Capacity Building Workshops

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Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, The Bronx

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Capacity-Builder Awards
l Past Awardees

Annual Gala
 l Past Galas

Awards & Recognition

Clients & Sponsors




Valerie Oliver-Durrah

Board of Directors

NTAC Accomplishments
Presentation PDF

The Neighborhood Technical
Assistance Clinic
is a registered 
nonprofit organization



The Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic is pleased to highlight the accomplishments of  committed Community Capacity Builders with annual awards, that are  presented to individuals who support projects on the front lines of neighborhood life, in appreciation for their interest in and commitment to our communities.

2010 Award Recipients




Past Recipient Bio's

Marina Belessis-Casoria Con Edison (2008 Award).  Marina Belessis-Casoria is a member of the Public Affairs team at Con Edison and manages corporate giving and strategic partnerships for both Con Edison and non-profit organizations.  Marina is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, with over 20 years of experience and more than $50 million raised for numerous philanthropic missions. She serves on boards of directors at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow; Dodge YMCA; Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College and the Hope Program Business Advisory Council.

Earl Brown, Dpty BP BronxEarl Brown, Bronx Deputy Borough President, (2009 Award). Earl Brown, whose parents came here from Jamaica, is a New York City native, whose future was molded in New York City Schools.
Mr. Brown’s professional life started as the Director of Constituent Services for former Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein. When Mr. Stein became President of the City Council, Brown served as his Director of Housing. He has also served as Special Assistant for Economic Development under Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden; and most recently, Associate Vice-President for Government and Community Relations with The New York Botanical Garden.
Cesar J. Claro, Richmond County Savings Foundation (2003 Award)  Mr. Claro is Executive Director, Richmond County Savings Foundation, which manages an $80 million endowment and has overseen $8 million in grants over the last four years. Signature projects have created housing and child-care programs on Staten Island.Councilman Leroy Comrie.  Photographer:  KentLeroy Comrie, City Councilman
District 27, (2009 Award).
He grew up in the communities that he now represents in District 27, Southeast Queens and has focused on providing quality education, guidance and support for youth, care and relief for seniors, economic development and affordable housing for all New Yorkers.  His legislative initiatives include: increasing tax and property exemptions for seniors, curtailing “pay-day” loans, safety on construction sites, developing a special database on city contracts, improving electrical and building codes, advocating to contain waste transfer stations and advocating for direct-to-work training programs.

Daphne Foundation (2008 Award).  The Daphne Foundation was formed in 1991 and funds programs that confront the causes and consequences of poverty in the five boroughs of New York City and are known to support the most inventive and humane solutions to social problems coming from the people most affected. In focusing families, youth and children, their mission is to be - most of all – useful. To achieve that goal, the foundation funds in a manner that reinforces and facilitates the work of their grantees and are among the few to recognize the importance of general operating support dollars. Accepted by: Yvonne L. Moore, Executive Director of Daphne Foundation.

Betsey Dubovsky, The Staten Island Foundation (2003 Award) .   Ms. Dubovsky is Executive Director of The Staten Island Foundation which manages more than $10 million in community funding and guided the launch of Initiative for School Success, a partnership with community-based organizations to increase parent support in low-income communities, this year.

Kanyere Eaton, The Sister Fund (2004 Award).
Rev. Eaton is Executive Director of The Sister Fund, a small, private foundation dedicated to the economic, social, political and spiritual empowerment of women and girls.  Since she has joined the Sister Fund, Kanyere has worked to address social injustice issues for Albanians, Africans, Asians, Afghanistan’s and particularly African-American women. 


Seth C. Edwards , JP Morgan Chase (2003 Award).  Vice President in J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s community relations department, Mr. Edwards also serves on the boards of 10 community-based, faith-based and academic organizations.  A frequent personal participant in  many community based endeavors, he is a member or advisor to six organizations in New York City.
Ben Esner, Deputy Director, Independence Community Foundation (2007 Award). As overseer of ICF’s grant making in the areas of community economic and workforce development, education, and early childhood initiatives, Ben Esner has led the Foundation’s participation in the New York City Sectors Initiative, the Child Care and Early Education Fund and the Pre-School Collaboration for Inclusion. 

Lucy Friedman, The After School Corporation (2004 Award).  Ms. Friedman is  President of The After-School Corporation (TASC), a not-for-profit organization established in 1998 to enhance the quality and availability of in-school after-school programs.  Initiated by George Soros' Open Society Institute, TASC supports more than 220 after-school programs, 165 in New York City.  Dr. Friedman was, previously, Executive Director of Victim Services, the largest victim services and advocacy organization in the country.  She has additionally served on several advisory commissions and boards including the National Academy of Sciences.

