Yi-Chin Chen, MSW

Executive Director

Yi-Chin Chen serves as the Executive Director of Friends of the Children–Boston, an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by providing youth facing the toughest challenges with 12.5 years of relentless professional mentoring from kindergarten to high school graduation, no matter what. She is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization and managing the day to day operations. Since joining Friends–Boston in late 2015, Yi-Chin has led the effort to successfully elevate the organization’s public profile as the ONLY organization in the state of Massachusetts, making a long-term, unconditional, commitment of support to children facing the highest risks utilizing a professional mentoring model.

Yi-Chin began her career in youth development nearly two decades ago as a school counselor with the GEAR UP Program at Thomas Edison Middle School and Brighton High School. While working at both institutions, she helped develop and deliver college and career preparation and exploration curriculum to at-risk youth. After receiving her master’s degree in social work from Boston University, she joined the Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), where she served as an integral member of the organizational leadership team as both the Deputy Director and Interim Executive Director. During her twelve-year tenure, she was behind the creation of several award-winning programs, including the Paths to College and Career Program. Her written case study of HSTF’s youth community development model was printed in the book “Youth-Led Community Organizing,” published by Oxford University Press in 2007 and used as a required course reading for first-year MSW students at Boston University’s School of Social Work.

As an immigrant born and raised in Taiwan, Yi-Chin is a strong advocate for building a pipeline of leaders of color in the city of Boston. She currently serves on several cities and state-wide boards and committees, including Boston Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Board, Massachusetts Nonprofit Network Board of Directors, Boston University School of Social Work Alumni Board, and Harvard Catalyst Community Advisory Board. As a graduate of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP), she serves as a Senior Fellow and a mentor to several up and coming nonprofit leaders through INP. In her spare time, Yi-Chin volunteers with several animal rescue organizations and participates in local Help-Portrait events as a volunteer portraiture photographer.

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