Staff

Staff

Irfan Ahmed, Programs and Policy Manager

Irfan Ahmed, Programs and Policy Manager

Irfan joins the Mayor's Fund as the Programs and Policy Associate after serving as the Financial Literacy Coordinator at the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC), a nonprofit organization that provides culturally competent social services to recently arrived immigrants. Irfan joined AAFSC in 2014 as a Development Assistant, where he composed grant proposals for the Adult Education, Legal, Youth and Anti-Violence programs. He also successfully fundraised and designed the first-ever financial literacy initiative called, the Financial Revitalization through Economic Empowerment project, which provides personal economic planning courses and coaching services for immigrants and survivors of domestic violence. Previously, he worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations that specialize in areas of international education, interfaith relations, and global peace and security. Irfan is a graduate of Manhattan College and currently resides in Manhattan.


Daniele Baierlein, Director of Development

Daniele Baierlein, Director of Development

Daniele serves as the Director of Development at the Mayor's Fund. With over 16 years of fundraising and policy experience in New York, Washington, DC and throughout the country, Daniele builds relationships with some of the nation's most active charitable individuals, corporations and foundations to bring significant dollars to support programmatic work across all 5 boroughs aligned with the administration’s agenda. Her prior experience includes positions with Madison Square Garden Company, the Podesta Group, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She serves on the boards of the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation NY Metro Chapter, which develops a global community of youth volunteers who are dedicated to leadership and service and is the Co-Chair of the Jenkins Hill Society New York Chapter, a women’s donor network built to close the donor gap. Daniele has a bachelor's in environmental conservation and political science from the University of New Hampshire. While working full time, she earned a Juris Doctor at the Catholic University of America School of Law. A native of Long Island, she currently lives in Manhattan.


Sarah Batchu, Advisor and Project Manager

Sarah Batchu, Advisor and Project Manager

Sarah joined the Mayor's Fund in 2016 and currently serves as Advisor and Project Manager. Prior to this role, Sarah worked on the Mayor's Fund Programs team, where she facilitated public-private partnerships for a portfolio of 15 City agencies and mayoral offices. Previously, Sarah has served in a number of political campaigns, including as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Council Member Carlina Rivera, and in research roles at Civic Hall and the Clinton Global Initiative. A passionate advocate for advancing girls and women, Sarah is a Girl Scout Leader for Troop 6000—which serves the thousands of girls living in the New York City shelter system—and she has served on the Grants Advisory Committee of the New York Women's Foundation. Sarah graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College of Columbia University. Originally from Illinois, Sarah now calls the Upper West Side home.


Fred Begley, Director of Finance & Operations

Fred Begley, Director of Finance & Operations

Fred brings over twelve years of experience in non-profit management, with a focus on finance and operations to The Mayor’s Fund. Prior to joining, Fred was the Director of Finance and Administration at the Institute of Play Inc. in New York City; Director of Operations for Animal Haven, a New York City No Kill Animal Shelter. In addition, Fred served as Director of Finance & Administration for The CityKids Foundation and Artists Striving to End Poverty, two internationally-recognized, New York City-based organizations that serve at risk, impoverished and marginalized youth. He received his BA from Purchase College and Master’s in Public Affairs from Baruch College.


YooRae Choi, Development Associate

YooRae Choi, Development Associate

YooRae Choi serves as the Development Associate for the Mayor’s Fund. She was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States at a young age and grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Montclair State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in African American Studies and Studio Art. Prior to joining the Mayor's Fund, she served in both the arts and the non-profit sector by serving in institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Rubin Museum and the Foundation Center.


Chris Kelsaw, Finance Manager

Chris Kelsaw, Finance Manager

Chris joins the Mayor's Fund as Finance Manager, bringing over 15 years' experience in Finance and Operations in the non-profit, public and private sectors. Her prior employment includes serving as the Finance Manager at Women Make Movies for five years, as well as tenures at the International Center of Photography, Standard Insurance and the City of Lake Oswego. Chris is a graduate of Virginia Union University and is originally from Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in Brooklyn since moving to New York in 2005.


Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Chief of Staff

Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Chief of Staff

Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle joined the Mayor’s Fund in 2017 and serves as Chief of Staff. In this role Jorge Luis supports the Executive Director on a range on operational and programmatic priorities. Jorge Luis comes to the Mayor’s Fund with ten years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, institutes of higher education, and public service. Before joining the Mayor’s Fund, Jorge Luis served as the Assistant Director of Talent Development in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Appointments. Before working in public service, Jorge Luis served as the Programs Director for the Public Interest Law Center at NYU School of Law. Jorge Luis has also worked as a conflict resolution associate at the Center For Conflict Resolution in Los Angeles providing bilingual alternative dispute resolution support to low-income communities. He graduated with a BA from Loyola University Chicago and received his MPA from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. Jorge Luis was born and raised in Los Angeles and now lives in Manhattan.


Cesaryna Pena, Special Assistant

Cesaryna Pena, Special Assistant

Cesaryna Pena is the Special Assistant at the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. Prior to joining the Mayor's Fund, Cesaryana was an Administrative Assistant at a small middle-market investment banking firm while completing a full-time course load at Medgar Evers College. Cesaryna graduated with a Bachelor's in Public Administration in May 2015. She has also interned with the Fiscal Operations department at the Mayor's Office as well as with the public relations department at Bloomberg LP. Cesaryna was born in New York City and lives in upper Manhattan with her parents and three younger brothers.


Leah Prestamo, Senior Programs and Policy Manager

Leah Prestamo, Senior Programs and Policy Manager

Leah Prestamo joins the Mayor’s Fund as the Senior Programs and Policy Manager. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Fund, Leah worked as in-house legal counsel for the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), a national nonprofit. At NACA, Leah focused on regulatory compliance, contracts, and litigation for the organization’s loan brokerage and housing counseling programs. Leah has worked for a wide range of local, national, and international nonprofits in New York, Boston, India, and Hong Kong, focusing primarily on food policy and access to legal and social services. She received a BA in philosophy from Adelphi University in 2008, a JD from Boston University in 2012, and a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in Hong Kong in 2008-2009. Leah currently lives in upper Manhattan.


Tatjana Richardson, Development Manager

Tatjana Richardson, Development Manager

Tatjana joined the Mayor's Fund in 2018 and serves as Development Manager. She is responsible for designing processes and implementing systems for ensuring best practices in engaging New York City's corporate, foundation and philanthropic community for their support of the Mayor's Fund programs. Prior to her work for the Mayor's Fund, she worked as a strategy, advancement, and development consultant for various non-profit organizations, private companies, and social enterprises. Her work for her clients focused on strategies and tactics to increase social impact through movement building, especially regarding the advancement of women and girls. She was previously a development associate at Children's Health Fund and God's Love We Deliver, where she helped to increase giving with enhanced event strategies and cause marketing campaigns. When not at work, Tatjana spends time at home in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and volunteers her time at Sanctuary for Families. Tatjana has an MPA from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a BA in Spanish and Theatre from Illinois State University.


Toya Williford, Executive Director

Toya Williford, Director of Programs and Policy

Toya Williford serves as the Executive Director of The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. In directing the Mayor's Fund, Toya oversees the overall management of the Mayor’s Fund and leads the effort to foster public-private partnerships between City agencies, the private sector and the philanthropic community. Before serving as Executive Director, Toya oversaw the Programs and Policy team at the Mayor's Fund for four years, and brings more than 20 years of experience in philanthropic services, program and organizational development, and community organizing. Prior to joining the Mayor's Fund, Toya served as the Program Director at the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first and only foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn's charitable community. Committed to the advancement of her community, Toya takes special interest in programs and policies related to education and youth development, environmental sustainability, economic development, health and human services, and workforce development. Toya is a member of the Brooklyn Workforce Innovations Board of Directors and the New York City Youth Funders Network Steering Committee. She is a certified vinyasa yoga and prenatal yoga instructor. She received a Master's degree in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor's degree in Rural Sociology from Cornell University. She currently lives in Bedford Stuyvesant with her husband and four children.