Being named Washingtonian of the Year is a crowning career achievement, but for Lori Kaplan, it is just one of many awards and honors earned early on in her career. As President and CEO, Lori led Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) to its national prominence as an award-winning network of youth programs in Washington, DC, from 1987 to 2018. Under Lori’s direction, LAYC has helped guide thousands of low-income youth to better opportunity, while creating pioneering organizations and schools.
Lori’s leadership roles, past and present, include Board Member of Leadership Washington, Youth Radio, and Turn Around Inc.; founding Board Member of The Nonprofit Roundtable and Asian American Lead; founding Co-Chair of the DC Alliance for Youth Advocates; and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for LAYC Career Academy Public Charter School. Several national organizations regularly seek her advice and
invoke the model success of LAYC’s innovative programs, including the Clinton Global Initiative America conferences 2013, 2014, and 2015, where she served as an advisor and panelist on the Reconnecting Youth work group; Georgetown University’s Center on Poverty; The National Youth Employment Coalition; and The National Youth Policy Forum. Several DC Mayors and many DC Council members have relied on Lori’s leadership on youth issues.
Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, Lori speaks Spanish as well as she does English, and after getting a Bachelor’s in Anthropology at Antioch College, she earned her Master’s in Education at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Her Latin American roots and interests led her to start volunteering at LAYC when she was a student. While proud that LAYC has been named one of the Top 25 Latino organizations in the US, she long ago widened its focus beyond Latino youth to youth of all backgrounds.