Nonprofit New York's Board of Directors
Co-Chair: Lisa Pilar Cowan, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
Co-Chair: Jo-Ann Yoo, Asian American Federation
Secretary: Meridith Maskara, Girl Scouts of Greater New York
Treasurer: Kamesh Moola, Charles Schwab
Vice Chair: Rich Souto, LEAP
Robert Acton, Cause Strategy Partners
Gary Bagley, Consultant
Ian Benjamin Interim Executive Director
Jill Bregenzer, The Pinkerton Foundation
Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center of New York
Carol Bullock, Staten Island Pride Center
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, ADC Consulting LLC
Yesenia Mata, La Colmena
Morgan Monaco, Prospect Park Alliance
Tuhina De O'Connor, New Attitude Consulting, LLC
Brooke Richie-Babbage, Bending Arc Consulting
Amarah Sedreddine, Sedreddine & Whoriskey, LLP
Joanne Smith, Girls for Gender Equity
Sarah (BJ) Sung, Pinnacle Social Impact Consultancy, LLC
Mariko Tada, Communications Consultant
Board Member Bios
As of January 30, 2023
Rob Acton is the Founder and CEO of Cause Strategy Partners, a social impact tech-enabled company and consulting firm that powers its signature programs: BoardLead, Concierge Board Placement, and BoardLearn. Cause Strategy Partners has placed, trained, and supported more than 2,000 professionals for board service at 950 nonprofit organizations across the United States, United Kingdom, and beyond. Named a Top Impact CEO in 2022 by Big Path Capital, Rob is on the first list to honor the 100 most impactful leaders sparking positive environmental and social change through the fast-growing private companies they run. Rob has decades of experience founding, leading, and scaling social impact organizations as a business leader, a nonprofit CEO, and a board member. He is a recognized expert on governance and has served on numerous boards, including serving currently as Board Co-Chair of NYC’s Broadway Inspirational Voices and on the Board of Directors of Nonprofit New York. Rob is a member of the Bar of the State of New York.
Gary Bagley has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, most recently as the Executive Director of New York Cares, New York City’s largest organization devoted to driving community impact through volunteer-led programs and the biggest affiliate of Points of Light, the global organization dedicated to volunteer service. Gary is an appointee to the State Commission on National and Community Service and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Urban Fellows, an organization that develops people of color and women to be leaders and change agents in the public and nonprofit sectors, with a strong commitment to social justice and equity. Gary's leadership has been recognized by The New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Award for Overall Management Excellence, and the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. Gary was named a Notable in Nonprofits and Philanthropy by Crain’s New York and one of the CSR Responsible 100 by City & State (an award given to individuals who demonstrate outstanding social responsibility and community leadership).
Ian is currently serving as Interim Executive Director for various nonprofits. Ian recently retired from RSM US LLP where he led the Not-for-Profit, Healthcare, and Employee Benefit Plans practices in the New York office. RSM provides audit, tax, and consulting services. He has more than 40 years' experience advising boards of directors and senior management at nonprofit organizations. He now serves as a consultant to nonprofit boards and management on governance, management, and other matters, and as an interim executive director. Ian is a Past President of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan and a former Board member of Governance Matters and Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Jill Bregenzer is Vice President for Finance and Administration at The Pinkerton Foundation, an independent grantmaking organization that primarily supports community- based programs for children, youth, and families in under-resourced areas in New York City. In addition to overseeing the foundation’s budgeting, audit, tax preparation, office management and investment recordkeeping, Jill is responsible for human resource matters and has taken on program officer duties for a small portfolio of grantee organizations. “Jill was drawn to Pinkerton because of her enthusiasm for the role it plays in supporting the young people of New York City,” said Rick Smith, the foundation’s President & CEO. “Her can-do attitude and Jill-of-all-trades skills help make everything we do possible.” In 2022, Pinkerton made grants to nearly 350 organizations totaling $39 million. Before joining Pinkerton in 2011, Jill served for twelve years at PricewaterhouseCoopers. At PwC, she was a Senior Audit Manager on several major domestic and international accounts, and a Human Resources Manager working on compensation and training matters.