Marilyn Gelber, Independence Community Foundation (2003 Award).  Ms. Gelber is Executive Director, the Foundation which was established in 1998.  The Foundation’s principal focus is on neighborhood renewal and community development throughout New York City, Nassau and Westchester counties in New York and Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Union counties. Yvonne Graham, DPTY BP, BrooklynYvonne Graham, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President, (2009 Award).  Ms. Graham’s vision was critical to the founding of Brooklyn’s first Center on Health Disparities, charged with reducing cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, infant mortality, asthma, and diabetes among minority communities. She has also spearheaded the Women’s Leadership Initiative, a partnership between academic institutions, government agencies, community-based organizations, and the private sector to increase women’s leadership in government, business, and industry.
Linetta Gilbert, Senior Program Officer, The Ford Foundation (2007 Award).  Linetta is a nationally recognized leader in advancing faith-based community work and rural philanthropy.  She leads the Community Philanthropy, Race and Equity in the American South Initiative, and the US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership. She advises the Ford Foundations investments in the Gulf Coast region of the US.  At the Ford Foundation, she has supported efforts to stimulate African American Giving Circles.Ed Goldberg, MACY's (2008 Award)
Ed Goldberg is Senior Vice President of Government & Consumer Affairs & Diversity Vendor Development at Macy’s. His distinguished corporate career spans four decades, but since 1995, he has also overseen Macy’s Diversity Vendor Development with uncommon vigor and success. Though this would be enough, Ed also serves on the Board of Directors for New York Metropolitan Better Business Bureau, National Chorale Council (Chairman), American Red Cross of Greater New York, among others. Additionally Ed is on the Board of Trustees for: Talladega College, Cool Culture, and the Workforce Investment Board of New York City.

Hope Harley, VerizonHope Harley, Verizon, retired, (2009 Award).  Hope Harley recently retired from Verizon after over 28 years of service. Her final assignment was as Director of External Affairs in New York City where she was responsible for maintaining Verizon’s relationship with key stakeholders and elected official as well as providing support for non-profit organizations and employee volunteer activities.  Ms. Harley has served on numerous boards, including The Harlem School of the Arts, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and the Audubon Partnership for Economic Development. She is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the newly formed Bronx Children’s Museum and for Hearts and Hammers, an organization which renovates the homes of senior citizens and the disabled.

Laureen Henry, Richmond County Savings Foundation (2008 Award).  Laureen Henry is a Senior Program Officer with the Richmond County Savings Foundation on Staten Island, with a long and solid record for nurturing and coordinating partnership projects. This year, Laureen is involved in two signature projects presented by the Richmond County Savings Foundation: the SINY Film Festival ’08 and the public art initiative Lions and Tigers and Bears … SI. With her guidance The Foundation has provided over $35 million in funding to charitable organizations over the past ten funding years in a continuation of Richmond County Savings Bank’s role as a proactive community partner.
Erica Hunt, Twenty-First Century Foundation (2004 Award). Ms. Hunt is Executive Director of The Twenty-First Century Foundation, one of the few endowed, black governed and led grantmaking foundations in the United States.  Ms. Hunt is Vice Chair of the Board of the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers; is Secretary of the Board of the National Center for Black Philanthropy; and is a member of the program advisory committee of Changemakers, a national funder of community-based philanthropy.  

Kevin Mahoney, Verizon (2004 Award)

(Shown top left with Newscaster Shon Gables, and Gloria Garcia, College of Staten Island-SEEK Program)
Director of Verizon Community Development for Staten Island and Brooklyn.  He manages and administers the Verizon Foundation.   Kevin currently represents Verizon as a board member of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Staten Island Children's Museum, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation , Historic Richmond Town, John Noble Collection, NY Urban League-SI Chapter, and the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

Sunita B. Mehta , Soros Foundation, 
(2005 Award).  Now at Soros Reproductive Health & Rights Fellowship, Ms. Mehta was formerly Director of Grants and Programs at The Sister Fund. She is a former board member of SAKHI for South Asian Women and the Center for Anti-Violence Education and has served on the founding advisory board of the Third Wave Foundation.  Ms. Mehta co-founded Women for Afghan Women in April 2001 and edited Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future (Palgrave/St. Martins’ Press, October 2002). Ms. Mehta lives in Brooklyn, NY with her two sons Gautama and Akash, aged 9 and 6. respectively.  She is currently studying towards a Masters in Public Health at Columbia University. 
Kenneth D. Merin, President and CEO,  Charles Hayden Foundation (2007 Award).  The Charles Hayden Foundation promotes the mental, moral and physical development of children and youth ages five to eighteen.  Under Ken Merrin’s leadership the Foundation has taken a comprehensive youth-serving approach in New York City and Boston, in supporting institutions and programs that reach low-income youth most at risk of not reaching their full potential. 

Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (2008 Award).  Jeanne B. Mullgrav was appointed Commissioner in April 2002. Ms. Mullgrav has steered the organization through a tremendous period of growth and capacity building. Under her leadership, DYCD launched the nation’s largest out-of-school time program, enriching 80,000 youth after school, on weekends, during vacations and in the summertime. Commissioner Mulgrav oversees 4,000 human services contracts. She has also worked to implemented Teen ACTION a service learning program that encourages civic engagement among young people living in disadvantaged communities.

Alton Murray, ConEdison (2006 Award)  Mr. Murray is the Community Relations Manager for Con Edison’s Brooklyn Public Affairs department. In his position he serves on the Board of Directors of Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center, Concord Family Services, Brooklyn Community and Housing Services, and New York Congregational Community Services. He volunteers for Big Brother/Big Sister Corporate Mentorship Program, and Everybody Wins reading program he also raises funds for Sickle Cell and Juvenile Diabetes research. 
New York City Administration for Children’s Services (2010)works with community partners to provide neighborhood-based services that ensure children grow up in safe, permanent homes with strong families.  Children’s Services:  protects children; helps families in need; recruits and trains foster parents and caregivers; assures that children in foster care find safe, permanent homes; supports youth development and permanency for teens and adolescents; provides childcare and Head Start programs for approximately 80,000 children throughout the City.New York State Office of Children & Family Services (2010) serves New York's public by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of our children, families and communities and in preventing violence, neglect, abuse and abandonment.   For this task, this State Agency oversees an extensive system of family support, juvenile justice, child care and child welfare services  From oversight of programs for the Blind and Visually Handicapped to the regulation of Child Care, from protecting vulnerable adults to overseeing aspects of juvenile justice, OCFS is a valued and essential presence in our State Government.  This agency operates thirty residential facilities, six community residential homes, 13 Community Multi-Services Offices statewide, responsible for services to the youth and families from day one of OCFS placement. 

Ana L. Oliveira, President & CEO, New York Women’s Foundation (2010).  Ms. Oliveira has worked in the health and human services field for over 20 years, developing programs for vulnerable populations throughout NYC. She served as the first woman and Latina Executive Director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis for over seven years.  Ms Oliveira has also directed innovative community-based programs at Samaritan Village, the Osborne Association, Kings County and at Lincoln Hospitals. She was a member of the New York City HIV Planning Council and was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to the New York City Commission on AIDS in 2004.

Lisa Philp , JPMorgan Private Bank (2005 Award).  Ms. Philp is Vice President and head of the Global Foundations Group at the JPMorgan Private Bank. She oversees the grantmaking of over 40 foundations for which JPMorgan Chase Bank serves as a trustee or for which it has other fiduciary and advisory roles and in 2003 gave oversight to more than $125 million in foundation giving. Prior to joining JPMorgan in 1998, she served as a program officer for youth development and education at The Robin Hood Foundation and as director of communications and government relations at the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers. She currently serves on the boards of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families and The New York Women’s Foundation.
Rose Piere-Louis, DPTY BP Manhattan.  Photo:  Z. JonesRosemonde Pierre-Louis, Manhattan
Deputy Borough President, (2009 Award).
 Rosemonde Pierre-Louis has dedicated her entire career to helping New York City’s most vulnerable. For 17 years she has been an advocate, educator and attorney for women’s rights and survivors of domestic violence.  She sits on the Board of Directors of My Sister’s Place, is a founding member of the African American Task Force on Violence Against Women and is the Chairperson of the Women’s Alliance of Harlem. Ms. Pierre-Louis is the recipient of the Leon Bogues Award from the NYS Association of Black and Latino Legislators and the Women United in Philanthropy Award from the United Way of New York City.
Stuart Post , Independence Community Foundation, (2006 Award).  He is a Program Officer for Arts and Culture at Brooklyn-based  foundation which focuses on community development issues primarily in the neighborhoods of New York City and greater Newark. Prior to joining ICF in 2002, he spent seven years as the Special Events Manager at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and another seven years as the Public Events Coordinator for Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden. A native of Boston and a graduate of Brown University, he serves on Stonewall Community Foundation’s Grants Review Committee, volunteers at the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and is a former board member of Community Health Project.
Yvonne Riley-Tepie, Assistant Vice President – Marketing, TD Bank (2010), began her marketing career at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce then moved to Health Plus, a provider of free and low-cost health insurance and then to her current post as Assistant Vice President at TD Bank where she develops and maintains relationships with community groups.  She is a board member of the Prospect Park YMCA and the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts;  has been named one of the 40 most influential business people of African descent under the age of 40 by The Network Journal.

