Chief Executive Officer
George Contos is the Chief Executive Officer of YAI, a role which he undertook in September 2015 from his position as YAI's Chairman. As a proactive change agent for the YAI Network, 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 reallocated and repositioned the organization’s financial and human resources to prepare the organization for the transition to managed care.
Throughout his tenure, George has pursued opportunities for growth of both an organic and transactional nature, and YAI has received tens of millions of dollars in awards and grants from New York State and City. Included among these is the prestigious START award, which enables YAI to administer a novel, evidence-based approach to crisis intervention for people with I/DD and co-occurring behavioral health needs. YAI manages START throughout parts of New York City and in the San Andreas region of California, which encompasses San Jose and the surrounding area.
Under George’s leadership, YAI has expanded its arts and culture offerings by bringing into its fold the Healing Arts Initiative, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1969, and enhanced its education and rehabilitation services for children by expanding and increasing enrollment at its two schools, serving students ages 5 to 21, the International Academy of Hope, for those with brain injuries, and the Manhattan Star Academy, for those with a range of developmental delays and learning styles.
George sits on several nonprofit boards and government councils including Manhattan Star Academy; the InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies; the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Joint Advisory Council for Managed Care; Care Design of New York; Building Solutions for Tomorrow; and the Mayor’s Crisis Prevention and Response Task Force. In 2019, George was recognized by City and State as one of New York’s Nonprofit Power 100.
As a former a wealth manager and registered investment advisor, George developed charitable giving and legacy strategies for individuals, families, and private foundations. Earlier in his career, he was an attorney admitted in New York and Connecticut specializing in elder law, trust-based asset protection, and Medicaid planning.
George received his J.D. from Georgetown University, 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 fiancée, 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.