Dr. Rev Chloe Breyer
Dr. Breyer is Executive Director of The Interfaith Center of New York, an organization that for 25 years has worked to overcome prejudice, violence, and misunderstanding by activating the power of the city’s grassroots religious leaders. Interfaith programming includes civics education to grassroots and immigrant faith leaders and religious literacy training for teachers, social workers, and incoming recruits at the NYPD Police Academy. Dr. Breyer’ international peace-building work includes multiple humanitarian trips to Afghanistan as a board member of Afghans4Tomorrow. Her most recent visit was in March 2022 with the American Women’s Delegation for Peace and Education and Unfreeze Afghanistan. She is also part of Luke 10 an ecumenical group of American Christians in dialogue with religious leaders and academics in Iran. An Episcopal priest in the Diocese of New York, Breyer assists at St. Philip’s Church in Harlem. Her doctoral work was in Islamophobia and Christian Peacemaking, and she received her Ph.D. in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in 2017.
Carol (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Pride Center of Staten Island. She joined the Pride Center and the nonprofit world after a dynamic 30-year career with Staples in sales and operations. Carol directly supervises the Pride Center of Staten Island staff and leads fundraising, external relations and communications efforts. Carol loves traveling the world and can be found hiking or riding her quad while relaxing in nature.
Lisa Pilar Cowan
Lisa (she/her) is the Vice President of Programs at the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and in this capacity she helps with strategy, development and oversight of foundation programs and grantmaking. Lisa has been working with community-based organizations for the last 25 years, first as a community health educator and program director at several youth-serving agencies, then as a Senior Consultant at Community Resource Exchange. Lisa was the Co-Founder of College Access: Research and Action, where she continues to act as an advisor. Most recently, Lisa was the Principal Consultant at Hummingbird Consulting from 2013-2016. Lisa sits on the boards of Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and Pathways to Apprenticeship (P2A). She served as the Board President of the Red Hook Initiative from 2005-2013. Lisa is a third-generation New Yorker. She graduated from Wesleyan University and was a Coro Fellow in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes (she/her) is a nonprofit leader and advocate working to advance a more just, equitable, and inclusive arts and cultural ecology by developing measures that arts workers, businesses, and organizations can thrive. Her work is of particular significance to individual arts workers who have been historically under supported, including BIPOC, immigrant disabled, and low-income artists as well as small-budget art making organizations. She brings 15+ years of experience and expertise in strategy, general management, fund development, community organizing, arts education, professional development, and artistic production. Her professional and educational background encompasses business, creative, and civic realms, including a BA from Columbia University School of General Studies in theater directing and an early career as a theater artist, stage manager, and arts educator. She moves with ease and intelligence across sectors, issues, and among diverse stakeholders, from managing internal staff and teams to engaging community and philanthropic partners, artist constituencies, donors, and the general public. She is known for her ability to get results and draws on her deep community relationships to drive accountable collaborations based on trust and data. Through her work on cultural policy, Alejandra has earned appointments to Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ Transition Committee on Parks, Arts & Culture and A Better Contract for New York’s Joint Task Force. As a result of her leadership during COVID-19 pandemic, she was named 2021 Crain New York's Business Notable in Nonprofits & Philanthropy. She sits on the boards of Nonprofit New York and New Yorkers for Culture and Arts, and is a member of the leadership council of Creatives Rebuild New York.
In December of 2022, Alejandra transitioned out of her role of Executive Director at Dance/NYC setting in its place a significant structural shift for the organization aimed at creating a more democratic leadership structure for the organization’s future. As a summation of her work and commitment to the sector, she established ADC Consulting, a boutique arts consultancy firm, in order to equip mission-driven organizations to create long-term cultural impact through fundraising, grant making, advocacy, research and organizational change. After being a proud Queens resident for 17 years, she has set new roots in the pacific northwest in the greater Seattle area of Washington state. She identifies as a white, immigrant, latina woman, who believes healthy communities need a strong arts and culture sector and is committed to anti-racist practices that ensure artists can thrive in the United States.
Meridith is Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. In this role, she leads an enthusiastic and committed 60-person team as they work to realize a clear vision: a New York City in which every girl feels empowered to lead in her community, the workplace, and the world.In her time at the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Meridith oversaw the launch of Troop 6000, a Girl Scout troop specially designed to serve girls living in the New York City shelter system. Since assuming her post as Chief Executive Officer, Meridith has received a New York City Council Citation for the Queens Impact Award and a New York City Council St. Pats for All Community Leadership Award Citation for her work with youth in her community. She was honored by Congressman Crowley with the 2018 Community Impact Award; was included on Brown Brothers Harriman’s ‘18 Women to Watch in 2018’ list; was named a 2018 SPOKEies Award winner, honoring leaders who communicate honestly and effectively on behalf of their organization; and was recognized in 2018 by City & State as one of the Responsible 100 in the category of philanthropy and nonprofits.
