Evan Kaplan, CPS
Founder and Executive Director
Evan Kaplan was inspired by his 9-year-old daughter Charlotte’s request for an organization where she could share her struggles dealing with the effects of her father’s bipolar disorder together with other children affected by parental mental illness. In response to that need, Kaplan founded Child & Family Connections (CFC) in 2010.
Kaplan collaborated with the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia to form Child & Family Connections, known as a pioneering behavioral health non-profit (501c3), aimed at supporting families living with parental mental illness.
Following his recovery from a coma, near-death, institutionalization, and destitution from the effects of his bipolar disorder, Evan rebuilt his life and his relationship with his daughter. When Charlotte was nine-years-old, they co-founded Child & Family Connections to improve the lives of families like theirs living with serious parental mental illness.
What started as a part-time endeavor in 2010 became a full-time career in 2012 when Evan left a 20-year in the human resources field and co-ownership of an executive recruitment consultancy. To accept the reality of running an all-volunteer organization with no salaried staff, including himself, sold most of what he owned, moved into a one-room studio apartment, and dove in headfirst. As executive director, in addition to his fundraising and partnership development responsibilities, Evan fosters innovation, engages and inspires people, and guides CFC’s organizational development. In 2014, Evan and Charlotte were awarded the Community of Hope Award by the Devereux Foundation.
Evan says his journey has taught him to be more compassionate with others. He also shares that if we are willing to consider our mental health journey with an objective, strengths-based eye, we can identify the knowledge, skills, and tools we’ve developed to help us manage and even thrive. And by sharing our personal mental health narratives, we transfer our hard-learned coping, problem-solving, and resilience-building skills to our children and families.
Evan earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of the executive leadership program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute, and certified as a Peer Specialist by the City of Philadelphia. Evan is a recognized thought leader in the field of parental mental health and families. He is a frequent keynote speaker at global conferences, organizational events, medical schools, hospitals, and university classrooms.
His proudest accomplishment is raising his teenage daughter, Charlotte.
A thought leader in the field of parental mental health and families, Kaplan is a frequent keynote speaker at global conferences, organizational events, medical schools, hospitals, and university classrooms. Recent presentations include:
- Keynote Panelist: Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association National Conference, Philadelphia, PA
- Featured Presenter: The Creative and Comprehensive Advocacy for Parents with Mental Health Challenges, Boston, MA
- Featured Presenter: Convegno Prevenzione Del Rischio Psicopatologico, Milan, Italy
- Keynote Speaker: First Annual Children’s Behavioral Health Conference, Providence, RI
- Keynote Presentation: 4th International Conference on Families with Parental Mental Health Challenges, Berkeley, CA
To contact Evan for a speaking engagement or other events, please contact us.
Philip Hagerty – Board President
Director, Web Support Services
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Phil Hagerty serves as Child and Family Connections’ Board President and is a member of the Marketing Committee.
Hagerty directs the Web Support Center at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where he plans and implements websites and assists national programs with managing, budgeting and setting guidelines for their web presence.
Phil Hagerty serves as Child and Family Connections’ Board President and is a member of the Marketing Committee. Hagerty directs the Web Support Center at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where he plans and implements websites and assists national programs with managing, budgeting and setting guidelines for their web presence.
Hagerty, who joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2002, brings more than 20 years of leadership experience with pharmaceutical, Internet and technology companies, including America Online, AltaVista, McDonald’s Corp., U.S. News and World Report and Aetna U.S. Healthcare’s award-winning website InteliHeath.com. He has designed large-scale systems, implemented multi-phased marketing strategies, established “ground floor” project management offices, and implemented sales force automation.
Hagerty holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing from Drexel University. He is an active member of Toastmasters, has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, and is the past president of Transfiguration Parish Council. He has two children.
Patty Burke, MS – Board Treasurer
Patty Burke, M.S. serves as Child and Family Connections’ Board Treasurer and is a member of the Finance and Fundraising Committee. She is currently in training and soon to be a certified Health and Wellness Coach through the Health Coach Institute, Inc. She will be working with clients who want to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Areas of specialty are physical/emotional health, career, relationships and finances.
Patty volunteered as an apprentice mediator at the Center for Resolutions in Media, Pa., where she also facilitated intake calls and assists with conflict management group training. She volunteered for The Episcopal Academy Development Department in their annual giving efforts where she co-chaired their largest fundraising event. She has also been a mentor for Chester County Futures, which provides after-school programs, mentoring and college grants to underprivileged high school students in Chester, County, PA.
For over a decade, Patty was a project Manager and Environmental Engineer for Camp Dresser & McKee and later Chester Environmental. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont and a Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering from Northeastern University. She is married and has three daughters.
Parents Support Group Facilitator
My name is Elizabeth Nestlerode, program manager and group facilitator for Child & Family Connections’ free national call-in Parents Support Group for parents with mental health conditions.
“I have the honor of supporting moms and dads facing the challenges and responsibilities of being a parent.”
I am the mother of three children under the age of six, one of whom has special needs. I am also a parent diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Autism. Over the years I have served as a mental health specialist and special needs educator. I earned a BA in Social & Behavioral Studies and an MS in Special Education. I’m a certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist, Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach and Simplicity Parenting Discipline and Guidance Coach. I’ve spoken at both national and international conferences on the topics of parenting, mental health and autism.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at email@example.com or by phone at 215.789.4900 x502
Mike Grinnan, MBA
Vice President, Operations & Finance
Mike Grinnan serves as Child & Family Connections’ Vice President of Operations and Finance, responsible for helping CFC build infrastructure and capacity critical to Child & Family Connections’ growth. In addition to financial management, Mike leads the design and implementation of an extensible operational infrastructure that facilitates mission growth, service reach, and new program development. Mike is a business and technology operations professional with more than 25 years of leadership experience in consumer electronics, products, and services organizations.
At Comcast Cable Corporation, since 2013, Mike leads the Offer Intake & Build teams, where he coordinates Divisional collaboration with the corporate teams responsible for implementing customer-facing XFINITY service offers through self-service tools, like xfinity.com and indirect retail partners. For several decades, Grinnan experienced mental health issues within his own family and after reading the story of Charlotte as the motivation for founding Child & Family Connections, he related to the families served by CFC’s mission. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from West Chester University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He is married with two young boys.
Crystal Joseph serves as an intern at Child & Family Connections. She is a graduating senior at Drexel University and will be starting medical school this August. During her time at Drexel, she was a part of a South Asian, all-female fusion dance team, Drexel Jhalak, where she was a dancer and manager.
She also volunteered with Drexel’s Red Cross Chapter, participating in the Red Cross Run, serving veterans at the VA Medical Center, and assisting with fundraising activities for the chapter. One of her biggest passions is helping children; to her, children are the soul of the community and the future of society. She hopes to make a powerful impact in children’s lives as a member of Child & Family Connections
Julie Kim is working with Child & Family Connections on the SafeTogether program. She graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Chemistry in 2015.
She is currently working at the University of Pennsylvania as a Clinical Research Coordinator for acute care research. She was drawn to CFC’s mission because she has personally experienced how mental illness can affects families