Who We Are Team All Team Members Leadership Team Youth Development Operations Community Building Red Hook Farms Development Board of Directors Michael Partis Executive Director Michael Partis Executive Director As an anthropologist and educator, Michael Partis has a deep understanding of the historical and social roots of injustices faced by the Red Hook community. Michael most recently was the Executive Director of the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI), a nonprofit focused on community wealth building. Michael also currently works as a researcher at the Bronx African American History Project at Fordham University. He co-founded The Bronx Brotherhood Project, a college success and mentorship program for Black and Latino teens at the New Settlement College Access Center. Previously, Michael was the Director of South Bronx Rising Together (SBRT), a “cradle-to-career” education initiative. He also previously taught in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, as well as in the Department of Anthropology at Brooklyn College. Michael is also the Co-Chair of the Federation for a Manufacturing Renaissance, a Board Member for the New Economy Project and the New York Foundation, and the Adult Board Chair for the Youth Power Coalition. Yvonne Martinez Brathwaite Chief Program & Policy Officer Yvonne Martinez Brathwaite Chief Program & Policy Officer Yvonne Martinez Brathwaite has spent her career in the field of youth development. As an executive leader at Global Kids, her work focused on global education, social justice, and human rights programs across NYC for youth in underserved communities. Prior to joining Global Kids, Yvonne managed and provided professional development, coaching, and capacity-building services for nearly 20 years at the Partnership for After School Education (PASE). She started her career working directly with youth, running social service and leadership development programs. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and a Master of Public Administration from New York University. Yvonne was awarded the Adam Solomon Award for Excellence by Tanenbaum Center which recognizes education leaders who are committed to fostering and creating equitable and inclusive learning environments. She volunteers her time at International School of Brooklyn as Board of Trustees Vice President and has actively worked to strengthen the school’s DEIB practices. A native New Yorker, Yvonne was raised in East Harlem and has lived in Brooklyn for nearly 30 years! Aphia Messiah Chief Administrative Officer Aphia Messiah Chief Administrative Officer Aphia Messiah has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily working in operations and leadership roles. In her previous role with New York Peace Institute (NYPI), she served as the Director of Operations. She was instrumental in scaling the organization by focusing on people and culture, financial management, technology, and overall administration of the organization. Before joining NYPI, Aphia was the Head of Operations, Participant Experience at IIE, an organization that supports educational and cultural exchange programs. She was responsible for implementing new systems, processes, and centralizing operations. Aphia is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics & Statistics and Sociology from Stony Brook University. Aphia is an innovative leader who is passionate about supporting mission-driven organizations. She grew up in the Bronx but has been living in Brooklyn for past 18 years. Catherine McBride Director of Community Building Catherine McBride Director of Community Building Catherine leads a team of five community-based staff members in advocating for Red Hook public housing residents through a multi-pronged program strategy. Under her leadership, RHI launched the Local Leaders Program in 2014, which has trained over 250 Red Hook public housing residents in emergency preparedness and local organizing. The Local Leaders have since led Participatory Action Research and led campaigns to address critical public housing health issues related to mold and lead. Catherine served as Co-Chair for the New York City Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee from 2015 to 2016. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from NYU and an MSW in Community Organizing, Planning and Development from Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. Saara Nafici Director of Red Hook Farms Saara Nafici Director of Red Hook Farms Saara has been in the environmental education field for over 20 years, with a focus on food production as a vehicle for engaging students and community members in the natural world. Since the late nineties, she has worked in school, community, and botanic gardens, developing curriculum and running hands-on, inquiry-based educational programs. Weaving together social justice and ecological stewardship is the foundation of her practice as an educator-farmer. Saara has served as the director of Red Hook Farms (formerly known as Added Value) since 2015, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resources Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a longtime activist, feminist, bicyclist, botanist, and youth educator. Brendan Parker Assistant Director of Red Hook Farms Brendan Parker Assistant Director of Red Hook Farms Brendan joins the farm team a varied career in public school garden education, market farming, and community gardening. He has been farming since 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Stony Brook University, where he became deeply engaged in understanding our nation’s broken food system. Brendan feels that urban agriculture and education are among the most important pieces to lessen the impacts the industrial world has had on our environment and our personal health. When Brendan is not contemplating the soil food web you may find him somewhere in Queens searching for a new country’s cuisine to sample. Naiyma Holmes Director of People Operations & Culture Naiyma Holmes Director of People Operations & Culture Naiyma leads a team of six staff members dedicated to supporting daily program activities, ensuring efficient financial protocols, and maintaining the community center’s facilities. A lifetime Red Hook resident, Naiyma first joined RHI a Diabetes Health Educator. She quickly rose into new roles on the operations team including Office Assistant, Office Manager, and Finance Manager. Naiyma left RHI briefly to serve as the Operations Manager with the New York City Participatory Budgeting Project. Naiyma returned to RHI in 2017 to serve as Director of Operations. She is committed to lifting up the Red Hook community through her capacity as senior staff member. She is known throughout the neighborhood as a leader. Michael Lopez Jr. Director of Young Adult Programs