EAKC Appoints New Executive Director and
Expands Board of Directors

Founding Director retires after 21 years; New Executive Director to lead organization into its 22nd year of service to southeast Atlanta’s children & youth

The Board of Directors of East Atlanta Kids Club has selected Ryan Downey, a Regional Director of
Year Up, to be the new Executive Director of our 21-year-old nonprofit.  Downey brings 12 years of experience working successfully with youth, corporate and education leaders for intensive training, development and employment of talented, motivated yet underserved young adults.













”Ryan’s in-depth leadership experience, work ethic and passion for our mission make him an excellent choice to lead East Atlanta Kids Club into its next decade of mentoring and empowering underserved youth in southeast Atlanta,” says Rush.  “We’re excited that Ryan lives in our community and understands the distinct challenges our kids face, having benefited from similar support programs in his youth” in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Downey has worked in a variety of roles at Year Up since 2011.  He earned his B.A from the University of Georgia, his Masters of Fine Arts at University of Notre Dame and his Masters of Science, Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education from Kansas State University. Ryan also brings educator experience, having taught in Chicago Public Schools and at the university level, as well as to opportunity youth at Year Up.  He is a poet, a skilled communicator and a creative leader.

“I am humbled to be chosen for this role and very grateful to have the opportunity to lead East Atlanta Kids Club,” says Downey.  “It has been my vision since I began at Year Up to not only create opportunities for underserved youth, but to reduce the need for services for older youth through earlier intervention and support.  East Atlanta Kids Club has just the right approach to holistic programming, addressing the variety of academic, enrichment and social emotional supports needed to help children and youth get on a path to a positive future.  I look forward to continuing the great work of the founder and enhancing it as we seek to grow our reach and impact over the coming year and beyond.“

The board has also added three new board members to its talented board of directors, including Nathan Goodson, Senior Bank Examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, who joins as Treasurer; Gregory Pierce, Vice President of Technology at Green Sky Credit; and Brad Bollier, Owner of Bollier Insurance, a State Farm Agency. 


About East Atlanta Kids Club

East Atlanta Kids Club (EAKC) is a nonprofit organization offering tutoring, mentoring, enrichment and fitness programs to promising youth in southeast Atlanta. Located in the Brownwood Park neighborhood of East Atlanta, for 21 years EAKC has been helping youth to uncover their potential and build a promising future by: Providing a safe and nurturing place for kids to play, relax, learn, create, and express themselves under supervision of caring adults; Exposing them to educational, recreational, and cultural experiences; Helping them to build character, self-esteem and respect for others; Preparing them to thrive in diverse communities; and Helping them to bridge the technological divide.   


East Atlanta Kids Club has served more than 1000 kids since its founding in 1998, and currently serves 100 youth ages 7 to 17 annually.  Outcomes include improvements in academic performance and physical fitness, as well as increased competencies and motivation to excel in areas related to EAKC’s innovative STEAM-based curriculum.  

For media inquiries and image requests, please contact:

Shenieque Bennett
Finance and Operations Manager
404-627-8050 ext. 2115


Beginning as a classroom instructor after completing his masters at University of Notre Dame and rising through the ranks of rapidly growing Year Up, he brings a strong track record of success leading through growth and change to his leadership of EAKC.  Mr. Downey assumes the chief executive role in February 2020 as part of a planned succession and transition, succeeding the organization’s founding executive director Jill Sieder, who is retiring after 21 years of successful service and innovative leadership.

Sundiata Rush, East Atlanta Kids Club Board Chair, announced Mr. Downey’s appointment.

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