Board

The Center for NYC Neighborhoods’ Board of Directors represents a diverse range of the City’s government agencies, elected officials, non-profits, foundations, and corporations.

 

Herbert Sturz (Board Chair) 

Mr. Sturz is a Senior Advisor to the Open Society Foundations. He serves as the Board Chair for the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and is the Founding Chairman of The After-School Corporation and the Founding Director of the Vera Institute of Justice.

Mr. Sturz has served as: New York City Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice, Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission, and as a member of the editorial board of the New York Times. He currently serves on the board of Single Stop USA.

Mr. Sturz received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and an M.A. from Columbia University. He has received various honorary degrees and is the recipient of the Rockefeller Public Service Award, the Roscoe Pound Award from National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the August Vollmer Award, American Society of Criminology, and others.

 

Vicki Been (ex officio)

Commissioner Been is responsible for leading the nation’s largest municipal housing agency and is charged with creating and implementing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Five Borough Housing Plan, a bold initiative to create or preserve 200,000 affordable homes and apartments over ten years. Prior to her appointment as HPD Commissioner, Commissioner Been was Director for NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, a nationally renowned academic research center devoted to the public policy aspects of land use, real estate, and housing development. She also served as the Boxer Family Professor of Law at NYU School of Law and Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Commissioner Been’s scholarship at the Furman Center focused on the intersection of land use, urban policy, and affordable housing and addressed such issues as how to build more resilient and inclusive communities, how zoning regulations shape development patterns, and the fairness and effectiveness of foreclosure responses such as mortgage modifications. She has done extensive research on the housing affected by Superstorm Sandy, the nexus between development and environmental justice, land use and housing policy reforms needed to promote racial and economic integration, and on a variety of affordable housing and land use policies, from inclusionary zoning to supportive housing developments.

Co-author of a widely used land use casebook, Land Use Controls, Commissioner Been has served on the boards of the Center and the Municipal Art Society, chairing the program committees of both boards. She also has served on the boards of Pratt Center for Community Economic Development and the Next American City, and was a member of the New York City Council’s Workforce Housing Task Force and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Special Subcommittee on Community Benefit Agreements. Commissioner Been is a 1983 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar. She clerked for Judge Edward Weinfeld of the Southern District of New York and Justice Harry Blackmun of the Supreme Court of the United States. Her husband and she live in Manhattan and have two children.

 

Deborah Boatright

An acknowledged expert in affordable housing and community development, Ms. Boatright specializes in developing partnerships that unite the public and private sector in efforts to improve housing options for low- and moderate-income families and address community needs.

In April 2011, Ms. Boatright was appointed vice president, Northeast Region, for NeighborWorks America, where she oversees operations and develops strategic alliances in eleven states from Maine to Maryland, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. She is responsible for the provision of resources and support to eighty affiliated community development organizations, which together comprise 33% of the national NeighborWorks network.

Ms. Boatright first joined NeighborWorks America in 2006 as the district director for the Northeast District, which then included New York State, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. She was instrumental in forging new partnerships that reached underserved communities throughout the district while assisting its twenty-nine affiliate organizations to sustain capacity and impact during the economic downturn.

Prior to joining NeighborWorks America, Ms. Boatright served as an Assistant Commissioner, Office of Community Development of the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (now NYS Homes and Community Renewal) where she supervised housing and community development activities of regional offices; oversaw community based housing programs statewide as well as the Housing Trust Fund and Tax Credit Programs. Ms. Boatright’s many accomplishments throughout her career include the implementation of New York City’s breakthrough anti-abandonment housing initiative.

Ms. Boatright also currently serves on the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York Affordable Housing Advisory Council. Her recent awards include Community Developer of the Year from The New York Housing Conference (2012) and the Fran Justa Award for Lifetime Achievement from Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City (2013).

Ms. Boatright earned her Master’s Degree in Policy Analysis and Urban Affairs at The New School; and was a Fannie Mae Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.

 

Colvin W. Grannum

Mr. Grannum has served as president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) since March 2001. Restoration, the nation’s first community development corporation, was founded by community leaders and U.S. Senators Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits in 1967.

Mr. Grannum earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on numerous boards, advisory committees, and commissions dedicated to improving the quality of life in Central Brooklyn.

 

Judith Kende

Ms. Kende is vice president and New York market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. With nearly 20 years of experience in community development, nonprofit leadership, and finance, and a deep commitment to creating opportunity for her fellow New Yorkers, she oversees a cross-functional team as they work with community partners, the public sector and private capital sources to build and preserve approximately 3,000 affordable homes per year. Key initiatives focus on
creating and preserving affordable housing; connecting homeless families to safe and stable housing; and ensuring the financial and environmental sustainability of New York’s affordable housing stock, including preparing for impacts of climate change.