Yesenia (she/her) is an immigration and veteran activist. As the daughter of formerly undocumented immigrants, Yesenia has been advocating for immigration reform. She has written on The Hill, Huffington Post, and Univision. She was the former National Latino Outreach Strategist for Bernie Sander’s Presidential Campaign, where she organized the Latino communities in Chicago, Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania, California, and Florida. She also was the Political Director for the Dream Action Coalition, a national organization that advocates for immigration reform. She has been recognized by City & State as top 100 in Labor and top 100 Staten Islander and by New York State Hispanic Coalition as a “40 under 40 Rising Star” and received a prestigious Proclamation from the City of New York for her work in the Latinx community. She was appointed by Mayor DeBlasio to serve as commissioner for the NYC Racial Justice Commission, appointed by Mayor Eric Adams to serve in the immigration transition team, is Executive Director of La Colmena an Immigration/Day Labor Rights Organization, and serves in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Specialist.
Morgan Monaco serves as President of the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that operates the park in partnership with the City, and also the Prospect Park Administrator, a public appointment by NYC Parks.Monaco served as Executive Director of the Red Hook Initiative (RHI), a youth and community development nonprofit impacting the 6,500 residents of the Red Hook Houses, Brooklyn’s largest public housing development. Monaco was instrumental in leading RHI through the pandemic and helped to bring in funding relationships and new staff to help stabilize and grow RHI’s impact. Prior to that, Monaco led a team within the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations where she oversaw various interagency projects and initiatives aimed at improving City service delivery.A born and raised New Yorker, Monaco recognizes the value parks hold for city dwellers and has cherished urban parks since her childhood, which she spent growing up just outside of Central Park. Earlier in her career, Monaco served two tenures at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, first as Director of the MillionTreesNYC Initiative and later as Director of Stewardship for Forestry, Horticulture and Natural Resources. Monaco began her career at StoryCorps, a national oral history project designed to build connections between people and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs.
Kamesh is a Vice President in the Operations Optimization Group at Barclays, where he is responsible for improving the Global Capital Markets operations employing Lean and Six Sigma principles. Before joining Barclays, he held various management positions at the big four consulting firms. He has over twelve years of experience in providing management consulting services to financial services firms across I-Banking Operations, Asset Management, and Wealth Management in the technology strategy and process improvement area. More recently, he has been working in bank digitization and has implemented Process Robotics and Machine Learning solutions at various institutions. Kamesh is a Certified Financial Analyst, a Project Management Professional, and an avid Blockchain enthusiast. Kamesh graduated from the University of Rochester with a Masters in Business Management and holds a Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, India. He is very interested in building cause-driven products and services.
Tuhina De O'Connor
Tuhina O'Connor has held leadership positions at several not-for-profit organizations, including Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Robin Hood Foundation, Hunter College, and the New York Asian Women's Center, where she was Executive Director for eight years. Tuhina serves on the boards of nonprofit New York and Vibrant Emotional Health. She is a founding member of the Asian Women's Giving Circle. She has also served on the New York Women’s Foundation boards, the Lupus Foundation, the Human Services Council of NYC, and the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Tuhina received the NY Governor's Award to End Domestic Violence in 2002 and the Hero Award from the Robin Hood Foundation in 2003 for her work at the NY Asian Women’s Center.
Brooke Richie-Babbage is an organizational design and nonprofit growth strategist and advisor. She is the host of the Nonprofit Mastermind Podcast, and the founder and CEO of Bending Arc, a social impact strategy & content firm that partners with nonprofit leaders and philanthropic institutions to support the launching and scaling of high-impact nonprofits. Brooke has spent the past 23 years working as a lawyer, nonprofit leader, and social entrepreneur. She has founded and led multiple successful organizations and initiatives, including, most recently, the Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP), where she served as Executive Director for 10 years, and the Sterling Network NYC, an initiative of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Prior to founding RAP, Brooke worked as a Skadden Fellow, and then as a staff attorney and policy director, in the areas of public benefits law and child care policy at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Brooke has also worked as a policy advocate at the Children’s Defense Fund- NY, been a professor of poverty law and social policy at Tufts University and Brooklyn Law School, consulted and published papers on welfare policy reform for the Center for Law and Social Policy, and co-produced the City Watch radio show on WBAI. She was a founding member of a nonprofit women’s leadership collective called the Sustainable Sisterhood and has been active in supporting the formation and facilitation of leadership collectives for social justice leaders around the country, in partnership with Foundations such as the Brooklyn Community Foundation and Trinity Philanthropies. .
