Chief Executive Officer
George Contos is the Chief Executive Officer of YAI, a role into which he transitioned in September 2015 from his position as YAI's Chairman of the Board. As a proactive change agent, George restructured YAI’s senior leadership team; introduced a regional, person-centered operational model; and continues to promote an agency-wide culture of innovation and engagement by integrating technology across the organization, including in the day-to-day lives of people YAI supports. Leading YAI through a comprehensive strategic planning process, George re-allocated resources to enable the agency to prepare for the transition to managed care. Throughout this transition, George has pursued opportunities for growth of both an organic and transactional nature.
During George’s tenure, YAI has received tens of millions of dollars in awards and grants from New York State and New York City. Included among these is the prestigious START award, which enables YAI to administer a novel approach to crisis intervention for people with I/DD and co-occurring behavioral health needs. YAI now manages START throughout parts of New York City and in the San Andreas region of California, which encompasses San Jose and the surrounding area.
George oversaw an expansion of YAI’s arts and culture offerings by bringing on the Healing Arts Initiative, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1969, and by enhancing YAI’s education and rehabilitation services for children. In 2019 YAI strengthened management agreements with the International Academy of Hope, a Harlem-based school for students with brain injuries, and the Manhattan Star Academy, which serves young people with a range of developmental delays and learning styles. Both schools’ enrollments have climbed since becoming part of the YAI Network.
As a former a wealth manager and registered investment advisor, George developed charitable giving and legacy strategies for individuals, families, and private foundations. He began his career as an attorney admitted in New York and Connecticut, specializing in elder law, trust-based asset protection, and Medicaid planning.
George sits on several boards and councils including Manhattan Star Academy, InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies, the State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Joint Advisory Council for Managed Care, Care Design of New York, and Building Solutions for Tomorrow.
George received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, his B.A. from Tufts University, and his Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) from the American College. He was born and raised in Manhattan, where he continues to reside with his partner, Jennifer, and daughter, Lauren.
YAI supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. It is one of New York’s largest not-for-profit organizations, with 4,000 employees and annual revenue approaching $250 million. YAI’s hundreds of health, education, and social services programs throughout Downstate New York, Northern New Jersey, and Northern California serve people of all ages.