Spencer Lester

Director of Finance and Operations

As CEO/CFO/Program Manager for Children’s Futures (CF), Mr. Lester has responsibility for defining its strategic direction, ensuring that resources are in place to accomplish important mission goals in addition to the program, financial, information technology and human resource components of the initiative.

In September 2001 CF was incorporated and Mr. Lester, as the Financial Officer, began to construct, develop and implement the operational (finance, operations, administration and grant making) structure of Children’s Futures (CF). After many 20 hour work days and working with Peritus Consulting, two and a half months later on December 1, 2001, CF officially began as a functional organization receiving its first grant of $600K from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. At this point, he continued building the organizational structure by developing, implementing, monitoring and enforcing CF’s administrative policies such as CF’s rules and regulations, policies and procedures, contracts agreements and guidelines. Since 2001, Mr. Lester held several positions at CF beginning as Financial Officer to Dir. of Finance and Operations to V.P. of Operations and Programs.

Prior to joining CF, Mr. Lester worked for eight years as a financial analyst for the RobertWood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), where he made important contributions to RWJF’s Financial Monitoring Office, including but not limited to, being a part of the initial RWJF grant auditing team, supporting and monitoring several national initiatives (total in excess of $60 million), developing internal tracking systems, developing standardize presentations, developing an on-going national program office detail budget matrix, preparing documents & facilitating a $35 million (loan and grant opportunity) and internal
control and capacity building for various organizations throughout the United States.

Before RWJF, Mr. Lester served as a business and tax consultant for nearly 100 clients and held financial positions with the Greater Trenton Community Mental Health Center (now Greater Trenton Behavioral Health Care). In addition, Mr. Lester was a Wine Consultant and manager at Plainsboro Package Store ($2.5 million in sales and featured in Wine Spectator)

A Trenton native and the product of poor prenatal care Mr. Lester doesn’t see CF as a job or work, it’s his passion. He was a full-term baby, born to a 14 year old mother in a bathroom in North Trenton. He weighed not even three (3) pounds at birth and was given
away to a family friend while still in the NICU. He truly understand the issues and concerns facing the population CF serves and is fully engaged in making sure no other child goes through what I went through as an infant. This largely why he has been the driving force behind a number of CF’s successful programs for the community, created and develop financial capacity training to improve the operations of Trenton nonprofit organizations; developed a Wellness Center; provided books and toys for children and families annually during the Christmas holiday season; and, honored outstanding Trenton fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers and foster fathers through the “Platinum Dad” recognition program; worked with City to address crisis and emergency needs, work with
Doula Pilot Program, create a fatherhood component for Doula clients, and developed a Housing Assistance Program.

Mr. Lester is a graduate of Trenton Central High School, Class of 1983, played football (QB & RB), played baseball (1stB & DH), student government, one of the founders of the Freeze Club and participated in other clubs. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Upsala College in East Orange, NJ, where he also played football (QB{4yrs} All time yardage leader & FS), played basketball (went to D-III final four in 1984, track, student government, helped start the Black Student Union, Ambassador, managed campus Pub and many other active roles. He also received and initial to visit the NFL’s New York Giants and that as far as it got, an initial rookie visit. He earned a Organizational Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School and has been a guest lecturer at Kean College of New Jersey and Mercer County Community College.

Mr. Lester is proud of his two children Steven (graduate of Kean) and Michelle (Graduate of Monclair) Steven is philanthropist and a teacher at HedgePath Williams in Trenton and Michelle is a talent DJ, Poet and philanthropist. He is certainly super proud of his now 1 year old granddaughter Egypt Rose. He feels he is truly blessed and thankful for the abundance of gifts, love and true grace and mercy God has bestowed upon him. He is truly grateful and believes it is God that guides him and will continue to guide him as continues to impact the community in a positive way.

Contact:  [email protected]
(609) 695-1977 (ext. 104)