Sixto Cancel,
Founder & CEO.

I believe that the fundamental architecture of the system must be redesigned, and that supports must be rooted in lived experience. Though many people succeed despite the system, it’s our job to create innovations that make this the rule rather than the exception.

Sixto Cancel

Sixto Cancel is a nationally recognized leader driving systems change in child welfare, working across tech, service delivery, research and data, and state and federal policy to improve outcomes for youth and families. He has a proven track record of mobilizing cross-sector partnerships and lived-expertise to drive effective innovation at the local, state, and federal levels to solve both entrenched and emergent challenges.

As CEO, Sixto is responsible for creating and leading organizational strategy to drive fundamental systems change in child welfare systems across the country. This includes advising state and federal government leaders and bodies to adopt best-practices and improve policies, partnering with private-sector providers and state agencies to design and build novel technological and practical solutions, creating and managing direct service programs to improve resource accessibility, and directing a research center innovating participatory research practices to address historical knowledge gaps. 

Sixto incorporated Think of Us in 2017 as a tech nonprofit, initially designed to use virtual storytelling to shed light on the experiences of foster youth. He led Think of Us through a rapid evolution, creating the Think of Us app in 2018; assisting the Federal government and 44 states in disbursing $400M in Federal pandemic relief funds to former foster youth in 2020-21 through the Check for Us campaign; building the Lived Experience Network, the nation’s largest virtual community of lived-experts in child welfare in 2021; and launching the Center for Lived Experience to center lived-experience in research and national policy making in 2022.

Sixto’s recognitions include:

  • Aspen Ideas 2022 Fellows
  • Schmidt Innovation Fellow
  • Advantage Foundry Network, LLC (AFN)
  • Resilient CEO of the Year
  • Children’s Bureau Champion
  • Peace Center Peace Hero
  • Jim Casey Young Fellow Award Recipient
  • Children’s Rights Fostering the Future Award Recipient
  • Young People For- Innovation Award Recipient
  • National Council for Adoption Waren and Marie Alice Babineaux Award
  • Young Fellow at the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative
  • White House Champion of Change
  • Top 24 Changemakers in Government Under 24 (Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council and SparkAction)
  • NewProfit Social Entrepreneur Accelerator Initiative Alum
  • Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize Recipient
  • Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Young Fellow
  • Fostering the Future Award, Children’s Rights
  • Forbes Under30
  • Lister Board Member
  • Forbes Top 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur
  • FastForward Alum
  • Clinton Global Initiative University Alum
  • BET Millennial Maker
  • Ashoka Fellow

Hear from Sixto

October 17, 2022

Sixto Cancel, CEO & Founder,Think of Us | 2022 Concordia Annual Summit

2022 Concordia Annual Summit

Remarks: Sixto Cancel, CEO & Founder,Think of Us | 2022 Concordia Annual Summit

Centre for Lived Experience
September 1, 2022

Fostering Hope, Driving Change - Think of Us & Sixto Cancel

Jena Lynch

Using technology to forge critical human connections may seem counter-intuitive, but the innovative and life-changing work Think of Us is driving in the US foster care system is doing exactly that!

Centre for Lived Experience
July 17, 2022

From Foster Care to Founder - Tanya talks to Sixto Cancel

Tanya Acker

Tanya talks to the CEO and Founder of Think of Us about his personal journey through foster care; redesigning the foster care system; and healing childhood wounds through “radical service.”

Policy & Practice
July 8, 2022

Learning From Lived Experiences: Sixto Cancel

Texas CASA

Policy & Practice
May 31, 2022

Juvenile Law Center presents a conversation with Sixto Cancel and Dorothy Roberts

Juvenile Law Center

December 30, 2021

PBS News Hour - One former foster child's simple approach to fixing a broken system

PBS News Hour

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