Preeti Sriratana, M.C./M.P.A. ’12, took the helm of Apex for Youth Inc. (Apex) in early 2009 during a financial crisis and has steered it towards becoming one of the largest mentoring programs for Asian and immigrant youth in New York City today.
Founded in 1992, Apex, a nonprofit youth organization originally known as Asian Professional Extension Inc., works with children from underserved communities in New York City by connecting them with professionals who volunteer to mentor them. Through culturally tailored after-school programs, Apex serves youth from first through twelfth grades — helping them build self confidence, explore academic and career goals, develop a sense of community and service, and gain leadership skills.
Sriratana joined Apex in 2001 as a fourth grade prep volunteer, eventually becoming a middle and high school mentor before taking on the role of president/chairman. When Sriratana took on the new position the organization was in financial ruin, facing possible bankruptcy. Working with the board and what remained of the team, Sriratana helped to rebuild Apex by retooling its model, growing it almost 50 percent two years in a row, and co-founding and incubating a charter school built from its programs.
“There was still a long road ahead,” says Sriratana. “With the tools I gained from HKS and its incredible faculty, I was able to lead my organization through difficult changes and measurably increase its impact in my community.”