Michael Lopez Jr. Director of Young Adult Programs Michael has served as a non-profit leader with a focus on workforce development and education strategies for 14 years. During this time he has committed to stand in solidarity with vibrant communities; investing in the people of the South Bronx, East Harlem, Suffern, N.Y. and the West side of Chicago. Michael leads a team that provides academic, employment, advocacy and socio-emotional services to 300, sixteen to twenty-four year old residents of Red Hook. Prior to joining RHI, he was a program and strategic initiatives manager for City Year and acted as co-chair for the Afrolatin@ Forum. He also co-founded a Lower East Food Pantry. Michael is dedicated to bridging opportunity gaps alongside marginalized people as they develop their communities. Nellis Dorlisme Assistant Director of Young Adult Programs Nellis Dorlisme Assistant Director of Young Adult Programs Nellis (he/him) is the Assistant Director of Older Youth Programs at the Red Hook Initiative. Nellis is a dynamic strategic planner who provides direct support services to the young adults of the Red Hook Community with their employment and college ambitions. Nellis, a Red Hook native, has collectively over 8 years with youth development, digital marketing, product management, & community organizing. His passion for ludology, social advocacy, & alternative paths to education leaves him intellectually curious about how technology can be leveraged to bridge the skill gap between American youth who plays video games and employers who don’t recognize the legitimate technical & interpersonal skill-set video games cultivate. Karen Ross Director of Health and Wellness Programs Karen Ross Director of Health and Wellness Programs Karen V. Ross is a Director of Health and Wellness Programs who works with Red Hook Initiative to help shape RHI programs to support the mental health and wellness needs of its participants and direct efforts to increase access to health and mental health services and resources for residents of the Red Hook Community. Karen firmly believes that lasting change begins with engaging people where they are and creating essential collaborative relationships. Karen knows that empowering our youth is paramount and aids in the remarkable work RHI does to improve the lives of its participants and the community. For the last 15 years, Karen has had the privilege to work with different populations within the nonprofit sector. Most recently, Karen helped to shape and guide the practices of the Student Health & Wellness department at Teachers College Columbia University. Before this, Karen led her social services team of Hospitality House to move many families into permanency by means of diligent efforts centered around multi-dimensional services. Karen is a licensed social worker trained in multi-systemic therapy-substance abuse. Karen was born and raised in Red Hook and is dedicated to contributing to RHI’s mission and strengthening the Red Hook community. Karen loves to spend time with her family and although she doesn’t teach anymore, she still loves to dance. Natisha Romain Director of Adolescent Youth Programs Natisha Romain Director of Adolescent Youth Programs Natisha Romain is a Youth Development Professional, Researcher, and Adjunct Lecturer. Natisha is an Afro-Caribbean woman, from the island of Grenada, who was raised in Brooklyn since coming to America 25 years ago. She has over 13+ years of experience working with inner-city youth, a passion for mentoring programs, and qualitative research experience. Natisha has worked with youth from as far as Hunts Point in the Bronx to as close as East New York Brooklyn. She knows the importance of building community through identifying both the commonalities and life challenges our young people face. She believes that through this juxtaposition, youth-adult relationships, and effective mentorship, our youth can be empowered to do anything they can dream of and more. Some of the research projects that Natisha has been a part of have challenged the status quo by conducting research with, for, and by young people from across New York City. From researching a local Red Hook makerspace program to the impact of COVID-19 on youth service providers to changes in the youth labor market, research like this gives youth workers, such as herself, more comprehensive data that could help drive change and influence youth program design and growth. Natisha is a graduate of the CUNY School of Professional Studies with a Master’s in Youth Studies. Sherri Harden Facilities Office Manager Sherri Harden Facilities Office Manager Sherri is the currently the Facilities Office Manager at Red Hook Initiative, and member of the Operations Team supporting the day-to-day functions of the organization. In her role, Sherri oversees daily administrative tasks, such as record-keeping, financial transactions, inventory and client correspondence, facility upkeep, vendor relations, and management of RHI’s front desk receptionist staff. Sherri is celebrating 14 years with RHI. She brings a passion and drive to be an agent of change to build others up, and believes in the importance of RHI’s mission to be “resilient” to respond in times of crises and voice the community needs. Sherri is the recipient of numerous awards including The Helping Hand award for her work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. She also recently participated in the Jewish Community Relations Council Women’s Fellowship and the United Neighborhood Houses Emerging Leaders Cohort. Away from RHI, Sherri loves to travel whether it’s a “staycation” or a vacation, and enjoys shopping, movies, and music. Michel’le Thomas Community Relations Manager Michel’le Thomas Community Relations Manager Michel’le Thomas, born and raised in Red Hook Brooklyn. Michel’le is in my mid 20’s trying to live her best life the only way she knows how. In between living her life she is also trying to break the barriers for women. When Michel’le say barriers she means literally the things people don’t expect from us or to accomplish she wants to become that inspiration. Create those type of environments where women can walk in the room and light it up, talk our shit, & be at our most comfortable. Michel’le has a dream, a dream to empower and inspire women all over the world. To come together and create safe spaces where we can be ourselves, gain self-love to accept ourselves in every possible way, build confidence wherever we may lack it, create and share opportunities that can benefit each and every one of us. While doing these things for ourselves individually, she wants us to do it for each other. It wouldn’t be her dream if she was not making it a reality. It can’t happen without you. Michel’le needs you, we need each other. So on that note let’s get