The Ascension ProjectThe Ascension Project

About TAP Founder Brad Zervas

Brad ZervasBrad Zervas is an award-winning leader, educator, activist and youth advocate.

As a teacher, and more recently as an executive in the nonprofit sector, he has
galvanized generations of young people through programs of his own design
whose results have earned regional and national recognition.

Brad began his career as a teacher, first at the Eaglebrook School and then
at Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Massachusetts, two of the nation's most
prestigious independent boarding schools. At the same time, he developed
and ran a literacy program at a maximum security facility for men in Somers,

The contrast between prison yard (razor-wire, lock-downs and concrete) and school yard (gardens, golden
retrievers, blue blazers and summers in Maine) was acute-and indelible. But there were similarities between
the groups—two isolated worlds marked by brutality, despair and denial.

Troubled boys grow up to be troubled men, no matter what their economic backgrounds or family history,
Brad quickly realized. In the next few years, as his understanding of childhood development deepened, so
did his resolve to learn how to make a difference in the lives of boys and young men at risk.

He joined The Boys' Club of New York, the nation's oldest and largest organization of its kind, in 1992, as
the organization's Education Director. In 2000, he was appointed its Executive Director, only the sixth such
appointment in the Club's 130-year history. Throughout his tenure, through music and sport, service and
experiential learning, travel and film and the written and spoken word, he has helped motivate and inspire
generations of young men-as well as the adults invested in their success, and the individuals, corporations
and foundations that underwrote these efforts. His achievements at BCNY-and there are many-have brought
Brad international recognition for his thought leadership, program development skills and writing talent.

Brad launched The Ascension Project in 2009 to create a platform of advocacy for boys, and to provide a
central source of information and ideas for a new generation of educators, social workers, advocates, and
legislators, along with boys and their families, teachers and mentors.

For the past four years, Brad Zervas served Boys Hope Girls Hope of New York as its Executive Director and
helped organize and expand the region’s only urban boarding school program. With two locations in Brooklyn,
New York and with a focus on low-income first generation college bound students, Brad’s leadership was
instrumental in promoting the organization’s mission nearly doubling enrollment while realizing program
retention and graduation rates of over 90%.

In January 2015, Brad vacated his post at BHGHNY to focus his work on the development of a global
leadership institute for urban boys of color and others who have been marginalized by circumstances beyond
their control. Brad is currently working closely with The International Boy’s Schools Coalition as a Senior
Advisor and with the Island School to facilitate this project.