Amarah Sedreddine is a founding partner of Sedreddine & Whoriskey, LLP, a boutique law practice that advises exclusively nonprofit and mission-driven clients, at all stages of development and operation, across a wide range of tax, regulatory, governance, employment, general corporate and transactional matters. Amarah is an experienced general counsel who provides comprehensive legal and strategic guidance to her clients, combining a deep rigor and knowledge of the law with a uniquely practical and personal approach. Previously, Amarah held roles as outside corporate counsel to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, assistant general counsel at the Vera Institute of Justice, and associate general counsel at The New York Community Trust. She began her legal career in private practice at Morrison & Foerster, LLP. Amarah graduated from Princeton University and NYU School of Law, returning to NYU Law in 2012 to serve as a co-faculty of its Business Law and Transactions Clinic, where she supervised the work of third-year law students providing pro bono legal services to tax-exempt organizations. She is a member of the Government Relations Council of Nonprofit New York and is the incoming Chair of the Government Relations Council of Nonprofit New York.
Joanne is the founding President and CEO, moves Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) closer to its mission through strategic advocacy, development, and leadership cultivation. Ms. Smith is a Haitian-American social worker born in NY. A staunch human rights advocate, Smith co-chaired the nation’s first Young Women’s Initiative, a cross-sector Initiative coordinating government, philanthropic, and community efforts to create the conditions for cis, trans girls of color, and GNC youth to thrive. Smith is a steering committee member of the Black Girl Movement and member of Move to End Violence -a 10-year initiative designed to strengthen the collective capacity to end gender-based violence in the United States. She has co-authored Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Public Schools and on the Streets. Girls for Gender Equity’s work to combat sexual harassment in schools is featured in the 2014 documentary Anita: Speak Truth to Power.
Rich is the Executive Director of LEAP (Learning through an Expanded Arts Program). Rich has nearly 20 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, serving youth and families in NYC’s most underserved communities with education and enrichment programs. Throughout his career, Rich has managed all aspects of nonprofit operations and has held leadership roles during various organizational development stages. Prior to joining LEAP, Rich was the Chief Operating Officer of Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School. Rich was previously Executive Director of New Heights Youth, an organization that offers year-round educational and sports programs to young people in New York City. Rich has been involved with several nonprofit organizations as a volunteer and board member and was an Adjunct Professor at the Milano Graduate School of the New School University.
Sarah (BJ) Sung
Sarah (BJ) founded Pinnacle Social Impact Consultancy, LLC to help companies and nonprofits address challenges in impact philanthropy, community development, and programs benefiting the community for Social Impact change. Additionally, she is the owner of Pinnacle Solution, an ID theft protection and restoration service. She recently worked in the Public Affairs department of Con Edison, Inc. There; she built relationships with nonprofit partners to strengthen support for S.T.E.Mand civic engagement programs. She is the president of the Korean Women’s International Network (KOWIN) New York Chapter, Chair of Emerita, and former chairwoman of the Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC), a leading nonprofit organization helping women and children to lead safe and healthy lives free from domestic violence. She serves on the board of the Nonprofit New York and the Korean American Association of Greater New York, and was formerly a board member of the Korean American Community Foundation.
Mariko’s work has spanned the private, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors. She works with mission-driven organizations to make communications an integral part of their strategy, casting light on important issues and amplifying programs' impact. She was previously Director of Communications & Partnerships at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit professional services firm with a thoughtful, effective philanthropy mission. Prior to that, she managed communications at Acumen, then a pioneer and now a global leader in impact investing. She started her career in financial services, developing philanthropic and educational programs for high-net-worth individuals. (And had a brief stint as an English-language reporter for Japanese television.) Mariko earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Jo-Ann is the executive director of the Asian American Federation (AAF).Established in 1989, AAF is a pan-Asian non-profit organization representing a community service agency network in the Northeast.AAF’s mission is to raise the pan-Asian American community's influence and well-being through research, policy advocacy, public awareness, and organizational development. Jo-Ann currently serves on the boards of Nonprofit New York and the Advocacy Institute. She previously served on New York State AARP’s Diversity Council, the board of National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, YWCA of Queens. She was a founding board member of Korean Americans for Political Advancement.She was also a member of the first cohort of New York City Coro’s New American Leaders Program. She served on the Alumni Advisory Board of Coro New York and an advisory committee of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Jo-Ann is particularly proud of her immigrant heritage and loves to hear others’ immigration stories.