to it #whatyoufeelinglike Tevina Willis Community Organizing Manager Tevina Willis Community Organizing Manager Tevina is a lifelong Brooklynite, community organizer, educator, and Red Hook resident. With a passion for entrepreneurship and employment advocacy, Tevina founded her own non-profit organization in 2012; Aesthetic Soul Community, training residents in community organizing and capacity building. Tevina joined RHI as a member of the first cohort of Red Hook Local Leaders. Local Leaders is a 10 week Emergency Preparedness leadership course that prepares communities to collectively respond to emergencies. She joined as a staff member in 2017 and in addition to now facilitating Local Leaders, she organizes and manages the online and physical community bulletin board Red Hook Hub. Tevina is very passionate about helping her community to be advocates for positive change and equity for themselves and their neighborhood. Currently, the Community Organizer Manager, Tevina works with her Community Building Team to advocate and organize around public housing issues in Red Hook. Carolyn Ferguson Environmental Justice Manager Carolyn Ferguson Environmental Justice Manager Carolyn Ferguson is the Environmental Justice Manager at Red Hook Initiative. Carolyn started at RHI a year ago as the Sensor Lab Fellow and has been the fearless leader on our journey of community science and air monitoring within the Community Building Team. In her new role as EJ Manager, Carolyn will oversee the work of the EPA grant, expand our network of air monitors, establish a Community Advisory Committee, and train young adults on how to monitor the air and make changes toward environmental justice in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Jasmin Banaei Clinical Counselor Jasmin Banaei Clinical Counselor Jasmin (she/they/he/all pronouns) is a Clinical Counselor with Red Hook Initiative. They are a mad, queer, West Asian, person. Their core values are rooted in a belief every person has love, creativity, and resilience to share and hopes to give everybody the space to work towards reclaiming their expression, care, growth and self-acceptance. Jasmin understands systemic oppression to be distribution of trauma. In the past Jasmin has worked as a counsellor in various settings; harm reduction, newcomers and asylum seeker groups, group counseling detainees in a city jail, and crisis-work. Najee Hunt Clinical Counselor Najee Hunt Clinical Counselor Najee Hunt is a Clinical Counselor with Red Hook Initiative. He was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn. As a recent graduate from Columbia School of Social Work with his MSW, he is dedicated to mentoring and guiding the youth and young adults of the Red Hook community. In his efforts of assisting them to adopt supportive ways to uplift themselves in the face of adversity, he wants them to always remember the power they have to re-define their narrative and refrain from being a product of their environment. Prior to his role as a Clinical Counselor, he worked in the preventive service sector of the child welfare system. As a case planner, he worked diligently to advocate for marginalized families, bridge gaps between members of family compositions, and minimize the number of children placed into the foster care system. His work in the child welfare system has allowed him to identify some of the support many inner city youth and young adults lack in their homes and where members of their community and out-of-home support systems can come in to fill those gaps. Najee has a fascination for the arts as he is a writer and poet/spoken word artist. He also admires the beauty of movement as he is a certified Yoga instructor. Renair Amin Workforce Training Coordinator Generra Garris Job Readiness Specialist Generra Garris Job Readiness Specialist Generra Garris is the Job Readiness Specialist at Red Hook Initiative, supporting the Young Adult program with one-on-one support with resumes, cover letters, and mock interviews. She teaches young adults from the Red Hook Houses interpersonal skills around personal and professional development. Cierra Craig Data & Evaluation Assistant Cierra Craig Data & Evaluation Assistant Cierra Craig is the Data and Evaluation Assistant who works with Red Hook Initiative to support RHI’s ongoing and emerging data needs ensuring our program teams have timely access to their data to help foster a culture of continuous learning. Cierra believes change is implemented when core values and common goals are shared amongst a community. Through compassion, empathy and a commitment to growth, there will always be the path to success. Cierra first landed at RHI in 2021 in the Young Adult Career Starter Series (CSS) Program. After connecting with different local partners as internship opportunities, In 2022, she was accepted into RHI’s Fellowship Program as a Young Adult Programs Fellow. There she continued to develop and support outreach methods by creating and hosting paint parties, movie nights and community events for young adults in the neighborhood. Due to the recognition and growth of leadership in the duration of her fellowship role, Cierra was offered a role as the Data and Evaluation Assistant in July 2023. Cierra is trained in Mental Health First Aid for Adults and Adolescents. She loves to sing, cook, paint, write songs, try new restaurants and visit galleries and museums, Marissa Cappel Case Worker Marissa Cappel Case Worker Marissa helps young adults aged 18-24 in the Red Hook community with resources, goal setting, planning events, anti-violence and over policing teach backs and youth leadership. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Marissa has been working in youth development for 13 years. It is important to Marissa to make sure every young person she engages, knows they have a voice whether it’s for their own personal life or community. Kara Smith Red Hook Community Health Network Manager Kara Smith Red Hook Community Health Network Manager Kara (she/her) leads the Red Hook Community Health Network, a partnership of community-based organizations who serve the Red Hook community and are committed to seeing equitable health outcomes for neighbors. Prior to joining the team at RHI, she supported data analysis and policy development for collective impact initiatives in West Michigan and the South Bronx. Kara holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Sociology from Calvin University and a Master of Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. Outside of the office, she can be found bikepacking in the Hudson Valley, in the kitchen attempting to perfect a batch of baklava, and running alongside her neighborhood run club. Betty Bernhart Community Building Outreach Worker Betty Bernhart Community Building Outreach Worker Betty Bernhart is the