Pasadena Executive Director Named "Inspiring Leader" by Center for Nonprofit Management

Published : Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | 11:10 AM

As part of its 40th Anniversary Celebration the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) published a list of 40 Inspiring Leaders and four honorees, that demonstrated effective leadership, measurable results, and inspiration in their organization or community. The CNM reached out to its nonprofit colleagues throughout Southern California to ask for nominations of inspiring leaders in executive, governance and emerging leadership positions. The judges had the difficult task of narrowing down hundreds of nominations to the 40 listed below. Jennifer Radics-Johnson, Executive Director for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation was selected as one of CNM’S Inspiring Leaders.

Jennifer Radics-Johnson has served as the Executive Director for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Pasadena, since August 2012. She came to the organization with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s in Business Administration Degree from Loyola Marymount University. She has a wealth of nonprofit leadership experience previously working with Rosemary Children’s Services as the Development Director; Community SeniorServ as the Director of Marketing and Communications and the Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove as a REACH for Literacy Instructor and Marketing Coordinator.

Since 2012, Jennifer has grown the organization from a staff of five with a budget of $696K and a year-end deficit of -$38K, to a full time staff of seven with a budget of $1.1M and a year-end surplus ranging from $15K-$147K. She has invested in the stability and well-being of the staff, increasing staff salaries consistently each year, adding more staff support and increasing staff benefits. She also serves on the CalNonprofit’s California Student Debt Taskforce, bringing to light the issues associated with student debt and the nonprofit industry.

The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) programs have grown and thrived under Jennifer’s leadership. AARBF reaches more than 2,100 burn survivors and their loved ones annually through its supportive programs like hospital visits, financial support, support groups and camps and recreational programs. In addition, AARBF’s burn prevention education programs have increased significantly due to Jennifer’s passion and dedication to prevention. AARBF reached more than 72,000 Californians in 2017 with burn prevention education messages. Under Jennifer’s leadership and guidance, AARBF’s “Firefighters in Safety Education” program has expanded into communities throughout California, growing from reaching 10,000 California students each year to more than 29,000 students in 2017. She has brought in nearly $1M in funding for burn prevention education during her time with the organization, including two FEMA grants totaling more than $600K.

But supporting the staff and programs of AARBF is not all that Jennifer does. In 2016, Jennifer started the California Burn Foundations Association, bringing together leaders from the 11 burn foundations throughout California together to collaborate and work together to improve supportive services for those affected by burn injuries and increase burn prevention efforts throughout California. The group meets twice a year and is organized by Jennifer. She even wrote an abstract and presented a poster on this collaboration at the American Burn Association Conference in 2016, as well as provided a presentation titled, “Collaborating (Not Competing) with Organizations with Similar Missions” at the Nonprofit Learning Lab in Los Angeles in 2017.

In addition, Jennifer’s passion for burn prevention education has led her to be appointed as the American Burn Association’s Burn Prevention Committee Chair (2016-2019). Jennifer provides leadership on this national Committee to provide guidance and leadership in burn prevention education throughout North America. Another national committee Jennifer chairs is the Federation of Burn Foundations, an association of burn foundations throughout North America. Jennifer served as Vice Chair in 2016 and assumed the Chairperson role in 2017.

On a local level, Jennifer was appointed as a Fire Commissioner for the Alameda County Fire Department in 2017. In her role as a Fire Commissioner, she oversees the activities of the Alameda County Fire Department and ensures that they are in alignment with the community’s needs. She also completed the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training with the Albany Fire Department in 2017, to ensure that she could be of assistance to her community during an emergency. Other accomplishments of Jennifer Radics-Johnson include the publishing of two children’s books on fire and burn safety (Meet the Johnsons: A Fire and Burn Safe Family and Meet Scotty Johnson: A Fire and Burn Safe Kid). She also received her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification in 2016 to ensure that her fundraising skills were as sharp as they could be for AARBF.

“I am honored to be named one of the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Inspiring Leaders, along with so many other strong and inspiring nonprofit leaders,” said Radics-Johnson. “This recognition is only made possible by the Board, staff, volunteers, burn survivors and families that I am privileged to work with and am inspired by each and every day. I deeply enjoy and thrive in the work that we do at the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. I hope that this recognition brings more awareness to the vital programs and services that we provide the community, year round.”

The Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF) was founded in 1971 after the tragic death of Alisa Ann in a backyard barbeque accident. Its mission is to significantly reduce the number of burn injuries through prevention education, and to enhance the quality of life of those affected by burn injuries in California. AARBF’s burn survivor services programs engage them in a community of peers and support networks to help build confidence and provide social opportunities, connects them with resources for coping with their injuries, and supports burn survivors’ immediate basic human needs. AARBF’s burn prevention programs, such as Firefighters in Safety Education (FISE), provide life-saving fire and burn safety education to children and adults throughout California.

To learn more about the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, call 1 (800) 242-BURN or visit the agency’s website,








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