Nonprofit New York's Board of Directors
Chair: Ian J. Benjamin, various nonprofits
Secretary: Meridith Maskara, Girl Scouts of Greater New York
Treasurer: Kamesh Moola, Charles Schwab
Vice Chair: Rich Souto, LEAP
Vice Chair: Jo-Ann Yoo, Asian American Federation
Robert Acton, Cause Strategy Partners
Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center of New York
Carol Bullock, Staten Island Pride Center
Lisa Pilar Cowan, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Dance/NYC
Roland Lewis, Consultant
Yesenia Mata, La Colmena
Tuhina De O'Connor, Hunter College
Karen Pearl, God's Love We Deliver
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.
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.
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 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 VP Institution Development, Hunter College. 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.
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 1970s and early 80s, 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 and 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.
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.
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.
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.