Community Building Outreach Worker with Red Hook Initiative and the community to maintain a safe environment in the community. Betty believes in positive change in our living conditions in NYCHA while giving resources to the Red Hook community. Betty started at RHI as a cleaner and returned in 2021 to help the community in Red Hook and beyond. Betty is certified in First Aid CPR AED and is also a state of New York Notary and is currently taking GED classes to obtain her GED to go to college to study mental health. Betty loves animals, reads books, and enjoys quiet time to better prepare herself for the challenges she faces as a member of the Red Hook Houses. Xiao Sun Community Building Outreach Worker Xiao Sun Community Building Outreach Worker Xiao Sun is the Community Building Outreach Worker at Red Hook Initiative. Xiao has filled in a gap the organization has yet to be able to fill for a long time by providing opportunities to our Mandarin-speaking community, allowing them to feel welcomed and right at home at RHI. Madeline Jenkins Senior Manager of Communications Madeline Jenkins Senior Manager of Communications Maddy Jenkins is the Senior Manager of Communications with Red Hook Initiative. Madeline is a hard working, detail-oriented, creative professional invested in creating change within her community through her strong ability to develop and implement comprehensive long and short-term strategic marketing and communications plans. Prior to Maddy’s 4-year involvement on the development team, she’s expressed her passion for video production as a Digital Steward participant by directing, producing, coordinating and performing in 10+ Red Hook Initiative films, including managing projects from concept to completion. Maddy proudly serves her community as the PTA President at P.S.15 and has recently launched a podcast that shares her “weird” perspective on careers, life, and love. Rana Alzandani Development & Communications Assistant Rana Alzandani Development & Communications Assistant Rana Alzandani (She/Her) is the Development and Communications Assistant with Red Hook Initiative and works closely with the Development Communications Associate to create digital content for RHI’s social media platforms. She is incredibly creative, professional, and knowledgeable within the digital marketing realm. Rana has a natural drive to succeed and perform exceptionally well within her environment. Primarily focused on collaboration and team-building skills, along with the usage of multiple editing programs used to develop content and media, Rana has utilized these crucial skills to support her community through digital media. Alejandra Perez Meza College Access Specialist Alejandra Perez Meza College Access Specialist Alejandra Perez Meza who also goes by Alex is our new College Access Specialist who works with Red Hook Initiative to work across the Middle and High School programs to build and sustain a college-going culture and promotes awareness of the link between higher education and professional careers. Alejandra believes in empowering youth through education, by providing them with resources from scholarship opportunities, academic advising, community resources, and financial assistance. Alejandra believes that with collaboration, resources, and support many young people can obtain productive futures. Alejandra has worked with John Jay’s Immigrant Student Success Center since she was a freshman in college through the high school to college pipeline fellowship. Where she supported over a hundred undocumented high schoolers applying to college and helped them attain scholarships and financial assistance through the NYS Dream Act. She also worked for College and Career Bridge for ALL, where she helped the graduating classes of 2020-2022 in applying for post-secondary plans including a trade school. Alex hopes to continue in college access since it is one of her passions. Alex has been the Vice President of Habitat for Humanity at John Jay College where she advocates for affordable housing and supports the homeless community of NYC. She has received John Jay Habitat for Humanity Chapter Recognition and Committed Member Award in 2022. Alex is in John Jay’s graduating class of 2023, with a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology. She will one day hold a master’s degree in social work which she hopes to use in research decriminalizing black and brown youth and directly supporting youth who have been imprisoned. Divina Temple Academic Advisor Divina Temple Academic Advisor Divina Temple is the Academic Advisor at the Red Hook Initiative. She has worked in youth development for 13 years and has grown to love it. Her goal in the future is to become a special education teacher for middle school students. She currently has her Associates Degree in Liberal Arts. Divina enjoys working with young teens and plans to become a mentor for young girls in the neighborhood. Boe Terry Academic Advisor Boe Terry Academic Advisor Bonicia *Boe* Terry currently has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. After she graduated in 2016, Boe began working for Good Shepherd Services as a group leader, and in 2017 Boe joined the RHI Fellowship Program. Boe worked alongside Megan Ryan as the Young Adult Counselor in which she co-facilitated and facilitated work readiness workshops. After the fellowship program, Boe was able to land a full-time job at Urban Dove Team Charter as a Life Coach. Boe has been working at Urban Dove for the past five years, using the models and mission of teamwork, leadership, and communication. Javon Webb Adolescent Youth Worker Javon Webb Adolescent Youth Worker Javon Webb is a youth worker here at Red Hook Initiative and has worked in youth development for over a decade. He is an entrepreneur with his own business and uses his experiences to facilitate a Youth Entrepreneur Program where high schoolers create and launch businesses under Javon’s guidance. Javon also facilitates Social-Emotional-Learning (ESL) activities for middle school students which helps further bonds and the skills of each participant. Javon is CPR and AED certified. Kyah Harris Adolescent Youth Worker Kyah Harris Adolescent Youth Worker Kyah Harris is a Youth Worker who facilitates reproductive and sexual health programs to the youth at Red Hook Initiative. She is a Red Hook native who has participated in multiple aspects of our youth program pipeline. The work that Kyah does teaches youth how to practice and promote safe sex so they can then teach it to their peers. Kyah believes that the work she does builds confidence, encourages responsible decision-making, and creates opportunities for youth voice and leadership through the facilitation of activities and workshops of their interest. Kyah has conducted multiple workshops and events around