Kandace Thomas, Irving Harris Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: Early childhood

CONTACT: kthomas@irvingharrisfdn.org, (312) 621-0231

PROFILE: Kandace Thomas is a program officer at the Irving Harris Foundation, which maintains quite a low profile. Per her Camp of Dreams bio, Thomas' work at the foundation is described as building "systems for young children on the local, regional and national level."  Another bio explains her role at the foundation in greater detail:

. . . she plays a leadership role in the Foundation’s efforts integrating early childhood development and child trauma knowledge and principles into systems serving young children including domestic violence prevention and treatment programs, child welfare, and pediatric training programs. In this capacity, she managers grants and special projects in the field of early childhood mental health and child trauma, domestic violence, reproductive health and social justice. In her work, Kandace partners with local and national grantees to build the capacity of organizations and systems to incorporate child development best practices into their work.

In that spirit, Thomas also founded and is co-director of Camp Sojourner, an overnight, sleep-away camp for Philadelphia girls. After growing up in the Bronx, she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and African-American Studies from Wesleyan University, a master's of public policy from the University of Chicago's Harris School, and is pursuing her doctorate at Erickson University.

Thomas is also the co-author of Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets, a list of 10 guiding principles outlining standards of practice in the infant mental health field that point the way to an equitable society through engaged professional practice.

She spends her free time as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago.