2020 Annual Report of the National Council on Family Relations

Please enjoy the National Council on Family Relations' (NCFR) 2020 Annual Report, which includes information about program activities, finances, and individuals who have contributed to NCFR throughout the year.

A complete statement of financial position and statement of activities from 2019 and 2018 is posted below.

The mission of NCFR is to provide an educational forum for family researchers, educators, and practitioners to share in the development and dissemination of knowledge about families and family relationships, establish professional standards, and work to promote family well-being. Learn more about NCFR.

Table of Contents

A Letter From NCFR's President

Leigh A. Leslie, Ph.D., NCFR President, 2019-2021

Leigh A. Leslie

Dear Members and Friends of NCFR,

I am proud to present to you NCFR’s 2020 annual report, in which you’ll learn about many incredible accomplishments made by members of the NCFR community despite an extraordinary year the world over. You will also see a snapshot of NCFR’s financial position and activities; and read about the many volunteers, leaders, and supporters whose contributions are invaluable to the NCFR organization.

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged us all in 2020 to find new ways to navigate our personal, professional, and civic lives in a world turned upside down. And yet, as we lamented the way things used to be, we learned that the old ways weren’t so good either. The pandemic exposed just how entrenched White supremacy and racial injustice have become into our regular way of life in the United States.

In 2020, the NCFR Board of Directors began an organization-wide racial justice initiative. We hosted listening sessions with our members on this topic to hear their ideas and concerns. Many specific actions were recommended, and themes emerged that will guide the work of the board and all NCFR entities forward. You will read below about some of the actions that have already been implemented such as the NCFR Student Access Grant for students from historically marginalized racial or ethnic populations. It is exciting to see NCFR sections, focus groups, and members at large taking initial steps to tackle needed changes in the organization and our places of employment.

It has also been exciting to see the Advancing Family Science Initiative blossom during 2020. This important work began approximately 5 years ago but was set aside as other initiatives  took priority in the intervening years. This renewed focus is based on both a continuing desire to see our discipline recognized as the go-to experts on family well-being research and practice and a recognition that the post-pandemic future is likely to see many changes in higher education. We, as a discipline, need to be a stronger voice for families, particularly vulnerable families, and we need to have a seat at the table as higher education evolves in coming years. While the work of the Advancing Family Science Initiative will be overseen by NCFR staff, there will continue to be many opportunities for member input and participation.

Finally, I would be remiss to not mention the incredible feat of moving the 2020 NCFR Annual Conference entirely online. Led by Conference Chair, Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, the Conference Program Committee and NCFR staff worked tirelessly to provide attendees with the best professional development experience possible. Work is already underway to capitalize on what worked well and improve the experience even more for the 2021 virtual conference. While I know many of us missed the face-to-face networking and dinners with friends and colleagues, the essence of the conference, providing the latest advances in Family Science research, practice, and teaching, was upheld.

As we continue through 2021 let us double down to do this crucial work together. As always, it is very important for the board to hear your voices. While we will frequently ask for input, please feel free to email us anytime at [email protected].

Here’s to a productive 2021.

Leigh A. Leslie, Ph.D.
NCFR President, 2019-2021


2020 NCFR Program Highlights:

The work of NCFR members improves society every day. The knowledge and skills of family scholars and professionals strengthen and empower families around the world and help us all to better understand families and family relationships. It’s crucial for NCFR to support members' work and professional development so they can continue making a great impact and moving Family Science forward.

Here we spotlight a few of the amazing ways NCFR members helped advance the discipline of Family Science in 2020:

Racial Justice Resources

With the tragic and unprovoked killing of Black Americans in 2020 including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many more, NCFR members and the organization addressed racial justice in 2020. The board of directors hosted two listening sessions in which NCFR members were invited to join board members in a virtual space to share their ideas about next steps in addressing racial justice. Some of the ideas from members on resources to provide are listed below:


SNP Writing Days Help Builds Community and Collaboration Among NCFR Colleagues in 2020

Written by Jordan A. Arellanes, Ph.D., and Jennifer L. Doty, Ph.D., CFLE

Writing Wednesdays was created to serve the NCFR Students and New Professionals (SNP) group during the summer of 2020 which was marred by separation from school and work and increased difficulties associated with COVID-19. This program created a sense of community, increased productivity, drew on peer accountability, and presented the opportunity to gain feedback on manuscripts, outreach efforts, or theses and dissertations.

In spring 2020, SNP representatives met and discussed the need to provide NCFR members with the opportunity for additional resources and to create a sense of community during the pandemic. SNP recognized that going online affected the academic development of many of our members. There was a need to create initiatives that better supported the progress of students, researchers, and practitioners alike. Three initiatives were agreed on, one of which was Writing Wednesdays. NCFR staff worked quickly to establish a safe and secure Zoom profile for NCFR members to hold meetings virtually. SNP reps shared recruitment materials across NCFR discussion boards to encourage NCFR members to participate in the program. Additionally, SNP reps shared information across associated university emails, which enabled Writing Wednesdays to become a recruitment opportunity for new potential members to learn about services provided by NCFR.

Each Wednesday, members join the meeting, welcome one another, and share the progress that they have made on their writing over the previous week. Two 45-minute sessions, with a short break in between, provide dedicated writing time. Individuals are instructed to keep their webcams on; in this way, accountability to peers limits distractions. During the final 15 minutes, individuals share what they completed during the sessions and what they want to accomplish by the following week. In addition, guest speakers have shared more information to help members become more productive in their work, including NCFR member services.

There has been no formal study of this program, but there have been a series of shared sentiments about its effectiveness. For example, having a dedicated time each week with colleagues has made it much easier to maintain a stable writing schedule during the summer. Participants have noted that it is much easier to remain dedicated to a project when you know that your peers are helping keep you accountable for getting your work done.

Seeing the progress of others in the program has been reassuring and invokes a sense of accomplishment in getting work done. Members congratulate one another when someone overcomes a challenging task—and it can be rare for researchers to get positive feedback on completing difficult daily tasks. Often, we move from manuscript to manuscript with little recognition of our efforts. Working side by side with others, as we have in Writing Wednesdays, enables us to support the continued progress of members. In weekly meetings, many of us have shared the challenges of completing research. Hearing about the struggles and accomplishments of others is reassuring as we each work toward accomplishing our own goals—beyond a line on our curriculum vitae. It appears that building a sense of community may help diminish stress as SNP make progress. SNP Writing Wednesday moved to Mondays in the Fall of 2020. It was also continued into 2021. To learn more about how to join this program, please visit: https://www.ncfr.org/events/writing-mondays


NCFR Olson Grant Awards Inaugural Grant Recipients

2020 NCFR Olson Grant Recipients
Clockwise from top left: Poehlmann-Tynan, Charles,   Massoglia, and Kerr

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and David H. Olson, Ph.D., were proud to recognize Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, Ph.D., Pajarita Charles, Ph.D., Margaret Kerr, Ph.D., and Michael Massoglia, Ph.D., as the 2020 inaugural recipients of the NCFR Olson Grant: Bridging Research, Theory, and Practice. This new $10,000 annual grant is available to NCFR members working to creatively contribute to the discipline of Family Science by effectively uniting research, theory, and practice in their work.

The recipients’ grant proposal, Building Reflective Functioning, Cohesion, and Flexibility in Families with Incarcerated Parents Through Supported Visits, will test their own new relationship-based intervention for families with incarcerated parents. This intervention, the Enhanced Visits Model (EVM), integrates Olson’s Circumplex Model and John Bowlby’s attachment theory.

Having an incarcerated parent is a U.S. public health problem. More than 5 million children experience a resident parent’s incarceration, with significant racial and economic disparities. Research by Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan and others has found that children with incarcerated parents experience risk for behavior problems, health and mental health concerns, poor family relationships, and academic difficulties, and incarcerated parents experience risk for recidivism. Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan and her colleagues have also discovered that few interventions exist for children with incarcerated parents, and even fewer have been empirically investigated.