reproductive and sexual wellness, including RHI’s annual health fair, World aids day, the domestic violence event, and many more. Kyah is CPR first aid /AED certified. Kyah has a high school diploma and is working towards furthering her education in the public health field. Delayjah Pringle Adolescent Youth Worker Delayjah Pringle Adolescent Youth Worker Delayjah Pringle is one of the Youth Adolescent Staff who works with Red Hook Initiative to engage the youth in different afterschool programs which will educate them for the real world, to prepare them for real world situations, and to most importantly have fun. Delayjah believes that the youth is the future to accomplishing their goals on what they want to become and have the support that they need to lead them out of their comfort zone. With the right resources and opportunities that RHI brings, it’ll give the youth a good understanding of what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Delayjah first landed at RHI in 2019 as a career starter. She was currently in high school and was being educated in career starters on how to make resumes, cover letters, and prepare for interviews. She was awarded a certificate of having the most participation in career starters. In 2020 she moved on to tier 2 and became a peer health educator to be educated on sexualities, mental health, and other health topics that teens must learn. Delayjah became a peer health navigator in the summer to educate the youth based on what she learned and run peer health events. She was awarded a certificate for completing a peer health navigators program throughout the summer. In the year 2021, Delayjah moved on into becoming a Photojournalist. She wanted to learn more about photography and the arts of it. She upgraded into being part of digital stewards which she had made websites (Digital Stewards (cargo.site)), podcasts (https://open.spotify.com/show/3UT0uFWb1EIOhMFWYe5rgt?si=34ced67b5a3c4987) , and a tiktok page (https://www.tiktok.com/@digitalstewards?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc) of the work that she and her team had done. She was awarded for the most hard work in her digital stewards team. Delayjah is a highschool graduate, class of 2022. She is a freshman college student in St. Francis college getting her Bachelors and Masters degree in psychology for 5 years for her being in the BA/MA program. Delayjah loves to talk and listen to people, helping them with their problems, and is very interested in mental behaviors. Delayjah is also a self taught cosmetologist, currently a beginner in doing hair, nails, and lashes. She loves to do hair, dance, write, and play basketball. Hannah Serrano Adolescent Youth Worker Hannah Serrano Adolescent Youth Worker Hannah Serrano started as a Peer Health Education youth participant at RHI in 2017. Hannah is a Youth Worker who works with Red Hook Initiative. As a resident of Red Hook, Hannah’s mission is to uplift, encourage and support youth and young adults. Hannah believes that pouring into and being available for the youth is important to help them grow emotionally and mentally. The work that she does with visual and creative arts is a way to work hand and hand with the youth while they are developing their social-emotional learning skills. Hannah is our lead Creative Arts instructor for our adolescent youth and leads our Tier 1 Career Starters group for our 9th and 10th-grade high school students. Hannah graduated from the Professional Performing Arts High School. She now is a student at BMCC where she hopes to graduate and work towards her bachelor’s degree in social work. Quincy Phillips Evening Receptionist Quincy Phillips Evening Receptionist Quincy Phillips serves as the Evening Receptionist, dedicating a decade of commitment to the RHI. As a lifelong resident of Red Hook, their roots run deep within the community. Quincy is a firm believer that extending a helping hand not only opens doors to opportunities but also invites blessings. The joy they find in their job stems from the belief that assisting others paves the way for personal and collective growth. Joining RHI at the age of 14, Quincy has cherished the organization’s role in witnessing their journey. Following studies at Purchase College, they made the heartfelt decision to return and contribute full-time to the RHI. Raffi Paunan Maintenance Raffi Paunan Maintenance Raffi Paunan has served as the Maintenance worker at RHI center for five years. Raffi enjoys helping his colleagues and is always looking for more things to clean, get rid of and build. Amalia Jaimes-Lukes Farm Education Co-Coordinator Amalia Jaimes-Lukes Farm Education Co-Coordinator Amalia is a Brooklyn native passionate about urban farming and agricultural education. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Her agricultural career began while managing a vegetable garden for a day camp in 2015. Since then, she’s farmed alongside Philadelphian youth at Heritage Farm, and worked as a Farm Educator for City Growers. Amalia believes urban farming is essential to urban ecosystems and hopes to make social impacts through the growing and distribution of fresh foods. Joshua Colón Farm Education Co-Coordinator Joshua Colón Farm Education Co-Coordinator Josh (they/she/he) is a queer organizer, activist and nature lover with a passion for food sovereignty and mutual aid work. They hope to use their community gardening experience to create spaces for unity and solidarity, where our youth can imagine new possible worlds built on the strength of community action. Josh joins the Farm team experienced in growing food in urban environments using traditional soil techniques and aquaponics systems as well. Anisha Rathod Columbia Farm Coordinator Anisha Rathod Columbia Farm Coordinator Anisha (she/her) is a farmer and community educator who believes that access to fresh, nutritious, sustainably grown food is a basic human right. At Red Hook Farms, Anisha is responsible for growing fruits and vegetables to supply farm stands and CSAs and supports Youth Farmers in stewarding the Columbia Street Farm. Since 2015, Anisha has been working at the intersection of agriculture and education. Anisha has farmed in Nepal, Japan, China, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, California, and New York in spaces ranging from a 1/8 acre school garden to a 14 acre production farm. Previously, Anisha has facilitated youth programs focused on cooking, farming, and advocacy at schools, farms, and farmers markets. Anisha was born and raised in New Jersey and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies from Brown University. When she’s not farming, you can find Anisha bird watching, embroidering, or practicing yoga. Chane Wright Wolcott Farm Coordinator Chane Wright Wolcott Farm Coordinator Chane (she/her) aka “Cha-Cha” has been a resident of Red Hook for over 15 years. She has worked with Red Hook Farms since 2015, where she supports empowering youth with her knowledge of “Food Justice” and farming. She also helps residents in the Red Hook community with accessing healthy produce and teaching others how to obtain healthier lifestyles. