Cynthia Robbins is an independent consultant who has been helping to build and lead successful, enduring organizations since she was a student at Harvard and Stanford. Passionate about engaging community to improve social outcomes, she is skilled in organizational development, capacity building and program design for youth and family serving, mission-driven organizations and expert in helping them take lofty missions and good programs to scale. Her work has taken her from winning in the courtroom on behalf of low-income clients to serving as a successful consultant, advocate, funder and nonprofit executive, ever in pursuit of justice and better outcomes for communities in crisis, particularly urban, where dense poverty can hide their promise. Either as a consultant, a board member or a staff leader she helps teams to achieve results.
For the past couple of years, Robbins has focused intensively on building a new strategy to dismantle structural racism in the juvenile delinquency, foster care and public education systems through the Racial Justice Initiative of TimeBanks USA (RJI or the Initiative). The Initiative’s policy change and advocacy strategy ignites young people and families affected by these systems to join with experts and advocates to demand that government officials use knowledge of what works to co-produce brighter futures filled with opportunity. Cynthia Robbins co-authored: An Offer They Can’t Refuse: Racial Disparity in Juvenile Justice and Deliberate Indifference Meet Alternatives That Work, 13 UDC/DCSL L Rev. 1 (2010) and “Public Notice Forums” Choosing Among Alternatives to Confront the Intent Requirements, Clearinghouse Review (Jul-Aug 2010, Volume 44, No. 3-4). See www.RacialJusticeInitiative.org .
Prior to becoming a full-time consultant in the fall of 2008, Robbins served as Executive Director of See Forever Foundation (SFF) and Maya Angelou Public Charter School (MAPCS) in Washington, D.C. First as managing and then executive director, she led the school through a period of tremendous growth with a committed focus on its mission to help some 80% of students graduate and go on to college. In less than four and half years under Robbins’ leadership, SFF/MAPCS grew from one high school for about ninety (90) students to five campuses serving 600 students. During Cynthia’s tenure, SFF opened a second high school, an alternative middle school and two campuses serving young people in the delinquency system.
Robbins has led teams at philanthropic and operating foundations dedicated to advocacy, education, leadership support and organizational development as well as a winning civil rights and criminal defense attorney (undefeated in jury trials), adjunct professor of juvenile law. Robbins earned her BA cum laude from Harvard University and a JD from Stanford Law School. Robbins serves on the board of Phelps Stokes and is an active member of its finance committee.