FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA (December 7, 2021) — Cynthia Figueroa, Deputy Mayor of the Office of Children and Families (OCF) for the City of Philadelphia, will become the next President and CEO of JEVS Human Services (JEVS), the largest non-profit of its kind in the Philadelphia region, JEVS announced today.
She will start her new position on February 7, 2022. Her last day with the City will be January 10, 2022. She will succeed JEVS’ longtime CEO, Jay Spector, who will retire in June 2022 after 42 years of service, the last 26 as President and CEO.
A member of Mayor Kenney’s Cabinet, Figueroa is widely credited with transforming the City’s Department of Human Services into a national model as a high-performing, outcomes-driven child welfare system.
Mayor Jim Kenny said: “I am grateful to Deputy Mayor Figueroa for her service to the City of Philadelphia and for the invaluable impact she’s had in supporting our residents. Her optimism, tenacity, and energy helped strengthen City services and supports, especially for Philadelphia’s children and families. Under her leadership, family involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems decreased, prevention services increased, PHLpreK expanded to 4,000 annual seats, and more family supports are available at Community Schools. In response to the pandemic, Cynthia successfully led programs that provided food access and created safe spaces for young students while they transitioned to virtual learning.
“JEVS is smart to appoint her as President and CEO. Her unwavering commitment to expect the very best services for kids, families, and adults will continue to benefit Philadelphians through her leadership at JEVS.
“On a personal note, she will be missed, and I wish her all the best for this next chapter. ”
In stepping into the President and CEO position at JEVS, Figueroa will assume leadership of the largest human services and employment non-profit in the region. Founded in 1941 to help Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe restart their lives, JEVS has expanded significantly since then.
Today, JEVS is one of the region’s largest non-profits to help those facing socio-economic challenges to lead independent lives. It annually assists more than 30,000 individuals with a staff of more than 1,000.
Lisa Washington, Chair of the Board of JEVS, said Figueroa emerged as a candidate whose unique background and passion were a perfect fit for JEVS.
“Cynthia brings to JEVS a highly relevant background and well-earned reputation as a champion for the underserved. Her impressive resume is matched by a heart for service, a passion to make a difference, and the loyalty she inspires in teams she leads.
“I am exceptionally delighted that her personal journey – as a woman, a Latina leader, and a daughter of immigrants – will enable her to bring new perspectives to JEVS as we serve a diverse clientele.”
“I am thrilled and honored to be appointed CEO and President of JEVS and looking forward to working with the Board of Directors, leadership team, and staff,” said Figueroa. “I’m so excited to have this opportunity to build upon the inspirational history and legacy of its founders and work with an exceptional team to expand opportunities for those it serves. I am particularly honored to follow Jay Spector who has served as an extraordinary steward of JEVS, its mission, and its dedicated staff.”
Other City leaders chimed in to praise Figueroa’s selection.
“I have known and worked with Cynthia in many of her past roles in government and the nonprofit sector,” said Pedro A. Ramos, President and CEO of Philadelphia Foundation. “She is a leader who operates with utmost integrity, professionalism, and skill. Cynthia is an incredibly effective advocate for children and families and has the rare combination of appreciation for planning and ability to execute. She values partnerships and can work effectively through complex systems while changing and improving them. Cynthia is a tremendous choice to be the next leader of JEVS. Congratulations to the JEVS board on making such a great hire.”
Figueroa and Spector will work together for four months before Spector retires in June, an arrangement Board Chair Washington said underscored how committed both leaders are to a smooth and successful transition.
When Spector retires, he will cap a 42-year career at JEVS, during which he exponentially expanded the scope and reach of the organization.
Spector joined JEVS in 1979 to expand the organization’s workforce programs. Over the following four decades, he helped the organization build out programs to help people with intellectual, physical, and mental health disabilities to remain in their homes and opened community-based residences.
One of his most notable achievements was the design of an innovative welfare-to-work program that brought attention to the significant barriers that confronted those on welfare. Throughout his tenure, he sought out creative partnerships with industry in a quest to uncover employment opportunities for clients of JEVS.
Under his leadership, JEVS grew from a $5 million non-profit into one with a budget of more than $100 million.
“I am very excited about this next chapter in JEVS’s history and am confident that Cynthia is the very best choice to lead this extraordinary organization into its next 80 years,” Spector said. “Her commitment to our region’s families is underscored by her impressive background and the passion with which she has worked on behalf of the communities we serve.”
The search for Figueroa was led by John F. Salveson of Salveson Stetson Group.