The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City Announces New Priority Areas and Board of Advisors

June 30, 2014

Fund to strengthen communities and support our children by focusing on
improving neighborhood open spaces, expanding arts education, and increasing youth employment

NEW YORK—The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City today announced its new board of advisors, as well as the priority areas the organization will focus on as it leverages innovative public-private partnerships to enrich the lives of New Yorkers. The priority areas, which include: improving neighborhood open spaces; expanding access to quality arts education; and increasing youth employment, are aimed at strengthening our communities and creating greater opportunity for our children.

“Public-private partnerships have the power to quickly transform the way we tackle some of our most challenging problems, by combining the flexibility of private funding with the scale of government. There is tremendous potential to create new program models as we invest in our neighborhoods,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

Parks and other open spaces form the center of healthy communities where children, adults, and seniors can come together to play, learn, exercise and relax. This five-borough initiative will revitalize and re-imagine open spaces in high-need neighborhoods to ensure every family has access to safe and vibrant outdoor spaces. The model will include elements such as multi-purpose equipment for adults and seniors, year-round programming, Wi-Fi connectivity, and public safety policies grounded in community policing models, all built on a foundation of community partnerships and local park “ownership.”

Access to arts programming is a vital element of a quality education. It is linked with greater academic achievement in a variety of subjects, provides an important emotional and creative outlet, and introduces students to careers in a thriving sector of our City’s economy. Working with a variety of City agencies, the Fund will partner with private sector supporters to ensure children across the city can participate in arts education both in and out of school. 

Early work experience does more than just help young people in the short term; it is linked to lower high school dropout rates, as well as higher rates of future employment and wages. The Fund will work to expand the current model of summer youth workforce development into a robust year-round program. The effort will include participation from businesses, non-profits and city agencies to provide our children with the skills they need to be successful in the workforce, including increased opportunities to explore different careers, deepen their understanding of the connections between academic achievement and career development, and cultivate a network of job contacts.

The Fund will be guided in carrying out these priorities by a new board of advisors, which includes more than 50 committed public servants. The board encompasses a range of backgrounds, interests, and expertise that reflect the diversity of New York City, from artists and activists to business owners and philanthropists. 

“The members of our Board of Advisors represent New Yorkers from all five boroughs, a range of neighborhoods, and from a diverse slate of industries. They share an eagerness to help leverage private resources in support of the administration’s work to build one city, where everyone rises together,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Board of Advisors:

Husam Ahmad, HAKS Construction
Marisol Alcantara, West Harlem District Leader
Jo Andres, Artist, Filmmaker & Choreographer
Gina Argento, Broadway Stages
Barry Berke, Kramer Levin
Anthony Bonomo, Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers
Barbara Bowen, Professional Staff Congress
Jill Bright, Conde Nast
Steve Buscemi, Actor
Derrick Cephas, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Janet Dewart Bell, Communications and Policy Consultant
Cheryl Effron, Founder, Conjunction Fund & Founder, Greater NY
Jay Eisenhofer, Grant & Eisenhofer
Steven Feldman, Bullion International
Hal Fetner, Sidney Fetner Associates
Marian Fontana, Writer, Performer & Founder, 9-11 Families Association
Charlene Gayle, Macon Realty
Aron Govil, Ducon Technologies
Beth Green, Attorney
George Gresham, 1199 SEIU
Jon Halpern, Halpern Real Estate Ventures
Fred Heller, Metro Systems
Louis Hernandez, Former President, NYPD Hispanic Society
Anne Hess, MADRE & Philanthropist
Lorna Brett Howard, Philanthropist
Laura Imperiale, Tully Construction
Amabel Boyce James, Philanthropist
Orin Kramer, Boston Provident
Pam Kwatra, Kripari Marketing
John McAvoy, Con Edison of New York
Mary McCormick, Fund for the City of New York
Cheryl McKissack, McKissack & McKissack
Ron Moelis, L+M Development
Rud Morales, Primary One, Inc.
Mike Muse, Muse Recordings
Charles Myers, Evercore Partners
Cynthia Nixon, Actor
Ronald O. Perelman, MacAndrews and Forbes
Bruce Ratner, Forest City Ratner
Steven Rubenstein, Rubenstein Communications
Bill Rudin, Rudin Management
Bill Samuels, Effective New York
Mary Sansone, Congress of Italian-Americans Organization
Chris Shelton, CWA, District 1
Harendra Singh, Singh Hospitality Group
Daisy Soros, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
Jerry Speyer, Tishman Speyer
Rob Speyer, Tishman Speyer
Mary Alice Stephenson, GLAM4GOOD
Stuart Suna, Silvercup Studios
Ken Sunshine, Sunshine Sachs
Carol Sutton Lewis, Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr. Charitable Foundation
Jon Tisch, Loews
Dan Tishman, Tishman Construction
Estela Vasquez, 1199 SEIU
George Walker, Neuberger Berman
Jeff Wilpon, Sterling Equities
Steven Witkoff, The Witkoff Group

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