Beacon Cities

San Francisco

Beacon Centers

27 hub Sites (all SFUSD MS and high needs ES)

CBO Partners

14 Providers

Local Funding

$315k – $445k

Beacon Initiative Coordinating Lead Agency

San Francisco Beacon Initiative

City Leader

Carol Hill Ed.D

Executive Director

View Bio
View Website

San Pablo

Beacon Centers

6 Hub Sites, 5 ES, 1 MS

CBO Partners

2 Providers

Local Funding

$35k – $150k

Beacon Initiative Coordinating Lead Agency

City of San Pablo Community Schools

City Leader

Jora Atienza-Washington

Community Schools Manager

View Bio
View Website

Denver

Beacon Centers

35 Centers Opt-In

CBO Partners

4 Providers

Local Funding

$300k – $500k

Beacon Initiative Coordinating Lead Agency

Heart and Hand Center

City Leader

Mary Cipollone

Executive Director

View Bio
View Website

Minneapolis

Beacon Centers

2 K-5, 2 K-8, 4 HS, 3 HS

CBO Partners

4 Providers

Local Funding

$150k – $450k

Beacon Initiative Coordinating Lead Agency

YMCA of the Twin Cities

City Leader

Haley Thompkins

Beacons Network Specialist

View Bio
View Website

New York City

Beacon Centers

18 ES, 56 MS, 6 HS, (11 Added Sites)

CBO Partners

44 Providers

Local Funding

$550K

Beacon Initiative Coordinating Lead Agency

NYC Department of Youth and Community Development

City Leader

Wanda Ascherl

Assistant Commissioner Community Centers

View Bio
View Website

Beacon Center Program Model

The first Beacon Centers opened in 1991, rooted in a vision of transforming a public school building into a vibrant community hub open beyond school hours, serving as a “Beacon” of light for all residents. Inspired by this model leaders from across the country flew to New York and began to open Beacon Centers in cities across the country.

Youth Goal »

Through consistent participation in Beacon programs, youth will feel safe, gain skills, develop supportive relationship, and show growth on youth development and academic measures.

Citywide Goal »

The San Francisco Beacon Initiative and its Beacon Centers will be integral partners in education reform and youth development efforts across the city.

Family Goal »

Beacon programs will help parents and caregivers connect with school and community resources, build stronger relationships with their children and other family members, and gain skills to navigate school and life more effectively.

School Goal »

Beacon Centers and their school sites will collaborate and share data to develop and implement coherent strategies that reflect their complementary goals.

Beacon City Leader Bios

Carol Hill Ed.D

Executive Director
Dr. Carol Hill brings more than 20 years of progressive leadership in the development, implementation and management of successful educational programs and initiatives, most recently including leadership in the San Francisco Beacon Initiative. She is a nationally recognized leader and trainer for the Coalition for Community Schools and for the National Beacon Initiative. She grew up in a working class family in Washington D.C. where she gained a lifelong love for learning and a deep understanding of her responsibility to “lift as she climbs.” She is a gifted trainer and a skilled facilitator who has chosen to use those talents to disrupt the status quo while creating lasting and replicable solutions through partnership and collaboration. She has been a lecturer in ethnic studies at San Francisco State University and has trained on the Community Schools Model at a number of national conferences. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in Ethnic Studies and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Francisco State University.

Jora Atienza-Washington

Community Schools Manager
Jora is a Community Services Coordinator with City of San Pablo and serves as the lead for the city-wide Beacon Community Schools Initiative. She has worked extensively in community schools in the Bay Area, most recently as the founding Beacon Director for the North Beach-Chinatown Beacon in San Francisco for over 7 years. During that time, she served as the representative for directors on the city-wide Beacon Steering Committee, along with leading partnerships, evaluation, and staff/program/fund development for her agency. She previously worked in senior leadership roles in Oakland and San Francisco. Jora earned her Bachelor of Arts in Italian from UCLA and her Master in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco. She lives with her family in Oakland, CA.

Mary Cipollone

Executive Director
Mary Cipollone is passionate about empowering children and youth with the skills, information, and relationships they need to build successful futures. She has dedicated her career to improving educational and personal outcomes for students in low-income communities in Harlem, Detroit, Denver, and Latin America. Mary holds a BA from Dartmouth College and a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. She loves hiking, listening to live music, and eating good meals with friends and family.

Haley Tompkins

Beacons Network Specialist
Hayley Tompkins is the Program Executive of the Minneapolis Beacons Network, a collaborative of four of the largest youth serving organizations in the Twin Cities: the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the YWCA of Minneapolis, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, and Minneapolis Public Schools Community Education. Hayley began her work at Beacons in 2003 as a youth worker. She proudly works with her incredible team to support 13 Beacons centers across Minneapolis through coordination, technical assistance, evaluation, convening, professional development, and youth leadership efforts. Hayley earned her masters’ degree from the University of Minnesota in Youth Development Leadership, where she now teaches a course on community as a context for youth development. She enjoys geeking out on topics like youth-adult partnership, evaluation, and Beyonce.

Wanda Ascherl

Assistant Commissioner Community Centers
Assistant Commissioner of Beacon and Cornerstone Community Centers at the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development(DYCD). I have been in the field of youth development for over 20 years first in an Early Childhood setting which later led me to the YMCA of Greater New York, the New York City Department of Education and DYCD where I have worked for 12 years. My role at DYCD is to provide support, guidance and resources that improve the quality of services throughout the City by collaborating​ with local organizations and investing in the talents and assets of our communities to help them develop, grow and thrive.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ As Assistant Commissioner I oversee a $62 million youth services portfolio of 91 Beacon Community Centers and provide technical assistance and capacity building to 47 community-based organizations, establishing program priorities and ensuring adherence to agency policies and contractual obligations. In 2009 launched a $12.5 million community center initiative at 25 new Cornerstone Community Centers as part of then Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ensure continuity of services in NYCHA Community Centers. The program has since expanded to 94 Community Centers throughout the five boroughs. A graduate of Lehman College with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and completed graduate courses in Education, Supervision and Administration at Fordham University.