Cherie Craft

Founding Executive Director

Cherie Craft, M.Ed, founding CEO and Executive Director, studied Sociology and Counseling as an undergrad and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College. Having grown up in an inner-city housing development, and raising five kids of her own, Cherie possesses a passionate commitment to working tirelessly, to better the lives of under-served children and families. Ms. Craft gained much of her early professional experience working in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, formerly Boston City Hospital. Ms. Craft was initially recruited as a Family Advocate/Case Worker, was soon after promoted to Community Projects Coordinator, and eventually to Director of the Department’s Family Support Program. She went on to hold positions in both the public and private sector, having worked for the US Administration for Children and Families as a training and technical assistance in region one, and with numerous community-based organizations in urban communities. Ms. Craft is considered an expert in the field of early childhood education, community organizing, cultural competence and mental health. She has addressed audiences both nationally and internationally presenting upon a wide range of topics, but specializing in research and evidence-based programming.

Cherie has addressed US Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect among others, and has completed work on an 800-page curriculum on partnering with parents to prevent child abuse for Zero to Three. Having served as an Advisor and Consultant for the Massachusetts Multi-lingual Action Council, Cherie also served five years on the Children’s Hospital Community Advisory Board, two terms as a member of the National Expert Panel on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, and for the past 21 years, has served as senior faculty with the National Institute for Family Centered Care. As previously stated, Cherie is a product of an underserved inner-city neighborhood, and has dedicated her life’s work to shining a light on the strengths of families living in similar communities, while developing and implementing high quality programs and services in partnership with families. In 2008, she founded a comprehensive, community-based child and family service organization, Smart from the Start, where she currently serves as the CEO and Executive Director.

In 2019, she was appointed to sit on DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, and also serves as the Early Childhood Content Expert for the Washington, DC Department of Health’s Maternal/Child Health Service Council.