- Policy and Advocacy
Lori Kaplan, Board President, LAYC
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Lori moved to the District of Columbia in 1976 after
graduating from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She began supporting the Latin American
Youth Center (LAYC) in 1979 as a volunteer, joining the staff in 1980 and becoming Executive
Director in 1987.
Lori leads one of the nation’s most respected youth development agencies. In 2007, she guided
LAYC through a rigorous theory of change and business planning process to help LAYC move
“from good to great” and achieve even more significant outcomes for low-income youth. LAYC is
one of only six multi-service youth development agencies in the nation to receive support for this
process from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.LAYC and the LAYC-founded Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers operating in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties together have a staff of over 175 full- and part-time employees and a budget of approximately $13.5 million.
Lori has founded two public charter schools in the District of Columbia. Next Step/El
Próximo Paso Public Charter School is designed to support the educational needs of youth who
have dropped out of middle or high school, including teen parents and recent immigrants. LAYC’s
YouthBuild Public Charter School re-engages high school dropouts through education, vocational
training in the construction industry, leadership development, and community service.
Lori has pioneered using social enterprises for youth development. Under her guidance, LAYC
purchased a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop that provides real-world workforce training for youth.
LAYC’s Arts + Media House offers classes in fine arts, media, dj-ing, writing, photography, fashion
design, and more.
Lori has received recognition and numerous awards for her accomplishments including the 1997
Washingtonian of the Year Award and the 2001 Lewis Hine Award, presented by the National
Child Labor Committee. In addition, under her leadership LAYC was cited in 2005 for best
practices by Seedco Innovations in Community Development and by Lee Schorr in her report for
the Hilton Foundation.
Lori is co-chair of the DC Alliance for Youth Advocates and serves on the Board of Directors of
the Consortium on Child Welfare, the Roundtable for Nonprofit Excellence, and Youth Radio. She
is a member of Leadership Washington and was appointed in 2000 to the DC Workforce
Investment Board.Lori and her family live in the District of Columbia, and she is the proud mother of Max.