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Psychology from Medgar Evers College and is devoted to the nurturing of urban farming and the benefits it gives to urban communities. Chane believes that working as a Farm Coordinator, she is able to connect with the residents of Red Hook, and help them to have a voice. She also believes that she would become a role model for the generations before and after her by making sure to emphasize the importance of health and making a change. Destiny Mirabal Distribution Farm Assistant Destiny Mirabal Distribution Farm Assistant Destiny is the Distribution Farm Assistant at Red Hook Farms and has been part of the farm for over 4 years. Destiny loves to see the end results and impact urban farming has on her peers, family and neighbors. Destiny believes s a team we provide so much affordable food to those in our community and create a fun and safe environment for people to connect with us and nature. Alex Isidoro Farm Assistant Alex Isidoro Farm Assistant Alex is the Red Hook Farm Assistant and has been part of various RHI programs. Alex grew up in Red Hook, Brooklyn and has a deep interest in nature and anything else that makes me think outside the box. Alex is an urban farmer because he likes being outdoors with nature and all the wildlife in the farm. His work on Red Hook Farms has such a positive impact on the Red Hook community and he hopes people see this positive effect and that it dominoes to other areas. Chris Cardona, President Managing Director of Exploration, Discovery, and Programs, MacArthur Foundation Chris Cardona, President Managing Director of Exploration, Discovery, and Programs, MacArthur Foundation Chris Cardona, RHI Board President, has dedicated his career to making philanthropy more accessible to communities. Currently, he works at the Ford Foundation, programming the Philanthropy portfolio, which seeks to increase uptake of open and inclusive practices among U.S. foundations and to engage more individual and institutional donors with social justice. Before joining Ford in 2015, Chris led philanthropic services for TCC Group, specializing in strategy, capacity building, and evaluation for the social sector. Previously, Chris worked at Hispanics in Philanthropy, where he last served as program director for the Northeast, managing seven grant making sites, and developing and implementing fundraising strategies. Earlier, while pursuing doctoral studies, he co-managed the execution in Santiago, Chile of a multi-country survey project, investigating the impact of changes in the world of work on citizen participation. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Williams College, and a masters and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. An active speaker and writer on philanthropy, he blogs at www.cardonac.net and can be found on Twitter @chriscardona. Chris is married to his college sweetheart, Catherine Sumner, an arts fundraiser, and they live on the Upper West Side, where they try to keep Chris stringed-instrument collection to less than home-engulfing proportions. Michael Lee, Vice President Managing Director, Corporate Development, New York Institute of Finance Michael Lee, Vice President Managing Director, Corporate Development, New York Institute of Finance Michael Lee is Managing Director of Corporate Development at the New York Institute of Finance, a 95+ year old educational institution that trains professionals from over 120 different countries in finance. He is responsible for all the operations in the U.S. office including sales, marketing, customer success, and finances. Most recently Michael was Executive Director of Apex for Youth, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, education and after school programs to underserved Asian youth in New York City. During his seven years, Apex grew from a $400K budget serving 150 students to a $3.2M organization serving over 1,000 students a year. A native New Yorker, Michael previously served as the Director of Development at the Committee of 100, an organization of Chinese American leaders who address issues concerning Asian Americans and U.S.-China Relations. Michael received an M.S. in Fundraising and Philanthropy from New York University and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in East Asian Studies. He serves on the Chinese American Planning Council (CPC) board of directors, teaches martial arts and lion dance at Norman Chin’s Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu School, is a founder of the Chinatown Rotary Toastmasters Club, and is president of the 529 Court Street Condo Board. Michael grew up in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, where he now lives with his family. His sons Connor and Maxwell attend Basis Independent Brooklyn next to the Red Hook Farm. Michael and his wife Grace are members of our Red Hook Farms CSA. Brandon Holley, Vice President Chief Financial Officer, Shoptrue Brandon Holley, Vice President Chief Financial Officer, Shoptrue Brandon Holley is the CFO of Shoptrue, a tech startup in AI ecommerce. Previously she was CEO of Everywear, an e-commerce platform that she started in 2013, which was acquired by Shoptrue. Before that she had a career in publishing as Editor-in-chief of Lucky Magazine, Jane and ELLEgirl and a business lead at Yahoo. She first joined RHI as an after-school program instructor in 2005 and joined the board in 2006. She lives in Red Hook. Ms. Holley graduated from Barnard College. Gregg Bishop, Secretary Executive Director, Social Justice Fund, Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation Gregg Bishop, Secretary Executive Director, Social Justice Fund, Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation Gregg Bishop is the Executive Director of the Social Justice Fund, Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation. Previously Gregg served as the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Gregg was charged with running a dynamic City agency focused on equity of opportunity that leads to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City’s diverse communities. SBS actively connects New Yorkers to good jobs, creates stronger businesses, and builds a thriving economy in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. From 2015-2020, he oversaw the opening of new Workforce1 Career Centers, certified a record number of minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs) to compete for government contracts, helped businesses to open nearly