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Mayor de Blasio Appoints New Members to Mayor's Fund Board of Advisors

May 18, 2018

New York ­– Today, Mayor de Blasio announced 19 new appointments to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City Board of Advisors. These new members bring with them skills and knowledge from philanthropy, finance, design, technology, hospitality and other industries key to the City’s ongoing growth and success. For over 20 years, the Board of Advisors has provided expertise and critical support for the Fund as it pursues its goal of creating innovative and evidence-based approaches to address the City’s most pressing challenges. Board members act as advocates for the work of the Mayor’s Fund and are committed to making our City more equitable.

“To address the challenges facing our city, we need all New Yorkers pushing for progress together – including those in our robust private sector,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I welcome these new members to the Mayor’s Fund board and thank them for their commitment to making New York City the fairest big city in America.”

"We depend on New York City's civic leaders to partner with government to make our city more vibrant and equitable,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “Today, I'm excited to welcome true New York citizens, some of the best and the brightest, to help us continue the tremendous work of civic engagement promoted by the Mayor's Fund."

“I am pleased to welcome this dynamic group of civic-minded New Yorkers to the Mayor’s Fund.  They and their fellow Board members reflect the diversity of New York City’s public and private sector leadership, along with their collective dedication to creating a better future for all New Yorkers,” said Tishman Speyer President and CEO Rob Speyer, Chair of the Board of Advisors for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

Founded in 1994, the Mayor’s Fund is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which annually works with an average of over 80 City programs, projects and initiatives; over 300 institutional funders; and more than 100 community-based organizations. The Mayor’s Fund and its partners advance a diverse set of initiatives that address needs across the five boroughs, with a particular focus on improving the lives of vulnerable New Yorkers and New Yorkers in need. The Fund has made strategic investments to promote mental health services for all New Yorkers, increase workforce development opportunities for young New Yorkers, and meet the needs of New York City’s diverse immigrant community. Additionally, when critical needs have emerged locally or beyond the city, the Mayor’s Fund has served as the vehicle to capture and direct New Yorkers goodwill and resources. Recently, the Mayor’s Fund has supported relief work in response to the unprecedented natural disasters that hit Puerto Rico, Texas and the Caribbean, including collecting $1.7 million in aid for residents displaced by Hurricane Maria.

“Through public-private partnerships, the Mayor’s Fund has driven progress  over the past four years to build program models that deliver equity and reflect New York values – from helping  immigrant New Yorkers access the tools they need to become citizens, to bringing mental health services  into disadvantaged neighborhoods to putting New Yorkers on a career path . None of this work happens without the thought leadership and expertise of our Board of Advisors. We value their contributions and look forward to building upon this success,” said Mayor’s Fund To Advance New York City Vice Chair Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. 

“For almost 25 years the Mayor’s Fund has benefited from the support, guidance and partnership of New York City business and civic leaders, as we’ve helped develop innovative solutions to our city’s most intractable challenges,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “We are thrilled to welcome this new class of members to our board. Each of these individuals are well versed in the challenges of our city and the promise and opportunity that New York City uniquely holds. I have no doubt they will be valuable partners in our work, and we are immensely grateful for their service and generosity.”

The new members are:

  • Ellen Alemany, Chairwoman and CEO of CIT Group: Ellen Alemany was named as chairwoman and CEO of CIT in 2016 and is leading the company’s evolution as a leading national bank serving the middle market and small business. Formerly, she was head of The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Americas, and held several senior positions during her tenure at Citigroup, including executive vice president for Commercial Business and president and CEO of CitiCapital. She also serves on the boards of Fidelity National Information Services, Inc., The Center for Discovery, Operation Hope and the Partnership for New York City.


  • Jay G. Badame, President, AECOM Tishman and AECOM Hunt: Jay Badame currently serves as chair of the Board of the Regional Alliance for Small Contractors, Co-Chairman of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, vice chairman of the New York Building Foundation and trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission.
  • Charles Bendit, Co-CEO, Taconic Investment Partners: In addition to founding Taconic, Charles Bendit founded CBC properties where he acquired, repositioned, and managed more than one million square feet of office properties in New York City and Washington, D.C. Mr. Bendit has been actively involved in the educational community serving as Regent of the New York State Board of Education, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the George Washington University School of Business. 


  • Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO, Warby Parker: Neil Blumenthal is a co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker which was named the most innovative company in the world by Fast Company in 2015. Prior to launching Warby Parker in 2010, Neil served as director of VisionSpring, a nonprofit social enterprise that trains low-income women to start their own businesses selling affordable eyeglasses to individuals living on less than $4 per day in developing countries. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. He serves on the board of RxArt and on the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council. A native of New York City, Neil received his BA from Tufts University and his MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Richard Born, Co-Owner, BD Hotels: Richard Born co-owns the largest portfolio of independent hotels in New York, spanning 28 properties and 5,000 rooms in Manhattan and Brooklyn. BD properties has been at the forefront of the city’s boutique hospitality scene for the past three decades. Among their properties are the first Pod Hotel, opened in 2007, and the historic and infamous Chelsea Hotel, which they expect to open in 2019.


  • Valentino D. Carlotti, Executive Vice President & Global Head of Business Development, Sotheby’s: Valentino D. Carlotti, has been a partner since 2006 with Goldman Sachs where he began in 1994. He joined Sotheby’s executive management team in October 2017. He currently serves as a trustee on the boards of Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, American Ballet Theatre, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Guild Hall, MLT, and the Boys’ Club of New York.
  • Debra Martin Chase, Founder and owner, Martin Chase Productions: Debra Martin Chase is an American Motion picture and television producer. After receiving her law degree, she practiced law before transitioning to the film industry in the late 80s. Throughout her career she has produced movies such as Courage Under Fire, The Princess Diaries and The Cheetah Girls. She has served on the Board of Directors of the United Friends of Children; the Women at NBCUniversal Advisory Board; and the Advisory Board of Columbia College of Chicago. Currently she sits on the board of the New York City Ballet, Mount Holyoke College and Second Stage Theater.


  • Kenneth Daly, COO for National Grid’s US Electric business: Kenneth Daly leads the delivery of safe, reliable electricity service to 3.3 million customers across New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. For the past seven years, Mr. Daly was the president and COO of the New York business of National Grid. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Saint Francis College, has been an adjunct professor there for 25 years, and has been the director of the St. John’s University Executive-in-Resident Program since 1992. Mr. Daly is also a member of the David Rockefeller ‘Fellows Program,’ the Long Island Energeia Partnership, and serves on the Boards of the, NYC Partnership, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC), and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). 
  • Vijay Dandapani, President & CEO, Hotel Association of New York City: Vijay Dandapani is a hotel industry veteran, recognized in 1998 as one of Crain’s New York Business top 100 minority business leaders in New York City. In 2002, the Asian American Business Development Center, New York selected him as one of 50 outstanding Asian Americans in Business. He is an alumnus of the grad program at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and an Aga Khan Foundation Scholar.


  • Gigi Ganatra Duff, Vice President of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs, Nordstrom Inc.: Gigi Ganatra Duff is a veteran in strategic marketing, brand development, and communications within the fashion, hospitality and real estate industries. Ms. Duff oversees external and internal communications for Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and Trunk Club. Nordstrom supports the communities they serve through Nordstrom Cares which supports local and national organizations that support kids and empower youth.  Ms. Duff is responsible for the strategic development of Nordstrom Cares and will lead community efforts for Nordstrom as they open their first Nordstrom store in New York City.  Previously Ms. Duff led Communications and Cares initiatives for HSNI and was head of Global Brand Communications for Starwood Hotels.  She currently serves on the foundation board for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
  • Jeffrey Gural, Chairman of GFP Real Estate LLC.: Jeffrey Gural, along with his son and nephew, is responsible for acquisitions, management and leasing of the 10 million square feet of real estate under their umbrella of companies. He is also the former chairman of the Board of Directors of the Times Square Alliance, a Trustee of the New School, and a member of the Board of Directors of the UJA-Federation, among others.


  • Jill Iscol, President, IF Hummingbird Foundation: For almost three decades Dr. Jill Iscol has supported and participated in numerous non-profit organizations, including Bank Street College, Prep for Prep, Facing History and Ourselves, Stand for Children and Acumen. She was founding co-chair of City Year New York and continues to provide strategic advice to many non-profit advisory boards, including Teachers College, Columbia University, International Refugee Assistance project and NEST, enabling them to become stable, sustainable and successful, impacting lives around the globe.Currently, she serves on the Council on Foreign Relations Women’s Advisory Council. Dr. Iscol is an appointed member of the New York State Commission on National and Community Service and author of Hearts on Fire: Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action.
  • Charles McCall, CEO, Astoria Energy LLC and Astoria Energy II LLC: Charles McCall oversees two significant energy companies in New York City in his roles as CEO, Partner, and General Manager, having led the development, financing, construction and managing the operations of companies that produce over 13% of the electricity consumed in New York City. Prior to joining Astoria, Mr. McCall held various director-level positions with PSEG Power LLC.


