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Wendy-Anne Roberts-Johnson will officially start her role as President & CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, starting April 17. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Wendy-Anne Roberts-Johnson will officially start her role as President & CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, starting April 17. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Philadelphia Youth Network finds its new President & CEO in Wendy-Anne Roberts-Johnson

She is currently the Executive Director of Need in Deed, and will officially join the Philadelphia Youth Network on April 17.

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The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) announced yesterday that Wendy-Anne Roberts-Johnson has been named the new President & CEO of Philadelphia Youth Network. 

She will be taking over the role held by John F. Clayton Jr. — who has served as interim CEO since October 2022 — effective Monday, April 17. 

As PYN President and CEO, Roberts-Johnson will report and work collaboratively with the Board Chair, leading PYN in delivering on its long-term vision. Specifically, she will be tasked with ensuring that PYN’s fiscal, operations, fundraising, marketing, human resources, technology and programmatic strategies are effectively implemented seamlessly across the organization.

“I believe passionately in the mission of this organization and in providing our young people opportunities to explore careers that would help them be contributing citizens,” Roberts-Johnson said in a statement. “I’m excited to get right to work on our signature program, the WorkReady initiative, and ensure all participants have a meaningful and valuable experience this summer.”

Roberts-Johnson is no stranger to opening doors to providing valuable opportunities for young people.

She currently serves as Executive Director of Need in Deed, an organization that supports Philadelphia public school teachers to build civic engagement in their classrooms. Over her 4 years as Executive Director, she has provided strategic and operational oversight, led the organization out of a multi-year deficit, strengthened board operations and cultivated new and existing donor relationships among other successes.

“Her time at Need in Deed working with our youth through community outreach and job placement programs have more than prepared her to come to PYN and hit the ground running,” said Clayton Jr. 

It’s her extensive and successful track record that stood out during the YPN Board of Directors' search to find its new leader.

“We are impressed with her leadership experience in previous workforce development programs, as well as her experience in nonprofit management and in fundraising,” said PYN Board Chair Debra Friedman. 

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“In addition to her notable experience, it’s clear Wendy-Anne fully embraces PYN’s belief that it is our responsibility to prepare young people for thriving futures,” Friedman added. 

Local funding for youth employment programming has been stagnant, and even decreased in some areas, despite rising program costs. 

Coupled with the fact that federal funding from COVID-19 relief efforts is also waning, one of Roberts-Johnson’s top priorities in her new role will be to address this funding gap.

“We have important work ahead including continuing to improve our operations and securing funding to provide more opportunities for young people through summer job placements. This is crucial, since we know early work experience produces myriad long-term benefits, such as boosting economic, academic, and health outcomes,” she said. 

Since it was founded in 1999, PYN has provided more than 240,000 opportunities for young people in Philadelphia. 

Last year, its WorkReady initiative, in cooperation and partnership with the City of Philadelphia Office of Children and Families and Philadelphia Works, distributed $8 million and provided employment for more than 7,500 youth. 

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