Nonprofit New York's Board of Directors
Ian J. Benjamin; Interim Executive Director, various nonprofits
Stephanie Thomas; Stetwin Consulting
Karen Pearl; God's Love We Deliver
Charlene Laniewski; KPMG LLP
Jo-Ann Yoo; Asian American Foundation
Robert Acton, Cause Strategy Partners
Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center of New York
Carol Bullock, Executive Director, Staten Island Pride Center
Lisa Pilar Cowan, Vice President, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Dance/NYC
Roland Lewis, Consultant
Meridith Maskara, Girl Scouts of Greater New York
Yesenia Mata, Executive Director, La Colmena
Kamesh Moola, Barclays
Tuhina De O'Connor, New Attitude Advisors
Barbara Schatz, Columbia Law School
Joanne Smith, Girls for Gender Equity
Richard Souto, LEAP
Sarah (BJ) Sung, Pinnacle Social Impact Consultancy, LLC
Mariko Tada, Communications Consultant
Board Member Bios
As of June 8, 2022
Rob Acton is Principal and Founder of Cause Strategy Partners, LLC, a purpose-driven Certified B-Corporation and consulting social enterprise with practice areas in board governance, board placement, corporate social responsibility, and leadership development. Prior to founding Cause Strategy Partners, Rob served as Executive Director of Taproot Foundation in NYC and served as interim leader of the foundation’s work in Chicago. Prior to Taproot, Rob led Cabrini Green Legal Aid in Chicago. During his seven-year tenure as Executive Director, CGLA received Chicago’s prestigious Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Nonprofit New York, on theBoard of Directors ofBroadway Inspirational Voices, and the Advisory Board of Cabrini Green Legal Aid. Rob is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. He attended Michigan public schools, Spring Arbor University, and Brooklyn Law School.
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 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.
Dr. Rev Chloe Breyer
Dr. Rev. Chloe Breyer directs The Interfaith Center of New York, a nationally-recognized nonprofit that works with hundreds of grassroots religious leaders from twelve faith traditions to catalyze partnerships with civic officials to resolve social problems plaguing New York City. In addition to program work, ICNY advocates for religious freedom and civil rights. An Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of New York, Breyer also serves as Associate Priest at St. Philip’s Church in Harlem. She is a member of the Episcopal-Muslim Relations Committee. After 9/11, worked with NYC’s Afghan community to rebuild a bombed mosque in Afghanistan--returning many times for health and education-related projects. Breyer is the author of The Close: A Young Woman’s First Year at Seminary (Basic Books 2000) and has chapters in Challenging the Christian Right From the Heart of the Gospel (Beacon Press 2006) and The Gender Imperative: Human Security vs. State Security (Routledge 2010). Her Ph. D. is in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminary, where she wrote her doctoral thesis about Islamaphobia and interfaith work.
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 is the Executive Director of Dance/NYC, an immigrant, activist, artist, producer, and educator. As a teaching artist, Ms. Duque Cifuentes taught children and adults of all ages how to express themselves through theatre and movement practice in over 100 New York City public schools and through community theatre programs. In 2011 she founded Theatre That Transcends, which taught local, underserved communities how to express themselves and address community issues through the art of theatre. As an activist, she plays an integral part in advancing a more equitable arts and cultural ecology by working on measures to increase access, justice, equity, and inclusion within dance for disabled artists, immigrant artists, and artists of color in the five boroughs of New York City. Ms. Duque Cifuentes is a member of the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, Women of Color in the Arts, the Children Museum of Manhattan's Dance Portal Advisory Board, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa's Curatorial Advisory Team at Gibney. She is an advisor for the Latinx Artists Retreat, an annual convening for Latinx cultural producers across all artistic disciplines and fields.
Tuhina De O’Connor
Tuhina is currently the Executive Director of the PAGNY Health & Research Foundation, whose goal is to support population research and excellent healthcare provision to marginalized communities. Ms. O’Connor has held leadership positions at several not-for-profit organizations, including Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Robin Hood Foundation, 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.
Ronda is the retired founding CEO of the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC). She served on the original workgroup that conceptualized, designed, and established PCDC in 1993. PCDC has since gone national, financing over 130 primary care projects valued at over $1 billion and creating the capacity to provide 3.5 million medical visits annually. Ronda served as Vice President for Corporate Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs for the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, the nation's largest municipal hospital system, Associate Analyst at the New York State Financial Control Board, Director of Acute Care for the Health Planning Council of Greater Boston, and Director of the nonprofit Health Policy Advisory Center. She speaks and has written broadly on health care topics. She is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine; Chair of the NY School-Based Health Foundation, Board member of the Community Health Care Network; former Treasurer of the Healthcare Executive Forum; and former co-chair of the Herman Biggs Society.