Ben Rodriguez-Cubenas , Rockefeller Brothers Fund (2004 Award)
on left)

As Program Officer, Rockefeller Brothers Fund.  Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas has over 13 years experience working for major national and international foundations.  He is currently focusing on public education, neighborhood revitalization, and democratic practice, and arts and culture programs.  Prior to joining the RBF in early 1996, Mr. Rodriguez-Cubeñas was program officer at the William Randolph Hearst Foundations.


Kevin Ryan , New York Foundation (2006 Award). As Program Officer, he manages a portfolio of active grants for start up organizations that focus on community organizing and advocacy. Kevin also oversees the Foundation’s Technical Assistance Program that includes workshops, small grants and individual technical assistance requests. Fazana Saleem-Ismail, Robin Hood Foundation (2005 Award) .  Ms. Saleem-Ismail is a Senior Program Officer and until recently served as Director of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Initiative at the Robin Hood Foundation.
Her grantmaking is directed toward agencies fighting hunger in New York City. In 2003, in addition to her grantmaking responsibilities, Fazana recruited, trained and supervised volunteers responsible for filing tax returns at the free tax preparation sites she managed. Ms. Saleem-Ismail also provides technical assistance to grant recipients in the areas of human resources, fundraising, evaluation, strategic planning, and program development.

Debra Smallwood, Public Affairs Manager for Consolidated Edison (2005 Award)

She is currently responsible for Strategic giving for Manhattan based organizations, Corporate Emergency Response and Corporate Volunteers. Ms. Smallwood is a long term member and the first woman of color to have been president of the Junior League of Brooklyn, and later served on the Nominating Committee for the Association of Junior Leagues International. She is a  member of the Girls Inc. and Bedford YMCA Board, Member of Church Women United, and Brookdale Hospital Advisory Board.
Deborah A. Smith, JP Morgan Chase Foundation (2004 Award). (Shown at left with Newscaster Shon Gables), Vice President. During her tenure with the foundation she has been responsible for strengthening a variety of programs and grants in the areas of social and community development. For the past four years Ms. Smith has participated in the NTAC Meet the Grantmakers forums in both Brooklyn and Staten Island where participants have consistently made special note of her insight on the grantmaking process and knowledge of grassroots opportunities that she lends to each forum.
Alvin Starks, Open Society Institute (2004 Award). (Shown at left with Mistress of Ceremonies and Newscaster, Shon Gables) Mr. Start is Associate Director of the Grantmaking and Program Development at the Open Society Institute. He has worked as a program officer with Echoing Green which supported and promoted venture philanthropy in the areas of public interest and human rights. He has worked at an educator and organizer at Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship located in Harlem to create public education on economic justice issues for low-income families, Mr. Starts additionally serves on several non-profit Boards including the North Star Fund and the Community Resource Exchange.
 Patricia Swann, Program Officer, New York Community Trust (2007 Award).  Patricia Swann is a Program Officer at NYCT where her grantmaking responsibilities cover the areas of Community Development, Civic Affairs, and Technical Assistance.  She also serves as a board member of Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, a job training affiliate of the Fifth Avenue Committee.  Prior to The Trust, Pat directed an economic development programs in Red Hook/South Brooklyn and in Manhattan, and served on the staff of the Manhattan Borough President’s Office under Borough President David Dinkins.  She is also recipient of a Revson fellowship at Columbia University.
Marianne Teta, Verizon (2003 Award). Ms. Teta is the past director of Verizon Community Development for Brooklyn and Staten Island. Her roots in both communities are deep, as is her commitment to supporting communities in need on Verizon’s behalf.

Union Square Awards Board of Directors (2009 Award)
Since 1998, the Union Square Awards has distributed 162 awards to social justice organizations located throughout the City’s five boroughs. The Union Square Arts Award launched in 2006 to recognize the leading role of arts in creating educational opportunities, building community
and promoting social change and has recognized 23 arts organizations.  The program also offers recipients additional general operating support and project grants as well as a range of technical assistance to support long-term organizational sustainability.  Since its inception, the Union Square Awards has made approximately $11.3 million in grants to grassroots organizations across the City.

REVEREND JOHN H. VAUGHN,  Program Director for The Twenty-First Century Foundation (2010) based in Harlem, which supports social justice work within the Black community throughout the United States. Rev. Vaughn oversees development, implementation and evaluation of 21CF’s grantmaking and overall program work – with special leadership for Black Men and Boys and the Hurricane Katrina Recovery Fund.  In addition to this work Rev. Vaughn supported grassroots peace and justice organizing in the US and Mexico at the Peace Development Fund; served as the Minister for Education and Social Justice at the Riverside Church in NYC; served as the Director for Community Development at the Community Training and Assistance Center in Boston; was the Executive Director of East Harlem Interfaith in New York City.

R. Guy Vickers,  Vice President of Community Affairs and President of the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation (2006 Award) continues to build upon his broad experience in education and social work to better the lives of children across the country. Responsible for the continued growth of the corporate foundation and the expansion of the company’s involvement in the community, he also is responsible for the company’s $5M commitment to the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.


Angie Wang, Director of Programs, New York Women’s Foundation (2007 Award).  Though she hails from California, New York City has benefited significantly by Angie Wang’s commitment to people in crisis.  She currently oversees New York Women’s Foundation’s cross-cultural grantmaking for women and girls initiatives.  Before joining the NYWF, Angie directed national grant programs at the September 11th Fund to victims and dislocated workers in New York and Washington D.C.  In her free time Angie serves as a board member for both the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families and Peoples Production House.
Pat White, The New York Community Trust, (2004 Award).  As Senior Program Officer, The New York Community Trust, Ms. White manages grantmaking in the area of girls and young women, hunger and homelessness, social services and welfare. Her journey to this calling included SOBRO, Greenleigh Associates and the New York City Council Against Poverty. She also serves on the boards of directors for the Association of Black Foundation Executives, the New York Women’s Foundation, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services.

Phyllis White-Thorne, Manager of Public Information Con Edison (2007 Award).  Phyllis manages Public Information with community and government leaders and not for profit organizations for Con Edison in Brooklyn.  She has also managed strategic partnerships at Con Edison’s Corporate Headquarters, creating strategy for the Company’s support of public education initiatives, as well as Corporate Volunteer Program.  Fittingly, Phyllis has received Con Edison’s Living our Values Award, which is the highest award given to employees, the Harlem Y’s Black Achievers in Industry Award, , and Channel Thirteen/WNET New York’s Community Leadership Award, among others.

Penny Fujiko Willgerodt ,Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (2004 Award) (at right with Newscaster Maurice DuBois)

Vice President and Senior Philanthropic Advisor at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. She came to this position as a Program Officer at the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation where her work spanned human rights, environment and world security grantmaking. A member of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and board member of Women and Philanthropy, the Association of Hispanic Arts and Sustainable South Bronx.   

Toya Williford, Independence Community Foundation (2008 Award).  Toya Williford (third from left) is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, who came to New York to attend Cornell University. As Program Officer at Independence Community Foundation, Toya is responsible for economic development, community revitalization and community-based planning grants. She has devoted her professional and her volunteer life to public service.
When Toya had the idea of establishing the Woman’s Peer Network she partnered with NTAC and Valerie Oliver-Durrah to serve as the facilitator of these meetings for two years – working with a core group of ICF grantees serving women and girls.

Alfonso Wyatt
Vice President of The Fund for the City of New York (2004 Award).  Rev. Wyatt  has trained and mentored three generations of dynamic youth workers and leaders. He serves on the Board of the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, The Correctional and Osborne Associations, and is a Trustee of The 21st Century Foundation. 

Elwanda Young United Way of NYC,(2003 Award).   Vice President of Agency Services at the United Way of NYC, is devoted to supporting member agencies that focus on the self-reliance of their clients through programs that offer a continuum of care.


Antonia Yuille Williams, ConEdison, (2003 Award), Director of Public Affairs, for Brooklyn/Queens Customer Service of ConEdison, shows exceptional dedication to community outreach, corporate community relations and volunteerism. Among her responsibilities in this area is the Renaissance Housing Program.

Last Update:  06/15/2014

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