KABOOM! Announces a New Board Member

KABOOM!, the national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity for good, announced a new board member to continue driving its mission forward.

To kick off 2023, Natalie Vega O’Neil will join the KABOOM! Board of Directors, bringing 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and early childhood education expertise to the group. As President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Washington, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and financial choices, Natalie serves as a relentless advocate for marginalized, underserved, and vulnerable communities. A dynamic leader steeped in early childhood development and educational programs, Natalie is the first female and first person of color to lead Junior Achievement of Washington in its 69-year history.

Natalie has a rich background in nonprofit leadership as the associate vice president of Save the Children, founding staff member at Thrive by Five Washington, and co-founder and director of early childhood education for a public charter school in Los Angeles, California. This background has charged her mission and resolve to provide access and equity to education for all families. In addition to her breadth of experience as a nonprofit leader, Natalie is also a skilled fundraiser, securing tens of millions of dollars in individual, foundation, corporate, state, and federal grants.

As KABOOM! continues to focus on their 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity, Natalie will help guide the strategic direction of the organization to prioritize racial equity, financial prudence, and deeper impact with cities and municipal systems.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Natalie to our board as she brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and passion for our mission,” said Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!. “I’m confident that her leadership will help guide KABOOM! as we increase the urgency of creating better outcomes for kids who are most often denied opportunities to thrive and address the disparities that will end playspace inequity for good.”

KABOOM! Board Chair Jake Siewert, Managing Director, Partner and Head of Global Public Policy & Political Risk, Warburg Pincus, and Board Member, Sharon Price John, CEO, Build-A-Bear Workshop completed their terms at the close of 2022. KABOOM! is appreciative of their years of service and commitment to the growth and health of the organization.

Additionally, the following officers have started new respective terms:

  • Lynn Ross, Founder & Principal, Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC – KABOOM! Board Chair
  • Ladan Manteghi, Senior Advisor, Georgetown University’s Business for Impact Initiative – KABOOM! Board Vice Chair
  • Eric Wayne, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Consumer Reports – KABOOM! Board Secretary
  • Eric Rothman, President, HR&A Advisors – KABOOM! Board Treasurer

About Junior Achievement (JA) of Washington
Junior Achievement of Washington's mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Driven by the passionate power of its volunteers, JA programs are taught by community and business mentors – individuals committed to the success and healthy development of students in Washington state and Northern Idaho. Since 1953, Junior Achievement of Washington has reached over 2 million students with relevant, hands-on learning experiences teaching vital skills in financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship. Visit jawashington.org for more information.

KABOOM! is the national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity – the reality that quality places to play are not available to every child, especially in communities of color. Since 1996, KABOOM! has partnered with kids and communities to create or transform 17,000+ playspaces and ensure that nearly 12 million kids have equitable access to the crucial benefits and opportunities that playspaces offer. In 2022, KABOOM! launched the 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity, the $250 million plan to accelerate its mission in 25 high-priority locations over five years. Learn more at kaboom.org and join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboomfacebook.com/kaboominstagram.com/kaboom and LinkedIn.