Richard Buery, 37, will soon depart from his position as Founder and CEO of Groundwork in East Brooklyn, N.Y., to head up one of New York City’s oldest and most venerated institutions, The Children’s Aid Society. Buery himself grew up in East Brooklyn, where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line, and with the highest crime rate in all of New York’s five boroughs.
After attending Stuyvesant High School, a magnet school in Manhattan, and continuing on to Harvard College and Yale Law School, Buery returned to his home community to establish Groundwork, a profoundly effective organization that helps young people to achieve academic success. Just a few years earlier, in 1999, Buery co-founded iMentor, a highly successful mentoring organization.
As the newest leader of Children’s Aid, Buery will head the organization founded by 1850’s social reformer and innovator Charles Loring Brace (who preceded the term social entrepreneur by well over a century). Brace and Buery share the vision that all children deserve the opportunity and society’s support to help them to become productive and successful adults.
Now a $100 million agency, Children’s Aid established the nation’s first day care program for working mothers, first free school lunch program, and the first visiting nurse service. Their community school model has been adapted by public schools throughout the U.S. And their concurrent planning approach to foster care became the basis for the federal 1996 Adoption and Safe Families Act, which defines today’s modern foster care system.
Buery describes Children’s Aid’s roots as the “hotbed of innovation.” He relishes the opportunity to further the organization as today’s innovator in youth development, education, and child welfare that transforms the lives of New York’s children, while serving as a model for other cities. “It’s in our nation’s interest to help every child to have the opportunity to succeed,” says Buery.