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Children's Institute, Inc.: Staff


Martine Singer

President and CEO

Martine is a veteran of Los Angeles’s nonprofit sector, with extensive nonprofit management experience and a passionate commitment to improving the lives of children in LA’s most underserved communities. As President and CEO of Children’s Institute, she oversees one of region’s oldest and largest child and family organizations, managing an annual operating budget of $75 million and more than 1,000 staff. She also guides the agency’s newest endeavor, a new campus— designed pro-bono by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry—in the historic community of Watts. Martine previously served as President and CEO of Para Los Niños, as well as held executive positions with several global media companies, serving as the founder and publisher of the first foreign-language edition of The New York Times, and launching the Los Angeles Times’ award-winning online service in 1993. A native New Yorker, she holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. She serves on the boards of Eisner Health, The Association of Community Human Services Agencies, and Wise Readers to Leaders.

Catherine Atack

Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer

Catherine Atack joined CII in January 2017. Catherine’s professional background spans both non-profit and for-profit experience. Prior to joining CII, she was the Director of Development for United Friends of the Children for over six years, a Los Angeles non-profit organization serving current and former foster youth in education and housing programs throughout Los Angeles County. Before relocating to Los Angeles in 2010, Catherine was the Executive Director of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, an area she called home for ten years before relocating to a warmer climate. Catherine has also worked extensively in the field of marketing and advertising at agencies in Reno, Nevada, New York City and in her home country of the United Kingdom.

Jacqueline Atkins, Ph.D.

Regional Vice President, Programs

Dr. Jacqueline Atkins is Regional Vice President of Programs at CII. In this capacity, she provides leadership to Clinical and Community Service Programs at CII’s service sites in south Los Angeles County. Dr. Atkins received her Doctorate in Clinical-Community Psychology, focusing on research and practice in the area of prevention and community based intervention. As a clinical psychologist, she has worked with children and families who have been impacted by abuse, neglect and other trauma, providing psychological assessments and clinical interventions in rural and urban settings. Her areas of research have focused on ethnic socialization practices and their link to mental health and educational outcomes for African American and Latino youth. She is a presenter on issues of diversity, and the development and implementation of culturally relevant prevention and intervention programs.

Manuel Castellanos Jr., Ed.D., LCSW

Senior Vice President, Early Childhood Services

Dr. Manuel (Manny) Castellanos, Jr. is Vice President of Early Childhood Services at CII. He oversees early education services for children and their families, including the agency’s Early Head Start, state preschool, and general child care services. He is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 36 years of experience working with at-risk children and families, which includes 15 years of service at CII. Dr. Castellanos’ prior positions include Director of Family Services at Venice Family Clinic and Executive Director of the South Bay Free Clinic in California. He has served on numerous boards and community service groups, including California Head Start-Child Care Collaboration Committee, Los Angeles County Child Care Planning Committee, and Board of Directors for Venice Community Housing Corporation.


Vice President of Human Resources

James Colón is Vice President of Human Resources at CII. He offers strategic leadership in the areas of workforce management, talent acquisition and development, employee relations, policy development and implementation, project management, training, and payroll. His team leads the effort to support strategic change and development at CII while identifying business needs, developing creative solutions, and implementing programs for organizational growth and development. James has more than 10 years of experience in Human Resources, with a specific focus on the nonprofit sector. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources, and a M.B.A from California State University, Long Beach. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California.

Marion Dave, LMFT

Regional Vice President, Programs and Strategic Initiatives

Marion Dave, LMFT is Regional Vice President of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at CII. She is responsible for the development and management of Clinical and Community Services in the South Los Angeles/Watts area. Marion provides leadership to the Youth Development Initiative, CII’s Integrated Service Model and the expansion of CII services in the Watts community. Marion began her employment at CII as a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern specializing in treating children and families who have been harmed by violence and various forms of abuse. Over the past 14 years, she has held various positions including Clinical Supervisor, Regional Director, and Vice President of Program Development. Marion has been a Lecturer at California State University, Dominguez Hills in the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program and maintains a private practice. Marion is also a member of Jack and Jill of America, Los Angeles Chapter.

Gene Straub

Executive Vice President and Chief Finance & Operating Officer

Gene Straub is a seasoned finance and operations executive with nearly 30 years of experience working with organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. He has held senior management positions at 20th Century Fox, Youth Policy Institute, Larchmont Schools, CWC Schools, Break the Cycle and Granada Hills Charter High School, and has used his financial and operational experience to support the growth, sustainability and profitable operations of these organizations. Mr. Straub has been involved in the development, launch and management of more than a dozen charter schools now serving more than 6,000 students, and programs that have served tens of thousands of low-income children and families. In addition to his professional responsibilities, he serves on the Board of YPI Charter Schools and has been a board member of Larchmont School, City Schools, Valley Charter, Citizens of the World, Para Los Ninos and AYSO Region 78.

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