Youth Communication New York Center, Inc.

New York, NY   |


YC helps struggling adolescents strengthen the social, emotional, and literacy skills linked to school success. First, writing instructors train teens to produce true stories that highlight how they used social and emotional competencies to manage challenges and achieve their goals. We then create story-based curricula and train educators to use stories and lesson to promote social and emotional learning and strengthen literacy skills. We also publish stories in two award-winning magazines, YCteen and Represent: The Voice of Youth in Foster Care. More than 10,000 educators use the stories with teens in their programs and classrooms.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Keith Hefner

Main address

242 W. 38th St. 6th fl.

New York, NY 10018 USA

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NTEE code info

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Printing, Publishing (A33)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Social Emotional Learning and Literacy Development

We train educators to use our social-emotional learning curricula (based on stories from our teen writing program) to strengthen the social and emotional competencies of struggling teens. Last year we trained over 800 teachers, foster care staff, and afterschool workers to use our stories and lesson plans. They are working with over 12,000 young people in struggling schools, juvenile justice settings, foster care agencies, and other organizations throughout New York City.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Youth Communication
trains 100 public high school students a year to write for and illustrate two
serious magazines (New Youth Connections
and Represent). High school students work in small groups
and individually under full-time adult staff with extensive writing and
journalism experience. Our young staff
write about relationships, sexuality, violence, friendship and peer pressure,
getting into college, family relations, and others. Staff also write about broader social issues: race relations,
poverty, politics, crime, foster care, gender inequities, and school issues.
The close bonds formed between adult editors and teen writers encourage
mentoring relationships which last long after the writers leave the program. We help many apply to college, make career
choices, apply for internships, and support some of them through personal

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth

Where we work


Coming Up Taller Award as one of the top ten cultural youth programs in the country 2000

National Endowments for the Humanities

MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship for executive director Keith Hefner 1989

MacArthur Foundation

Distinguished Achievement Awards for Represent magazine and the anthology Real Stories, Real Teens 2008

Association of Educational Publishers

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve two sets of people: New York City youth aged 14-22. Vast majority are people of color from poor/lower middle class households. Many are immigrants. NYC educators: Our professional development sessions and social-emotional learning curricula help educators develop nurturing, safe, and effective schools and out-of-school programming.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We develop curricula which educators use to promote the social and emotional development of adolescents. We originally developed a curriculum focusing on the need and issues of young women. We developed a separate program for young men. We base these curricula on autobiographical stories written by teens in our writing program. Many educators told us they do not work with all-girls or all-boys groups. They said they needed a program that addresses both sets of issues and that was directed at mixed gender groups. We developed this program with their input so we now have three programs around gender issues that educators can use according to their populations.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    From the start of the organization in 1980, young people in our writing program constantly provide us feedback about how we run the writing program and the issues they want to cover in their stories. This makes them full-fledged partners in how we produce stories which we have distributed to over 2 million teens and staff since 1980. They take deep pride in reaching a real audience and knowing that their stories inspire and inform thousands of readers. Over the years we have also solicited feedback from teens and educators about the story topics they want to see in our publications. For example, over the last 18 months we have published many stories about teens responses to the pandemic, racial justice movements, and violence against Asian-Americans.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,


Youth Communication New York Center, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Youth Communication New York Center, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/3/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Leah Modigliani

Pilar Conde

No affiliation

Duffie Cohen

City University of New York

Leah Modigliani

Modigliani Capital Partners

Robert Ouimette


Nina Link

Merryck and Co.

Troy Williams

First Republic Bank

Lourdes Rosado


Bill Smith

Biography PARTNER

Vivian Louie

Hunter College, American Asian Studies Program

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/03/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/03/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.