Charlene is an Audit Partner in KPMG’s Metro New York Public Sector practice. She has been with KPMG for over 30 years and exclusively serves nonprofit organizations. Charlene has extensive experience serving as engagement partner on many significant nonprofit audit engagements. In this capacity, she has assisted clients with implementing new accounting standards, developed and presented training courses in technical and industry topics to clients, and participated in the firm’s quality reviews. Charlene was a recipient of the Tribute to Women in Industry Award by the YWCA. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Charlene received her BS in accounting from the University of Scranton and is a certified CPA in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
Roland is a consultant. A lifetime New Yorker, Roland Lewis has worked in the field of community development since 1984. For nine years, he served as a partner in the law firm of Dellapa, Lewis, and Perseo, whose clients included nonprofit organizations, civic groups, churches, cooperative corporations, and private real estate developers. In 1997 Roland became the executive director of Habitat for Humanity New York City. He led the organization for 10 years, guiding it to become one of the top producers in the region and a nationally emulated model for Habitat for Humanity locations in other urban settings. In early 2007, Roland took the helm of the Waterfront Alliance. Under his leadership, the Waterfront Alliance has organized a powerful constituency for a better waterfront. It has instituted new programs, initiated and helped create a new waterfront plan for the City of New York, and become the leading waterfront policy organization in the New York region, known nationally and internationally. Recognized as a community development, waterfront, and nonprofit expert, Roland has written extensively and spoken widely on these topics.
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.
Carolyn was the Executive Director of BronxWorks for 34 years, from 1979 to 2013. Under her guidance, BronxWorks grew tremendously, expanding services to include children and youth, immigrants, homeless individuals and families, people with HIV/AIDS, working-age adults, as well as senior citizens. She oversaw a merger with the Girls Club of New York, a rebranding and name change, and the acquisition of two buildings. At the time of her retirement, BronxWorks programs were assisting 35,000 people annually. Currently, Carolyn is on the board of the Bronx River Alliance and the Foundation Board of Hostos Community College and Nonprofit New York. She previously served on the United Neighborhood Houses Board and Mid Bronx Senior Citizen Council and served on many advisory committees. Carolyn is the author of South Bronx Battles: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Renewal (U. of California Press, April, 2019). The book describes the reasons for the devastation of the 1970’s and early 80’s, and the role community members played in the Bronx’s rebuilding.
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.
Karen has been President & CEO of God’s Love We Deliver since 2006. During her tenure, the services at God’s Love have more than tripled, with 2.2 million meals cooked and home-delivered each year with the support of 17,000 volunteers annually. She leads its research projects on HIV/AIDS and other illnesses and healthcare cost reduction. She is the Chairperson of the Food Is Medicine Coalition, a national association of nonprofit medically tailored food and nutrition services (FNS) providers seeking to integrate FNS into healthcare for the critically and chronically ill. Under her leadership, God’s Love was the winner of a New York Times Nonprofit Excellence award in 2010 and a winner of the NYS Department of Health Social Determinants of Health Innovation Award in 2018. In 2018, Karen received a City/State Women’s Leadership Award and, in 2019, was named one of Crain’s Notable Women in Health Care. Karen was previously Interim President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.
After three years of private practice with a New York firm, Barbara Schatz became executive director of the Council of New York Law Associates (now the Lawyers Alliance for New York). As the director, she administered pro bono programs for 1,800 lawyers, founded the Community Development Legal Assistance Center, and co-founded the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First) and Court Appointed Special Advocates, a program of advocacy for children in foster care. Barbara represented nonprofits, particularly developers of low-income and special needs housing, in corporate, tax, and real estate matters. Currently teaches the Community Enterprise Clinic and the Community Development Law Externship. Barbara serves as chair of PILnet: The Global Network for Public Interest Law and serves on the boards and executive committee of Human Rights First and Trickle Up.
Emily was a Managing Director for Sales/Marketing and Client Service for Scudder, Stevens & Clark, now owned by Deutsche Bank. She worked with major institutions (endowments, foundations, corporations, public funds) regarding equity, fixed income, and global/international portfolios. During her career, she coordinated the firm's public relations for several years and initiated and ran a large conference for the firm's largest clients. Emily graduated from Smith College (B.A.) and Fordham University (M.B.A.- Finance). In addition to serving on the Nonprofit New York Board, Emily is also a member of the Advisory Board Executive Committee for Fordham University Gabelli School of Business and a member of the Centennial Committee, serves as an Associate Board member of the Museum of Modern Art Drawings and Print Department, and attended NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. Emily has also served on the Board of a publicly held company and the Finance Committees and Audit Committee for nonprofit organizations.
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.
Stephanie Thomas is President of Stetwin Consulting and has over twenty years of professional fundraising experience. Prior to launching Stetwin Consulting, Stephanie served as President of Susan Ulin Associates Ltd., a 28-year old consulting firm specializing in event management for nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining Susan Ulin Associates, Stephanie served as Coordinator, Institutional Giving for the American Red Cross in Greater New York and as Prospect Researcher for the United Negro College Fund's Campaign 2000. She is the Immediate Past President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, New York City board, and current Chair of the group’s Nominating Committee. She also sits on the Committee on Directorship for the international Association of Fundraising Professionals. She reprised her role in 2014 as a member of the Nonprofit Excellence Awards Selection Committee and is a former board member of Women in Development, New York.
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.