Given these issues, the primary goals of the EVM are: (1) to improve child well-being and increase secure attachments, (2) to increase reflective functioning in parents and caregivers through visit coaching so that they are better able to understand the child’s visit experiences and point of view and (3) to attain more balanced family cohesion and flexibility through improved family communication. There is great interest in the EVM among incarcerated parents and their families and among corrections facilities, especially now when in-person visits have been eliminated because of COVID-19.

In their decision, the selection committee praised the recipients for “undertaking an intervention project designed to address the challenges of mass incarceration for parents and their children.” The committee went on to note, “The study will focus on building family strengths within a vulnerable population – a value of both NCFR and Dr. Olson’s work. We believe this research study will be successful in journal submissions, conference presentations, and future citations.”

Dr. Poehlmann-Tynan and her colleagues will present findings of the intervention at the 2021 virtual NCFR Annual Conference. More information about the NCFR Olson Grant can be found here: https://www.ncfr.org/awards/ncfr-olson-grant

Financial Position and Activities, 2019 and 2018

See NCFR's Form 990 from 2018 (PDF)


Thank You to Our Donors, Volunteers, and Leaders!

NCFR's activities would not be possible without the contributions of our financial donors — including benefactor members who gave above and beyond their NCFR membership dues — and those who lend their time and talent to NCFR in upwards of 50 areas of volunteering and leadership.  

To our board and committee members; member group officers; conference and webinar presenters and reviewers; journal and publication editors, authors, advisors, and reviewers; student volunteers; and many more: We're grateful for all you do for NCFR!

See below for special acknowledgement of the 2020 NCFR Board of Directors, as well as our benefactor members and donors:

2020 Benefactor Members

Katherine R. Allen
Elaine A. Anderson
William G. Austin
Kharmynn Bullock
LaTonya Carter
Robyn L. Cenizal
Deborah P. Coehlo
Bree E. Cook
Teresa M. Cooney
Albert J. Davis
Aaron T. Ebata
Laura Ellen Findley
William Michael Fleming
Sandra Griffin
E. Jeffrey Hill
Toni Hill
Ralph LaRossa
Marcel Montanez
Scott A. Myers
Sharon N. Obasi
Cynthia A. Osborne
Cynthia J. Price
Hilary A. Rose
Ronald M. Sabatelli
Terri Nicole Sawyer
Sherri Searles
Bridget Seeley
Gregory Smith
Sandra Stith
Margarita Velasco
Terry Webster
Yvonne A. Williford
Anisa M. Zvonkovic


2020 Donors

Francesca Adler-Baeder
Edna C. Alfaro
William D. Allen
Elaine A. Anderson*
Maya Autret
Linda S. Behrendt
Debra Berke
Karen R. Blaisure
Jenae Bluhm*
Lindsey Boes
Juliette Bossert
Jacqueline Brooks-Winston
Dawn Cassidy*
Julie A. Cederbaum
I. Joyce Chang
Diane Clark
Carlos Alonso Chama Cárdenas
Diane Cushman*
Albert J. Davis
Jamie Maria Dellinger
Esther L. Devall
Jennifer L. Doty
Aaron T. Ebata
Rachel H. Farr
April L. Few-Demo*
Judith L. Fischer
William Michael Fleming
Cynthia A. Frosch
Margo Gage
Deborah Gentry
Richard S. Glotzer
Mary Agnes Gobert-Harrel
Sandra Griffin
Diane M.H. Hall
Tammy S. Harpel
Megan L. Haselschwerdt
Katie M. Heiden-Rootes
Tammy L. Henderson
Chelsea Hetherington*
M. Janice Hogan-Schiltgen
Natalie Hsieh
Virginia James
Christine Noel Joachims
Carol A. Johnston
Bob E. Keim
Colton Tanner Kilpatrick
Karen Z. Kramer
Linda D. Ladd
Soyoung Lee*
Leigh A. Leslie
Bethany L. Letiecq*
Joy R. Lile
Savannah Lodge-Scharff
Jay A. Mancini*
Brandyn-Dior McKinley
Willie Melton*
The Meeting Connection, Inc
Susan D. Meyerle
Wendy Middlemiss
Mona Mittal
Lisa Moyer
Audrey E. Nelson
Brian G Ogolsky
Mary Ojerinde
Ramona Faith Oswald
Norma J. Perez-Brena
Maureen A. Perry-Jenkins*
Robert Reyes*
Andrea Lynn Roach*
Joanne Arnold Roberts
Ronald M. Sabtelli
Jason Samuels
Michael S. Sitton
Fred Jeff Smith
Catherine A. Solheim*
Margaret Ann Stridick
Kyleigh Donn Sullivan
Silvia L. Vilches
Richard S. Wampler
Margaret J. Ward
Rebecca J. Ward*
Dana A. Weiser*
Melissa Sue Werner
Lorey Ann Wheeler
Bethany N. Willis Hepp
Diane M. Wood
Ani Yazedjian
Valerie Zayat-Bloodgood

