As the former Chief Executive Officer of the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), the nation’s oldest and largest LGBTQ youth-service organization, Thomas led the organization to provide safe and supportive environments for young people to achieve their full potential, as well as advocacy and capacity building efforts for community partners and decision-makers. When he arrived at HMI in 2003, Thomas’ first task was to create the Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP) – a blueprint that expanded the then “Harvey Milk School” program into a fully functioning, independent Department of Education transfer high school for at-risk youth.
Believing that HMI’s best-practice programming was too life-changing not to be shared, Thomas led the expansion of HMI to new cities, as well as the establishment of HMI’s Center for LGBTQ Youth Advocacy and Capacity Building, which works to educate and inform decision and policy makers throughout the country and across the world with regard to issues confronting LGBTQ youth. Most recently, he pioneered “HMI Goes Citywide for LGBTQ Youth,” a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to reach LGBTQ youth in all five boroughs of New York City in their own communities.
Thomas is a recognized leader in the field of youth leadership who has brought quality services to at-risk and fringe-youth populations. His experience includes program design, implementation and evaluation, community mobilizing, and non-profit direct service and executive management, and board training. He has spent significant time during his career defining the elements needed to build comprehensive program models and agency support structures ready for replication within various communities here and abroad.
Prior to joining HMI, Thomas served as Vice President of the Council for Unity, an international violence prevention program working with gang-involved youth. In this position, he worked with communities across the country to develop holistic systems that could support and sustain the reclamation of our nation’s recently incarcerated youth, and preparing these communities to reclaim their own.
A Brooklyn native, Thomas’ belief that New Yorkers in all walks of life should receive the highest quality and most culturally appropriate services has led him to serve on the Board and Executive Committee of the Human Services Council, New York City Police Commissioner’s LGBT Liaison Panel, and Governor Cuomo’s LGBT Memorial Commission among other positions. He has appeared on numerous TV, radio, and print media programs such as CNN, Dateline NBC, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times. He holds a BFA in Dance and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College and Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Hofstra University.