three months faster, and expanded services to women and immigrant entrepreneurs. Born in Grenada and raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Gregg formerly served as Deputy Commissioner of SBS’ Business Development Division from 2012 to 2015. He began his tenure at the agency in 2008, and was responsible for a suite of programs designed to make it easier for businesses to start, operate, and grow, and to recover from emergencies. Prior to his career in government, Gregg served as the Senior Manager of Workforce Development at NPower. Gregg received a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing and Management Communication from Florida State University, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He studied International Management and Marketing in Tokyo, Japan, and is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program, and the Coro Foundation’s Leadership New York. He is an adjunct professor at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs and serves as a board member of Red Hook Initiative. Dr. Millicent Comrie Physician, Maimonides Medical Center Dr. Millicent Comrie Physician, Maimonides Medical Center Millicent A. Comrie, MD, MOH, FACOG is the Director and founder of the Center for Women’s Health, Maimonides Medical Center for Women’s heath in Brooklyn. Dr. Comrie was also Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the State University of New York (SUNY) – Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. Dr. Comrie did her residency at LICH in obstetrics and gynecology, and was the hospital’s Chief of Adolescent Gynecology from 1983 to 1989. She is particularly interested in the management of fibroids and menopause and has established the Fibroid Center, the only facility in Brooklyn offering an integrated gynecological, surgical and/or radiological approach to treatment. Over the past several years, she has increased community outreach and forged alliances with community organizations to improve women’s health. Dr. Comrie holds an MD from SUNY- Downstate and an MPH in maternal and child health population and family planning from Columbia University School of Public Health. She is a fellow of both the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Brooklyn Gynecological Society, and a member of the Organization for International Development and the Caribbean – American Outreach Association. She also served as Director of the Myrtle Ferguson Girls Rescue Center in Kingston, Jamaica. She has done medical missions in Jamaica, West Indies. Dr. Comrie received the Physician Recognition Award from LICH in 1996, and the Masters teacher Award in Obstetrics and Gynecology from SUNY Alumni Association in 2001. Additionally, she was honored by The Victims of Violence, Rape Crisis Intervention program, for her dedicated and compassionate care of survivors in crisis. Dr. Comrie has been selected as one of the top black doctors in New York and New Jersey. She was selected as one of the top 100 by New York Magazine for 3 years in a row. Janice McGuire Nonprofit Consultant Janice McGuire Nonprofit Consultant Janice McGuire was Executive Director of Hudson Guild for 19 years. During her tenure, Janice implemented the organization’s first strategic plan and its first capital campaign. Since her retirement, she has worked on a variety of projects as an independent consultant to the public and non-profit sector providing support in areas including strategic planning, organizational development, staff and Board training, and operational restructuring. She is also an adjunct lecturer at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Prior to her tenure at the Guild, Janice secured the first federal grant to New York City to develop a program co-locating coordinated school and community services. She also worked as a teacher for New York City public schools and at LaGuardia Community College and in management positions in a number of other NYC-based non-profit organizations. Janice has also served on the boards of a variety of civic and non-profit organizations as well as a member of Manhattan’s Community Board #4. She has a BS in chemistry from Mount St. Vincent and an MAT from Harvard University/School of Education. Janice lives in Brooklyn, NY. Thomas L. McMahon President and Founder, TLM Associates Thomas L. McMahon President and Founder, TLM Associates Before founding TLM Associates in 2005, Thomas McMahon worked in senior positions in New York City government for twenty-five years. Most recently, he served as General Counsel to the New York City Council. Prior to that, (1999-2001) Mr. McMahon worked for the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce as their Senior Vice-President with responsibility for the business organization’s government affairs agenda in Washington, Albany and New York City. From 1989 through 1999, he worked at the New York City Council Finance Division, serving as Director of that office from 1994 to 1999. From 1985 to 1989 he worked in the Koch Administration’s Office of Legislative Affairs where he served as First Assistant Legislative Representative. He began his career as a staff person in the New York State Assembly. Maria Mottola Nonprofit Consultant Maria Mottola Nonprofit Consultant Maria Mottola, Secretary, is a Nonprofit Consultant for NYC nonprofits and philanthropies. Maria served as the Executive Director of the New York Foundation from 2003-2021 and served also as a Program Officer there from 1994 to 2002. From 1989 to 1994 she was Executive Director of the City Wide Task Force on Housing Court, a housing advocacy organization that promotes the reform of New York City’s Housing Court. Before that Maria was the Director of Neighborhood Programs for four years while also serving as a community organizer at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House on the Eastside of Manhattan. Maria has been an adjunct instructor at the Hunter College Graduate School of Urban Affairs and Planning since 1996. She chaired the founding advisory board of the New American Leaders Project. Maria was a co-chair of the Neighborhood Funders Group, a national affinity group from 2003 to 2006. In addition to that Maria acted as an executive-on-loan to Gladys Carrión, the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Families from 2010-2011, working closely with the commissioner and her senior staff on a variety of projects. Rebecca Kirszner Katz Founder, New Deal Strategies Rebecca Kirszner Katz Founder, New Deal Strategies For two decades, Rebecca Kirszner Katz has helped candidates, campaigns, causes and personalities shape the narrative and tell their story. Katz has worked in every level of government – from the local to the federal. She has expertise in communications planning and strategy, rapid response, media relations, and message