  • Keith Mestrich, President & CEO, Amalgamated Bank: Keith Mestrich is president and chief executive officer of Amalgamated Bank, a values-based financial institution with over $4 billion in commercial assets and a trust and investment management business with over $40 billion in custody and investment assets under management. Under Mr. Mestrich’s leadership, Amalgamated has undertaken a number of initiatives to underscore its mission of social responsibility, including its support of a $15 minimum wage (and its becoming the first bank to raise its minimum wage to $15 for all employees), its acceptance of IDNYC as an alternative form of ID to open a bank account, and the company’s certification as a B Corp, recognizing for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.  Mr. Mestrich currently serves on the Board of The Democracy Alliance, The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and is on the Leadership Council for NY Habitat for Humanity.
  • Henry Muñoz, Chairman and CEO, Muñoz & Company: Henry Muñoz is a nationally respected voice in the discourse about Latino culture and identity upon American Society in the 21st Century, and leads one of the largest and oldest minority-owned design practices in the country. Mr. Muñoz is also founder of The Dream.US, which has raised over $100 Million in scholarships for DREAMers.     


  • JoAnn Murray, Chief Human Resources Officer, Condé Nast: During Ms. Murray’s tenure, she has built strong partnerships with brand leaders to ensure Condé Nast retains its position as an employer of choice and a place for dynamic talent in the competitive world of media. Murray is a passionate advocate for the education and empowerment of young women, and is actively involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and is a volunteer for St. Judes and the American Cancer Society.
  • Deven Parekh, Managing Director, Insight Venture Partners: Mr. Parekh manages investments in vertical and horizontal software and consumer internet companies globally. He serves as Board Chair for Bullhorn, DrillingInfo, Turnitin and Ministry Brands. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Appriss, Campaign Monitor, Fanatics, Diligent, 1stdibs, Vela, Chrono24, LetGo, and Wallapop. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of NY and the Greater NY Partnership. He was nominated by President Obama, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Board. He is a member of the Board of the Tisch New York MS Research Center and the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. In addition, he is chairman emeritus of Publicolor, a New York City based non-profit organization that focuses on inner city schools.


  • Morris Pearl, Chair, Patriotic Millionaires: Morris Pearl serves as chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of hundreds of high-net-worth Americans who are committed to making all Americans, including themselves, better off by building a more prosperous, stable, and inclusive nation. The group focuses on promoting public policy solutions that encourage political equality, guarantee a sustaining wage for working Americans, and ensure that millionaires, billionaires, and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Previously, Mr. Pearl was a managing director at BlackRock, one of the largest investment firms in the world.  His work included the Maiden Lane transactions and assessing governments’ potential losses from bank bailouts in the United States and in Europe.
  • Marilyn Simons, President, Simons Foundation: Founded in 1994, the Simons Foundation is one of the country’s leading private funders of basic scientific research. In addition to co-founding and serving as President of the Simons Foundation, Marilyn brings more than 25 years of experience actively supporting nonprofit organizations in New York. She is vice president of the board of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an outstanding U.S. research facility specializing in molecular biology and genetics, and a board member of the Turkana Basin Institute, a research institution that supports scientific projects in the Turkana Basin, Kenya. She also serves as chair of the Stony Brook University Women’s Leadership Council.  Simons is a member of the board of trustees of the LearningSpring School, a New York City based school for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and the East Harlem Scholars Academy in New York City.


The new members will join the existing members of the board:

Janet Bell
Barry Berke
Barbara Bowen
Steve Buscemi
Mitch Draizin
Harold Fetner
Marian Fontana
Charlene Gayle
George Gresham
Jon Halpern
Louis Hernandez
Amabel James
Carol Lewis
John McAvoy
Charles McCall
Mary McCormick
Cheryl McKissack
Ron Moelis
Mike Muse
Sean Parker
Ron Perelman
Steven Rubenstein
William Rudin
Chris Shelton
Edward Skyler
Jerry Speyer
Robert Speyer
Mary Alice Stephenson
Stuart Suna
Kenneth Sunshine
Jonathan Tisch
Jeff Wilpon
Steven Witkoff

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