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Dr. Willie Dean Announces Retirement as Executive Director

YouthCARE’s Executive Director, Willie Dean, Ph.D., will be retiring from the organization as of December 31, 2017, in order to spend more time with his ailing father. Dr. Dean began his tenure with YouthCARE on March 1, 2015, becoming only its second executive director since the nonprofit was founded in 1974.

Willie Dean, Ph.D.“Willie has provided steady and skillful leadership for YouthCARE,” said Lisa Fulton, chair of the Board of Directors. “His leadership has ensured that YouthCARE has stayed focused on its mission and delivered high-quality program services for Minneapolis and St. Paul youth. The board is grateful for Willie’s service, and we wish him well in his retirement.”

“I have enjoyed my tenure with YouthCARE, an innovative agency that serves hundreds of multicultural youth each year,” said Dr. Dean. “Working with the board and staff has truly been enjoyable. However, the highlight of my experience was witnessing the growth of hundreds of youth who developed leadership skills, made friends across cultures, and learned to be productive members of our community.”

Major accomplishments under Dr. Dean’s leadership include: acquisition of a three-year capacity-building grant from Greater Twin Cities United Way for Culturally Specific Organizations; redesign of the agency’s website; implementation of a highly-successful annual support campaign to help underwrite youth programs; and the growth and development of more than 500 youth annually who benefit from YouthCARE’s programs.

“Seeing youth discover nature, develop leadership skills, and interact with mentors and caring adults is what it’s all about,” said Dr. Dean.

He plans to enjoy retirement by spending time with family, traveling, photography, research and writing his memoir. Previously Dr. Dean worked 35 years in senior YMCA positions around the United State. As National Field Executive for the YMCA of the USA, Dr. Dean supervised offices in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio, and provided consulting to 700 YMCAs in 18 states.

An Executive Director Search Committee has been formed by the YouthCARE Board of Directors. The Committee is actively seeking a candidate to serve as Interim Executive Director. The Interim Executive Director will work with the board and staff to position the organization for continuing success under a new permanent Executive Director.

Since 1974, our commitment has been to:

  • Offer educational experiences that foster cultural awareness, understanding and appreciation.
  • Employ youth in meaningful positions that also offer further education and career exploration.
  • Provide experiences and mentoring to develop youth leadership abilities.


YouthCARE's Volunteer Program provides a wide variety of opportunities for adults to get involved.

  • Program Volunteers work directly with young people in one of YouthCARE's three programs: Camp Sunrise, YouthLEAD, or the Young Women's Mentoring Program
  • Policy Volunteers serve on YouthCARE's Board of Directors or on a Policy Committee.
  • Special Event Volunteers provide support to YouthCARE by assisting with special events such as fundraisers, Camp Sunrise Workdays, or by sharing a special skill or expertise such as carpentry or graphics arts.