development. Katz is a rare communications specialist who has experience successfully navigating both the daily grind of big city news-cycles and long-form journalism. She has a knack for helping clients mix both the serious and the soft in order to shape public image, develop narratives that drive a positive message, and preempt unflattering stories. Katz has worked in nearly every political setting imaginable, beginning in the House of Representatives, then on presidential campaigns, and later running Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s war room, which helped position Democrats to win back the Senate. In 2019, Katz founded New Deal Strategies, taking a gamble that a consulting firm could survive without taking any corporate clients. It’s paid off – and with clients like Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, Katz has established herself as a go-to communications strategist. Katz has a BA from Clark University and a Master’s in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, where she has also taught graduate courses on congressional politics. Amanda Sue Nichols Attorney and Philanthropist Amanda Sue Nichols Attorney and Philanthropist Amanda Nichols is an attorney and philanthropist who works with nonprofits focused on quality of life, education, and cultural opportunities for families throughout Brooklyn. Born and raised in South Florida, Amanda moved to New York to attend New York University and never looked back. After receiving her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, Amanda and her husband Patrick moved to Brooklyn. They fell in love with the borough and decided to set down roots. Three kids later, Amanda dedicates her time to her family and to serving Brooklyn communities in her roles as the President of the Cobble Hill Association, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and a member of the Brooklyn-focused giving circle Allinbklyn. Nanda Prabhakar Executive Director, Spring Creek Recreational Fund Nanda Prabhakar Executive Director, Spring Creek Recreational Fund Nanda Prabhakar serves as Executive Director of the Spring Creek Recreational Fund. Previously, Nanda was the Senior Vice President of Program Operations at the New York City Mission Society, one of the nation’s oldest social service organizations now in its third century of fighting the war on poverty. Nanda, who worked with the Mission Society since March 2015, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with nearly 20 years of experience providing services to at-risk youth and families and 10 years of experience working specifically with court-involved youth. As Senior Vice President of Program Operations, Nanda oversaw the program operations and day-to-day leadership of NYC Mission Society’s programmatic divisions – Education & Program Development, Contracts & Outcomes, Children’s Programs, and Career & Education Pathways – which support a portfolio of diverse youth-serving programs. Nanda was responsible for the programmatic success of NYC Mission Society, ensuring seamless team management and development, program delivery, quality control, and evaluation. Prior to that position, she served as the Mission Society’s Senior Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Programs. Prior to joining the Mission Society, Nanda acted as the Coordinator of Social Work Services for the Office of the Kings County District Attorney’s, Youth and Congregations in Partnership (YCP) program, an alternative to incarceration program for Brooklyn youth involved in the juvenile and criminal justice system. While with YCP, she designed and facilitated youth development and job readiness workshops, provided individual and group therapy, and created paid and unpaid internship opportunities for youth. A Brooklyn resident, Nanda holds a Masters of Public Administration from Baruch College, a Masters of Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College. George Suttles Executive Director, Commonfund Institute George Suttles Executive Director, Commonfund Institute George Suttles leads Commonfund’s educational, market research, and professional development activities as Executive Director of Commonfund Institute. He also serves as a member of the Commonfund Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office. Prior to joining Commonfund, George was a Program Officer at the John A. Hartford Foundation, an independent, national private foundation focused on improving care for older adults. Before joining the foundation, he was a Vice President, Senior Philanthropic Relationship Manager at U.S. Trust/Bank of America. In this role he worked with private and institutional clients on issues related to best practices in strategic grantmaking. He is a member of numerous nonprofit boards including Laundromat Project and the New York Foundation, where he serves on the investment committee. Currently, he is on the Adjunct Faculty at the New York University (NYU) School of Professional Studies, teaching classes on private and corporate philanthropy. George received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (IUPUI) and an M.P.A. from Baruch CUNY School of Public Affairs. Jennifer Wheary Jennifer Wheary Jennifer Wheary lives in Brooklyn and works with a variety of nonprofits and corporations on issues affecting college access and success. Previously she was a senior fellow at Demos, a think tank, where she conducted public policy research and wrote about education and economic opportunity for national publications. Prior to Demos, Jennifer co-founded several successful startup endeavors in digital media and education. She holds a B.S. from Cornell University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Eden Wurmfeld Film and TV Producer Eden Wurmfeld Film and TV Producer Eden Wurmfeld is a Film & TV Producer who has been making both fiction and documentary films since 1994. She produced the award-winning indie hit Kissing Jessica Stein, acquired by Fox Searchlight bringing it to hit box office success. She went on to produce Puccini For Beginners, which premiered in competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Eden’s first documentary effort, the critically acclaimed ITVS Sunset Story aired nationally on PBS Independent Lens in 2005 and won the jury award at the Tribeca Film Festival as well as the audience award at LAFF. No Impact Man premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. She is currently producing the Netflix Original, Saving Capitalism, featuring Secretary Robert Reich which will launch worldwide in 2017. Her other documentary credits include Left on Purpose (Gunpowder and Steel, 2016), My So-Called Enemy (PBS) and Romeo Romeo (FilmBuff, PBS). Eden and her husband Justin Schein, are both native New Yorkers. They have two elementary aged sons, Micah and Jesse.