Improving His Corner of the World

Kids’ Chance of America’s New Executive Director Looks to the Future

Improving His Corner of the World

Improving His Corner of the World

Kids’ Chance of America’s New Executive Director Looks to the Future

Take a look at Joe Mancini’s resume, and you’ll find his guiding philosophy in one neatly worded phrase. “I am improving my corner of the world,” he states.

He’s doing just that as Kids’ Chance of America’s new executive director. 

A Career in Doing Good

Joe’s drive to help others has led him to enjoy a long and rewarding career in the nonprofit arena.  

He began his career as a teacher’s aide and a residential supervisor at Shawnee Academy in Pennsylvania, working with dual-diagnosis individuals age 5–12 for more than a decade.

In 2014, he joined The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties as director of programs. He spent four years with this organization, which advocates for the rights of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

During his tenure as executive director of The Arc of Philadelphia — a position he held from 2018 to 2020 — Joe received the 2019 Rising Star Award at The Arc of the United States’ National Conference of Executives. 

Most recently, he served as vice president of the Williams Syndrome Association-international, where his responsibilities included overseeing the operational budget and organizing national events that helped raise $1 million in funds toward research.  

An Uplifting Mission

Kids’ Chance is precisely the kind of organization that aligns with his values. “The mission is what really drew me,” Joe said.  “The ability to support students is something I couldn’t turn away from. To give them a small silver lining in what is going to be the most challenging thing they will ever have to overcome is really uplifting.” 

He began training with key Kids’ Chance stakeholders on a part-time basis in late July, before assuming his official duties on September 1. From the start, Joe has been impressed with everyone he’s met and all that he’s seen so far. 

“The experience with Kids’ Chance of America has been thrilling,” he said of his first impressions. “Every stakeholder in the organization is so invested and welcoming. The staff I am lucky enough to work with are brilliant, and the organization has really been put in a place to be successful well into the future. I have really enjoyed getting to know my board and the unique skills they bring to the table. It is a lot to learn, but I have a really wonderful support system.” 

An Inspiringly Tough Act to Follow

That support system includes his predecessor, Vicki Burkhart, who has been involved with Kids’ Chance for more than 22 years and served as the organization’s executive director for over a decade. “Joe is an exceptional and empathetic leader who will guide the national office to new heights,” Vicki said. “Now that we’ve reached the 50 state milestone, I am more excited than ever to see how the Kids’ Chance community grows both larger and more interconnected in pursuit of our mission.”

Envisioning the Future

Joe is eager to sustain Kids’ Chance well into the future. “We are now in all 50 states,” he said, “and supporting those states to remain stable and develop succession plans and recruit board members will be key. I would also love to see our access to students increase so all the states can increase the number of scholarships we can hand out each year.” 

He has a strong sense of how to realize this vision. Joe anticipates increasing Kids’ Chance of America’s national partnerships, finding gatekeepers in the Kids’ Chance community with access to potential scholarship recipients, and employing innovative ways to support every state.  

“I am excited to see how the national organization can create events that bring our community together outside of the annual Kids’ Chance National Conference. Creating events that forge personal connections among stakeholders around the country could really benefit our growth,” he said.

A Clear Path to Follow

And thanks to his previous work in the nonprofit sector, he has the skillset to get things done.  

“I think my development background will really help me in stewarding donations and cultivating relationships,” Joe said. “My experience managing a large volunteer contingent will help keep this organization moving effortlessly into the future. I also have experience developing strategic plans, so alongside our board, we will be able to set a clear path to follow.” 

Expanding Our Reach

As he maps out future Kids’ Chance of America’s initiatives, Joe looks forward to seeing all the good Kids’ Chance scholarship recipients can do to improve the lives of others.  

“Working with our stakeholders to assist in creating a future for these children not only allows us to save our corner of the world,” he said, “but also sends college graduates out there to do the same. I am excited to watch the growth of the students we support from identification to graduation — and to see how they choose to give back to the community.”