Dianne Reed: A woman of fiscal mind watches our youth

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed yesterday, without edits, to run in next Friday’s edition. In 2003, a Bucks County counselor told Dianne E. Reed something she foundstartling.reed-dianne-e.jpg“She told me, ‘these kids are getting angrier,” Reed said.Five years later and fresh off a three year bid as budget director under former Mayor John F. Street, Reed wants to do something about it.In late January, she became the executive director of the Corporate Alliance for Drug Education, a 21-year-old nonprofit based in Old City that focuses on school-based behavioral prevention initiatives.The group trains and dispatches prevention specialists to work in select schools as ‘import teachers,’ speaking to students, as young as kindergarten, about drug refusal strategies and conflict resolution, among other things.“We’re helping kids accept and develop coping skills,” she said.She is eager to leverage her sizable experience to enact change in Philadelphia. Before her role as budget director, Reed spent almost a decade leading the Pennsylvania Economy League. Before that, she worked in the Philadelphia offices of KPMG for eight years.“I have the big picture,” she said. “I have seen how high levels of government implement prevention methods.”At its peak, CADE had 18 specialists working in schools. Now the group is down to nine. Reed hopes to increase that total again and spread throughout the region.State Representative Dwight Evans (D-Phila) last week secured a $50,000 grant so the organization could place specialists in schools in the neighborhoods of Cobbs Creek and Point Breeze for the remainder of the school year.She wants to more actively pursue corporate activity in CADE.On April 10, CADE is hosting a fundraiser and awards ceremony in conjunction with the Franklin Institute’s Star Wars exhibit. The night will include a reception, silent and live auctions, a buffet and an awards presentation.It’s an event to raise money so Reed and CADE can help the kids.