David R. Jones
President and CEO, Community Service Society of New York
David R. Jones has spent three decades pushing for affordable housing, good jobs, accessible health care and criminal justice reform at the helm of the Community Service Society of New York.
It’s a position that frequently overlaps with city and state government, making him a key player in both the policy and nonprofit circles.
The son of an assemblyman, Jones cut his teeth in former New York City Mayor Ed Koch's administration before landing at the Community Service Society. Since then, he has served on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, on the transition committees of several mayors, and, as of last year, on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board.
Jones is now spearheading the Fair Fares campaign for half-price MetroCards for low-income commuters.
President and CEO, Accion
Michael Schlein heads Accion, a nonprofit organization expanding microfinance to millions of people all around the world.
But what makes him a key player in New York City is his role as chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corp., a post he was appointed to in 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In both his governmental and nonprofit roles, he is focused on using innovative investment strategies to spur the local economy and create higher-paying jobs. And his wealth of experience – in the public, private and nonprofit sectors – is a major asset for the Economic Development Corporation.
In fact, Schlein helped create the Economic Development Corporation through the merger of several existing agencies while serving as a top aide in former Mayor David Dinkins' administration.
Executive Director, Human Services Council of New York
The Human Services Council of New York allows New York’s nonprofits to speak with one voice in the corridors of power. Allison Sesso has led the organization in campaigns for increased funding in government contracts, streamlining of procurement processing and increased wages for nonprofit employees fulfilling government contracts.
When Federation Employment & Guidance Service, formerly New York City's largest human services provider, collapsed in 2015, Sesso and her team used the tragedy to call for more support for human services agencies and released a report showing 18 percent were technically insolvent and 60 percent were financially distressed with no cash reserves. With funding for most agencies coming from government sources, Sesso and HSC may have plenty of painful federal cuts to help mitigate.
President, The New York Community Trust
The New York Community Trust responds to the crises of the day, from being one of the earliest to pay for AIDS research, to helping launch the September 11th Fund to help victims’ families, first responders and local business. Lorie Slutsky, who this year is marking her 40th year with the trust – and 27th as president – hasn’t veered away from tackling controversial subjects. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, the trust, which funds groups across the metropolitan area, has offered targeted grants to fight for immigrants, combat Islamophobia and protect underserved communities. And with the federal government likely to reduce already diminished funding for community service organizations, Slutsky is poised to lead the grant-making institution as it becomes an even more integral lifeline for nonprofits.
President and CEO, United Way of New York City
Sheena Wright heads the United Way of New York City, the local chapter of one of the most well-known nonprofits in the country. It provides community services to help low-income New Yorkers and strengthens the capacity of local nonprofits. Her organization knows how to build coalitions that can strengthen a community.
Wright is the organization’s first female president and CEO in its more than 75-year history. Her organization partners with corporate entities, such as American Express and Johnson & Johnson, makes grants to community organizations and helps match volunteer board members with local nonprofits through BoardServeNYC. Their program initiatives such as EducateNYC and FeedNYC bring programming and partnerships to high-need neighborhoods to help build self sufficiency and improve elementary students’ literacy rates.