Newton Highland resident Kimberly Smith-Cofield last month began work as the new executive director of the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS), Somerville’s anti-poverty agency.
“We are very lucky to have found someone with as much passion for CAAS’ work as Kim,” said Paul DiPasquale, president of CAAS’ Board of Directors. “We welcome her to Somerville and to CAAS.”
“I am grateful to join a passionate organization like CAAS,” Smith-Cofield said. “CAAS addresses the hard realities of individuals and families that live in the wealthiest country in the world — yet are plagued with being among the 22 percent of our overall population living in poverty.”
While Smith-Cofield said she expects that number to climb “as the country’s financial, housing, education and immigration policies and services continue to go through drastic changes,” she said she is “impressed” with the Somerville organization’s “forward approach” to addressing future challenges.
Smith-Cofield’s career in human services has spanned 28 years. She has worked to address the needs of organizations that serve communities, children, families, adolescent boys and girls, and people with mental illness and developmental disorders. From 2000 to 2003, she directed Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses; from 1994 to 1996, she led Casa Myrna Vasquez. Between those two leadership stints, she served as vice president and chief operating officer at the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts (1998-2000) and Associated Day Care Services of Metropolitan Boston (1996-1997).
Smith-Cofield received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Vassar College in 1981 and a master’s degree in Education from Cambridge College in 1992. She participated in the Executive Transitions Program at Third Sector New England, receiving Interim Executive Director Certification in 2007.
She has two college-age sons who grew up in the Newton area. The oldest recently graduated from The College of William and Mary, while the youngest is in his second year at the University of Pennsylvania.