalty
Trustees must perform their duties in good faith and in YAI’s best interests. They do not seek to derive personal gain or advance their own interests. The duty of loyalty requires that any real or potential conflict of interest be disclosed. Trustees must avoid transactions from which they or their family might benefit. Trustees familiarize themselves with YAI’s Conflict of Interest Policy and truthfully complete Annual Disclosure Questionnaire.
Duty of Obedience
The Board of Trustees has a duty of obedience to ensure that YAI complies with applicable law and regulations and its internal governance.
Terms, Committees and Time Commitments
Board members commit to a three-year-term with the opportunity to continue board participation at their pleasure. New trustees are elected to a 1-year term that ensures a smooth transition into their new roles and that they are ultimately set up for success.
Board meetings take place 6 times a year with committee meetings taking place in the interim. All Board members are expected to attend all meetings.
* On an as-needed basis, the Board may form ad hoc committees to oversee or explore various projects of indeterminate length.
Board Diversity Policy
YAI seeks to maintain a Board of Trustees that is comprised of talented and dedicated members with a diverse mix of experience, skills and backgrounds, collectively reflecting the strategic needs of the business and the nature of the environment in which the organization operates. When assessing Board composition or identifying suitable candidates for appointment or re-election to the Board, the organization will consider candidates using objective criteria, having due regard to the benefits of diversity and the needs of the Board. For purposes of this policy, diversity includes age, gender, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, sexual orientation, business experience, geography, and other personal characteristics.
We value the benefits that diversity can bring to our Board because diversity promotes the inclusion of different perspectives and ideas, mitigates against group-think and improves oversight, decision-making and governance. Diversity on the Board is also consistent with the organization’s commitment to diversity at all levels of management and among employees.
“Working with people with intellectual disabilities is kind of like planting seeds which are helping someone grow to their fullest capabilities. To see them flourish and be able to live better lives is awesome!!!!”
— Rebecca Dejesus
YAI is seeking to add two extraordinary Board members with a strong connection and/or commitment to YAI’s mission, to improving the lives of those supported, and who are eager to contribute their time and skills to help guide the next chapter of growth.
While leaders with a variety of experiences with a strong connection to YAI’s mission are compelling, new Board members with ONE of the following skills and abilities are of primary interest:
• Finance and Accounting Acumen
• Technology Expertise
• Marketing & Branding Expertise
Board Members will possess the following professional and personal qualities, skills and characteristics:
Passion for the Mission
Preferred candidates will bring a true passion to the mission of YAI. They will be deeply committed to providing opportunities that empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to reach their goals. These thoughtful and collaborative leaders will be compelling and effective communicators who foster a powerful sense of purpose and urgency that unites the board and the leadership team and pushes them to do their best to champion YAI’s mission, to provide the highest quality services to the I/DD community, and to achieve the greatest possible impact for their success. Moreover, they will embody the values of the organization and will inspire and motivate others effecting real improvement in people's lives.
As ambassadors for YAI, these respected yet approachable leaders will be adept at communicating the agency’s priorities in a manner that inspires others to champion its future success. Preferred candidates will be equally skilled at forming strong and authentic connections with fellow Board members and YAI’s senior team while at the same time delivering firm but even feedback and strategic counsel with diplomacy and respect. They will possess relationship-building skills and excel at identifying and nurturing relationships with prospective donors, partners and other stakeholders that will increase both the organization’s visibility and engagement.
Leadership & Governance
Directors will be skilled managers with a history of operational leadership and a familiarity with functional, strategic and governance challenges that complex large organizations experience. These leaders will demonstrate strong inter-personal skills and an inherent ability to listen intently, think clearly and respond effectively to a variety of inquiries and challenges. Ideal candidates will be able to quickly distill information, ask insightful questions, and provide constructive feedback to executive team leaders and other stakeholders. Congenial and team oriented, they must not be afraid to challenge group think and provide alternative pathways to problem solving. They will operate with the highest level of integrity, ethics and transparency and hold the organization and management to that same standard.
To express your interest in the role, please submit a cover letter and a curriculum vitae at http://drgsearch.com/current-searches/?rpid=kQVddyI4r_s. All applications, discussions, and inquiries will be considered strictly confidential. Only applications with cover letters will be accepted.
Equal Opportunity Statement
YAI is an equal opportunity employer. We value diversity and recognize that building an agency where employees of many backgrounds work together will benefit not only YAI, but also the people we support. At YAI, discrimination is not tolerated. It is our conviction that all people deserve to be treated fairly and with respect in a work environment free from discrimination. YAI does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices and prohibits discrimination against anyone – the people we support, employees, or visitors – on the basis of actual or perceived race; religion/creed; color, national origin; alienage; citizenship status; sex; gender; pregnancy; age; disability; marital status; partnership status; caregiver status; sexual orientation; gender identity; military status; predisposing genetic characteristics; credit history; reproductive health decision-making; unemployment status; or status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking; or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. YAI prohibits discrimination in any terms and conditions of employment including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, work assignments, performance evaluations, discipline, compensation, benefits, promotion, demotion, transfer, lay-off and termination, or any decisions that affect the terms and conditions of employment. With respect to the use of criminal convictions records in hiring or employment decisions YAI complies with federal, state, and city laws.
DRG Talent Advisory Group
DRG is a Talent Advisory Group. We serve nonprofit organizations that care for, inspire, and enrich the lives of people all over the world. Our team of talent advisors shares a commitment to the values that matter to our clients, bringing more than 30 years of experience to serving the nonprofit community.
Our mission is to support nonprofits in bringing together the right leadership, talent, culture, and structure—so people and organizations can thrive.
DRG is a team of talent advisors who help nonprofits search for, attract, and nurture innovative, diverse leadership for their organizations. We work with nonprofits to maximize impact through talent assessments, transition planning, and by providing insights into compensation and organizational design.