*NCFR Student Access Grant
2021 Conference Presenter Fund

If you would like to donate to NCFR, you may make a donation online.

NCFR staff work hard to ensure the accuracy of this list of contributors. Please contact us if your name does not appear here but should, or if you know of donors who should be included. 


2020 NCFR Board of Directors



Leigh A. Leslie — Board President, 2019–2021 — Associate Professor Emerita, Department of Family Science, University of Maryland


Norma Bond Burgess square

Norma J. Bond Burgess – Board President-elect, 2020-2021 – Professor of Sociology and Family Science, Associate Provost for Diversity, Inclusion and Special Initiatives, Lipscomb University


Robert Reyes square

Robert Reyes – Board Secretary/Treasurer, 2020-2022 – Professor of Human Development & Family Science, Messiah University


Soyoung Lee square

Soyoung Lee – Member-at-Large, 2020-2022 – Associate Professor, Family Science and Human Development, Montclair State University


Jen Doty square

Jennifer L. Doty – Students and New Professionals Board Representative-elect, 2020 – Assistant Professor, Youth Development and Prevention Science, University of Florida


Joanne Roberts square

Joanne Roberts – Affiliate Councils Board President-elect, 2020-2021 – Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Hardin-Simmons University


Bethany Letiecq square

Bethany Letiecq – Member at Large, 2018-2020 – Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Science, George Mason University



Brian Ogolsky – Member at Large, 2018-2020 – Director of Graduate Studies, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



April Few-Demo – Member at Large, 2018-2020 – Professor, Head of the Department of Human Development and Family Science, Virginia Tech



Andrea Roach – Students and New Professionals Board Representative, 2019-2020 – Assistant Professor, Department of Child and Family Science, Fresno State


Contributing Organizations and NCFR Staff

Thanks to the following organizations for their contributions to and support of NCFR in 2020:

Wiley — publisher of NCFR's scholarly journals
Winthrop & Weinstine — legal counsel
University of North Carolina at Greensboro — editorial offices of Journal of Family Theory & Review (Mark A. Fine, editor)
University of Kentucky — editorial offices of Family Relations (Jason Hans, outgoing editor)
University of North Texas — editorial offices of Family Relations (Wendy Middlemiss, incoming editor)
Ohio State University — editorial offices of Journal of Marriage and Family (Kristi Williams, editor)
The Meeting Connection, Inc. — conference consulting 
Johnson Printing — publications and printing support

NCFR Staff

  • Diane L. Cushman, Executive Director and Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Liaison
  • Susan Baker, CNAP, Accounting Manager
  • Dawn Cassidy, M.Ed., CFLE, Director of Family Life Education
  • Jennifer Crosswhite, Ph.D., CFLE, Director of Research and Policy Education
  • Maddie Hansen, Membership Manager
  • Rosemary Johnson, Executive Assistant
  • Jay McGraw, Director of Technology
  • Ginnie O'Neill, Director of Marketing, Membership, and Communications
  • Jane Reilly, Office Manager
  • David Schmidt, Finance Director
  • Judy Schutz, Conference and Meeting Planner
  • Trip Sullivan, Communications Manager
  • Emily Vang, Education and Certification Coordinator
  • Allison Wickler, Director of Special Projects

Staff Consultants

  • Cindy Winter, CMP, Conference Consultant
  • Claire Kimberly, Ph.D., CFLE,  Webinar Coordinator and Academic Program Liaison