About Us

About Us

Mission & Vision

RHI believes that social change to overcome systemic inequities begins with empowered youth. In partnership with community adults, we nurture young people in Red Hook to be inspired, resilient, and healthy, and to envision themselves as co-creators of their lives, community and society.

We envision a Red Hook where all young people can pursue their dreams and grow into independent adults who contribute to their families and community.

Our Approach

RHI has three programs that we have strategically designed to support young people through their middle school, high school, and young adult years. Our fourth program focuses on building a healthy and sustainable Red Hook community. We envision our three youth development programs as a pipeline for a young person that offers long-term support toward a high school diploma, a college degree or job training program, and a self-determined career path. Our community building work is the foundation that supports the youth development pipeline.

A key dimension of our approach is our belief that people from the community have the power to create their own social change. Whenever possible, priority in hiring is given to a Red Hook resident; extra coaching, professional development, and supportive supervision ensure that local residents are given opportunities to serve their community with an insider’s insight that is invaluable.  Ninety percent of RHI’s staff live in or are from Red Hook. In 2016, over $1M will be paid to Red Hook residents through salaries, stipends, and vendor agreements. With this practice, RHI continues to be an engine of economic development for Red Hook.Youth and adults alike have used RHI as a professional stepping stone to employment opportunities beyond our community.


In 2002 the Red Hook Health Initiative began as a program of a local hospital, in response to the severity of health and social issues in Red Hook. In 2006 we formed the Red Hook Initiative (RHI), an independent 501 (c) 3, in order to expand our scope to better meet community needs. RHI moved into a brand new community center in February 2010; our green building represents our commitment to social justice and sustainability. When Hurricane Sandy hit Red Hook in October 2012, RHI’s model of community hiring made it possible for us to become a hub for relief and rebuilding work in Red Hook. Read more about our Hurricane Sandy story here. Today RHI reaches over 350 youth with intensive programs and long-term services each year. Another 2,000 Red Hook residents are impacted by our community building and peer education work.

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Over the last decade, RHI has received the following awards:

  • NYC Economic Development Corporation RISE: NYC competition, 2015
    Red Hook WiFi and RHI Digital Stewards
  • Brooklyn Women of Distinction Award, 2015
    Ericka Medina, Reproductive Health Trainer
  • Crains 40 Under 40, 2014
    Jill Eisenhard, Executive Director
  • Brooklyn Rising Star Award, 2014
    Frances Medina, Executive Coordinator
  • Public Health Association of New York City, 2013
    Public Health Community Award
  • Brooke W. Mahoney Award for Board Leadership, 2013
  • Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things, 2013
    Sheryl Nash-Chisholm, Youth Job Developer
  • Brooklyn Cyclones Hometown Hero, 2013
    Alisa Pizarro, Community Organizer
  • New York Magazine Excellence in Nonprofit Management Award, 2012
    Gold Medal Winner, New York Community Trust
  • More Magazine Job Genius Series, 2012
    Jill Eisenhard, Executive Director
  • Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Building Brooklyn Award2012
    Community Development Category
  • Coro Civic Leadership Award, 2012
    Jill Eisenhard, Executive Director
  • Brooklyn Women of Distinction Award, 2011
    Jill Eisenhard, Executive Director
  • Robert Acito Award for Youth Involvement, 2009
    Anthony Schloss, Media Programs Coordinator
  • Union Square Award, 2007

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Staff & Board

Senior Management
Anna Ortega-Williams, LMSW, Director of Training and Evaluation
Barrie Koegel, Chief Operating Officer
Jade Elias, Chief Program Officer
Jill Eisenhard, Founder & Executive Director
Natasha Atkins, Director of Programs
Samhita Reddy, Director of Development
Sandy Brockwell, Director of Operations

Tony Schloss, Director of Technology

Middle School Team
Ryan Davis, Middle School Program Manager
Samora Coles, Activities Specialist
Mary Victor, Youth Worker
Felicity Mclean, Youth Worker
Deanna Cherry, Youth Worker
Malcolm West, Youth Worker
Bora Durrsi, Academic Advisor
Jazmin Nazario, Tutor
Kenneth Frazier, Group Leader
Jada Penson, Group Leader

