Covenant House Leadership
Kevin Ryan, President and CEO
Kevin Ryan, a father, activist and child advocate, leads Covenant House International, one of the largest charities in the Americas devoted to serving homeless and trafficked children and youth. Covenant House reaches more than 56,000 vulnerable young people annually in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. The charity's international human rights work to prevent the murder and exploitation of street youth has been awarded the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award, the Olaf Palme Peace Prize, the United States Department of State Hero Citation and the Guatemala Hands of Peace Award.
In October 2012, Ryan and former New York Times reporter Tina Kelley published their first book, Almost Home, that went on to become a national bestseller. Three years in the making, the book chronicles the extraordinary true journey of six homeless teenagers in the United States and Canada as they faced abuse, violence, and heartbreak in search of a place to call home.
Under Ryan's leadership, Covenant House International has opened new homes for kids in Anchorage, Atlanta, Philadelphia and, next year, in Mexico City. He and his team revitalized the charity's work in Guatemala in 2010, opening a safe house for trafficked girls and actively co-prosecuting traffickers that prey on the poor, the meek and the young. To meet the growing need for resources to help homeless youth, Ryan and the Covenant House team have recruited thousands of new friends across the Americas to participate in one of Covenant House's new, international Sleep Outs to raise awareness and funds to prevent youth homelessness. Since launching as a small pilot effort in New York City for 50 CEOs in 2011, the Sleep Outs have now spread to 6 countries and raised more than $14 million to shelter, feed and teach thousands of homeless and trafficked young people.
During the 1990s, Ryan spent nearly a decade on the frontlines of Covenant House's work with homeless and trafficked children on the streets of New York and New Jersey before becoming New Jersey's first child advocate. His investigative work uncovering inhumane conditions of overcrowding for children at the state's juvenile detention centers and failures in the child welfare system roused national ire and led to sweeping reforms. He has appeared as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox and two appearances on "60 Minutes," and his advocacy for the most vulnerable children in society has earned front-page stories in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He is a graduate of Catholic University (BA), Georgetown Law Center (JD) and NYU Law School (LLM), and he is a former Skadden Fellow and Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School.