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Kim Janey to lead nonprofit targeting poverty

Mayor Kim Janey delivers a farewell address in Roxbury’s Hibernian Hall, marking her historic term as the first woman and first Black Mayor of Boston.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Decades ago, as a young mother striving to finish her high school education, former acting Boston mayor Kim Janey received support from the Boston-based nonprofit Economic Mobility Pathways.

Soon, Janey will lead the organization, EMPath announced Monday.

Janey, who made history last year as the first woman and first person of color to serve as mayor of Boston, starts June 1 as president and CEO of the organization, which aims to help people in poverty move up the economic ladder. She said she is eager to take the helm of an organization whose mission aligns with her work as a community organizer and elected official.


“Stepping into a leadership role at an organization that transformed my life early on is truly a full-circle moment and makes this transition even more exciting,” Janey said in a statement. “I’m proud to continue the work I’ve done for much of my career — building and strengthening communities and advocating for children and families. I look forward to working alongside my new colleagues to expand on the impact the organization has already had in the Boston area and across the country.”

Janey was elected to the Boston City Council in 2017 and later served as council president, becoming acting mayor last year when former mayor Martin J. Walsh joined the Biden administration. After leaving the mayor’s office last year, Janey also entered the world of academia, serving as a fellow at both Salem State University and Harvard University.

Janey competed in last year’s mayoral race, but failed to advance past the September preliminary election, which narrowed the field to two candidates.

As the city’s executive, Janey dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, wrestled with the opioid crisis in the area known as Mass. and Cass, and was the one to fire Boston police commissioner Dennis White after decades-old domestic violence allegations against him resurfaced.


EMPath’s “Mobility Mentoring” model has helped low-income families multiply their incomes, earn advanced degrees and good jobs, and save money, the company said in a news release.

EMPath Board Chair Rob Reilly said the organization is “thrilled” to welcome Janey.

“This is a pivotal moment for the organization as we work towards our vision of a world where every person experiencing poverty gets the tools, skills, and support they need to get out of it—for good,” Reilly said in a statement. “With Mayor Janey’s deep understanding of the issue and longstanding commitment to serving her community, we know she’s the right person to get us there.”

Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Emma Platoff can be reached at Follow her @emmaplatoff.