High School Team
Ericka Medina, High School Program Manager
Sheryl Nash-Chisholm, Youth Jobs Developer
Erin Baer,  Social Worker


Young Adult Team
Meghan Ryan, Young Adult Program Manager
Carlos Viveros, Programs & Database Associate
Claytoya Tugwell, College Retention Specialist
Rebecca Fishburne, Case Manager
Janeen Ettienne, Employment Coordinator
Vanessa Nisperos, Young Adult Social Worker

Community Development Team
Catherine McBride, Program Manager
Alisa Pizarro, Referral Specialist
Bonita Felix, Outreach Worker
Shaquana Cooke, Outreach Worker
Shalynda Johnson, Outreach Worker
Kiyana Slade, Community Organizer

Technology Team

Jaebi Bussey, Technology Instructor
Dabriah Alston, WIFI Project Manager
Alden Parkinson, Digital Steward Program Assistant
Alex Coles, Design & Media Associate
Operations Team
Anthony Wooten, Maintenance
Divina Temple, Receptionist
Sherri Harden, Office Manager

Development Team
Philippa Crowne, Development Associate

Board of Directors

Board President
Mr. Gregg Bishop
Commissioner, City of New York
Department of Small Business Services

Board Vice-President
Ms. Janice McGuire
Nonprofit Consultant

Board Secretary
Ms. Maria Mottola
Executive Director
New York Foundation

Board Treasurer
Mr. David Xi Bing Ma
Global Risk and Specialties


Mr. Chris Cardona
Program Officer, Philanthropy
Ford Foundation

Dr. Millicent Comrie
Maimonides Medical Center

Mr. Harry Hayes
Director, Group Health Strategy
Grand Rounds, Inc.

Ms. Brandon Holley
Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Rebecca Kirszner Katz
Hilltop Public Solutions

Mr. Gregory T. O’Connell
The O’Connell Organization

Ms. Susan Stamler
Executive Director
United Neighborhood Houses

Mr. Andrew Strauss
Chief Executive Officer
Skinder-Strauss LLC

Ms. Jennifer Wheary

Ms. Eden Wurmfeld
Film and TV Producer

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Partners & Donors

Red Hook Initiative is grateful for support from the following Institutional Supporters in 2015:

Advocates for Youth
Barker Welfare Foundation
Booth Ferris Foundation
Brooklyn Community Foundation
Capital One Services, LLC
Carson Family Charitable Trust
Change Capital Fund
Compass Real Estate
Con Edison
Corcoran Cares
Council Member Carlos Menchaca
Cushman & Wakefield
Department of Youth & Community Development
Deutsche Bank
Edith & Herbert Lehman Foundation
Edward S. Moore Family Foundation
Eileen Fisher
Erie Basin Marine Associates
Forest City Ratner Companies
Goldman Sachs Gives
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Heisman Trophy Trust
Industry City
International School of Brooklyn
J.M. Kaplan Fund
Joseph & Diane Steinberg Charitable Trust
Julian Price Family Foundation
Kamco Supply Corp
Koya Leadership Partners
Laura B. Vogler Foundation
Lone Pine Foundation
M&T Charitable Foundation
Mariposa Foundation
Mary J. Hutchins Foundation
May Ellen & Gerald Ritter Foundation
National Grid
New York Business Development Corporation
New York Water Taxi
News Corp
North Star Fund
NYC Center for Economic Opportunity
Robertson Foundation
Rose Badgeley Residuary Trust
Russell Grinnell Memorial Trust
SANBA Partners/King Equity Partners
Santander Bank
Signature Bank
Sky Ranch Foundation
Stainman Family Foundation
Stearns Charitable Trust
Stella & Charles Guttman Foundation
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
The O’Connell Organization
Union Beer Distributors
van Ameringen Foundation
Walentas Foundation
Williams Capital Group
Woodbury Fund

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Career Opportunities

RHI has the following positions available. If you share a passion for creating opportunities for youth to determine their own bright futures, send us an email at [email protected] (with the job title in the subject line) with a resume and cover letter explaining why you’d be a good fit.