James R. Dumpson Endowed Chair in Child Welfare, Fordham University
Former CEO, Harlem Children Zone
Anne Williams-Isom is currently the Fordham’s Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies. She was previously the CEO for the Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit devoted to breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Central Harlem. Prior to serving as CEO, Anne was the organization’s chief operating officer, overseeing all programs in its cradle-through-college pipeline, including Promise Academy I and II. She led a staff of more than 2,000 and strengthened the organization’s use of data to improve services and outcomes for its 25,000 children and families.
Anne earned a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, after which she began working in community affairs for the New York Police Department. As a student at Columbia Law School, she discovered her passion for advocacy work and came to appreciate the critical role that communities play in finding lasting solutions to social problems. After receiving her JD, she practiced law for five years at two prestigious firms in New York before joining the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, concluding her 13-year tenure there as deputy commissioner of the Division of Community and Government Affairs.
Anne serves on the advisory council of the recently created My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, inspired by former President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and on Fordham University’s President’s Council. In 2016, she was appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to his Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board and was selected to be a member of the spring 2016 cohort of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship. She chairs the board of directors of Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization, and serves on the board of trustees of the Central Park Conservancy. Regularly sought for her expert guidance on child welfare and community development, Anne has been featured in The New York Times, Barron’s, Crain’s New York, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Essence, as well as on WABC’s Here and Now and CUNY-TV’s Black America.