- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Who We Work With
- Our Stories
- Training and Consulting
- News and Events
- Activities, Toolkits and Reports
- Online Communities
- Current Initiatives
- Contact Us
The Innovation Center is composed of core staff in California as well as consultants, part time staff, and operational partners across the U.S. and in countries around the world. The diversity and strength of these partners as individuals and as a group define the Innovation Center
Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development
President & Chief Executive Officer
As the president and a founder of the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development, Wendy seeks out, nurtures, and brings to scale exceptional strategies to support young people, strengthen communities, and promote social justice. An expert in training and organizational, youth, community, and leadership development, Wendy consults for organizations, universities, and philanthropic institutions to increase youth engagement in communities and adult partnerships with youth. Prior to founding the Innovation Center, she held leadership posts at the YMCA, YWCA, Girl Scouts of the USA, and was a Senior Vice President at National 4-H Council. She has served on numerous advisory boards for youth and civic organizations including the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University and the Encyclopedia of Youth Activism; she currently serves on the advisory board for the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE). Wendy also is a Howland Endowed Chair in Youth Leadership at the University of Minnesota.
She has written numerous articles for both practitioners and academics, but her true love is creating practical training materials for youth and adults who want to create change.
Dale Blyth, Director
The Center bridges research and practice and serves as a resource, catalyst, and advocate for quality community opportunities for young people to learn, lead, and contribute. They provide non-formal learning opportunities for Minnesota youth. Wendy Wheeler, President of the Innovation Center, is the Howland Endowed Chair of Youth Leadership at the University of Minnesota.
Dale Blyth, Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Beki Saito, Senior Analyst email@example.com
For more than 12 years, Carolyn has been a partner of the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development based in Waupaca, WI. In addition to her work on the Waupaca Healthy Community / Healthy Youth Team, Carolyn is a lead trainer in the Innovation Center’s national cadre of trainers. Her voice and story were featured in the Innovation Center Publication: Creating Change: How Organizations Connect with Youth, Build Communities and Strengthen Themselves and she is the co-author of the article, “Leading, Learning, and Unleashing Potential: Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement”, published in the journal New Directions for Youth Development. Carolyn is an avid community volunteer with experience in Mexico, Uganda and Finland as well as in Waupaca, and she is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.
CEL is a non-profit organization, based in Seattle, WA, that inspires and develops youth and ethical leadership within individuals, organizations and communities to advance the common good. Building on the accountability of inspired individuals, they also address organizational and community cultures to foster positive change through their work in collective leadership. CEL and the Innovation Center jointly led the first phase of the Kellogg Leadership for Community Change project, Phase II focused on youth-adult partnerships and collective leadership for just communities.
Amy Sutnick Plotch
Amy Sutnick Plotch Communications designs and implements strategic communications programs. They combine thorough understanding of clients’ goals with an external perspective, imaginative ideas and drive. The result is carefully honed campaigns that position clients for success. Amy Sutnick Plotch brings several years of experience as a communications director for national and local organizations including Girls Inc., Planned Parenthood of New York City, and the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice. She is on the faculty of NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where she teaches a course on strategic communications. She serves the Innovation Center as a lead communications consultant.
Author, Reflect and Improve Tool Kit
Roger provides strategic leadership to the 4-H Youth Development program in the state of Oregon. Prior to working for the University of Oregon Extension Service, Roger Rennekamp was a Professor in the Department of Community and Leadership Development at the University of Kentucky. In that role he coordinated program development and evaluation activities for the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and is recognized nationally as an expert in using logic modeling as a program development framework. His research interests include examinations of the role of young people in community change. Dr. Rennekamp earned his Ph.D. in Extension Education from The Ohio State University in 1987. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and a Master’s Degree from Morehead State University.
Deborah oversees the various components of YDTRC's work in New Haven and statewide. She has been a youth advocate for over 30 years at the local, state, and national level. She guides the Connecticut for Community Youth Development project, and the New Haven B.E.S.T. Initiative, which both support the professional development of youth workers and youth leaders. The Innovation Center supports YDTRC’s work in strengthening the practice of youth civic engagement through the state of Connecticut.
Karen Hoffman Tepper
The goal of the Center for Disease Control-funded Building Partnerships for Youth project is to help organizations provide youth, ages 9 to 13, with the motivation to delay the onset of sexual intercourse. This partnership operates under the premise that youth need both motivation and capacity to make healthy choices. Youth development programming provides youth with this motivation. To achieve the project goal, a menu of effective youth development programs, curricula and other strategies are being compiled and organized in such a way as to be most consistent with youth development literature and useful to organizations that work with youth. This menu of options, housed on an interactive web site, provides organizations that work with youth, suggested methods for motivating 9 to 13 year-olds to make healthy choices. The Innovation Center helps support BPY’s efforts to promote youth leadership and youth-adult partnerships.
CAISE (Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education)
The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) is dedicated to advancing and improving the practice of informal science education in its many and varied forms—through film and broadcast media, science centers and museums, zoos and aquariums, botanical gardens and nature centers, digital media and gaming, and youth, community and after-school programs. Founded in 2007 with support from the National Science Foundation, CAISE focuses on increasing and communicating the value of NSF’s investments in informal science education. Wendy Wheeler, President of the Innovation Center, serves on the Advisory Board for CAISE.