Previously, Ms. Kende served as senior vice president, Eastern and Central Region, at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), where she was responsible for a $300 million portfolio of investments, regional strategic planning, budgeting, fundraising, advisory committee and staffing. In addition, Ms. Kende oversaw LIIF’s $265 million New Markets Tax Credit program and advisory board. Ms. Kende successfully led LIIF’s geographic and programmatic expansion, expanding its presence from the New York City metropolitan area to the Eastern and Central regions and its focus from local housing to a holistic regional approach including housing, education, health care and transit-oriented development.

Prior to LIIF, Ms. Kende served as director of Nonprofit Finance in Citibank Community Development. She also spent six years in Citigroup’s Corporate and Investment Bank. Before Citigroup, she managed corporate and foundation relations at Cancer Care.

Ms. Kende graduated from Kenyon College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and received her M.B.A. from the Kellogg
School of Management, Northwestern University.

 

Cathie Mahon

Ms. Mahon is CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (the Federation), an organization dedicated to helping low- and moderate-income people and communities achieve financial independence through credit unions. Previously, Ms. Mahon served as Deputy Commissioner for Financial Empowerment with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. In addition, Ms. Mahon was the Policy and Program Director for the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. Ms. Mahon received a Master’s degree in City Planning from MIT and a Bachelor’s degree from Duke University.

 

Sam Marks 

Mr. Marks is executive director of LISC New York. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a national nonprofit organization that assists community development corporations (CDCs) as well as other private and public community development-oriented entities in their efforts to create and maintain healthy sustainable communities. Mr. Marks oversees LISC New York’s training, technical and management assistance, financing and public policy functions.  Before joining LISC he was Vice President at the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, and director of housing development at WHEDCo. Earlier in his career he founded Breakthrough New York (formerly Summerbridge at The Town School). He also serves on the boards of Center Urban Pedagogy (CUP), the Supportive Housing Network of New York, and Neighborhood Restore.

 

Ronay Menschel

Ms. Menschel is Chairman of Phipps Houses and previously served as its President and CEO. She is also a current trustee of its affiliate, Phipps Neighborhoods. Prior to joining Phipps Houses, Ms. Menschel was Deputy Mayor, and subsequently Executive Administrator, of New York City from 1978 to 1982. She served on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from 1979 to 1990, focusing on consumer issues and the transit system’s station environment, and served as chair of the New York City Advisory Commission for Cultural Affairs from 1984 to 1989. From 1991 to 1992, she headed the New York City Public Schools Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Arts Education. From 1998 to 2004, she served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Ms. Menschel is the Mayoral-appointed Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. She serves on the boards of The Museum of the City of New York, the Public Art Fund, and the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She is a Trustee Emerita of Cornell University, having served on its board for twelve years.

 

Jonathan Mintz

Mr. Mintz is Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund, a national non-profit organization that supports municipal efforts to help low-income families and individuals achieve long-term financial stability. He also founded and co-chaired the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition (CFE Coalition), which brings together pioneering municipal governments from across the country to advance innovative financial empowerment initiatives on the municipal, state, and national level. At the CFE Fund, Mr. Mintz provides resources to local government leaders and their partners across the world looking to expand financial empowerment programs, policies, and research.

From 2006-2013, Mr. Mintz served as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), having been appointed to the role by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. During this time, Mr. Mintz redefined the Department’s regulatory enforcement powers toward a focus on consumer financial stability, re-envisioning consumer rights in fields such as debt collection, process serving, employment, and finance. He also launched the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), which has been replicated by local governments across the nation to systematically advance programs in financial counseling and education, asset building, and safe banking. Having joined the DCA in 2002 as First Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Mintz worked in the Bloomberg Administration for its full twelve years, and was the longest serving Commissioner in the history of the Department.

Building on these experiences in New York City government, Mr. Mintz has pioneered the “Supervitamin Effect,” a growing body of programs, policies, and research that measures the positive impacts of integrating financial empowerment services into mainstream local government antipoverty programs such as workforce development, public housing, domestic violence, prisoner reentry, and more.

Mr. Mintz has also worked as an attorney, professor of law, and Second Grade teacher, with graduate degrees from Cornell School of Law and Bank Street College of Education. He lives in New York City with his husband and their two young daughters.

 

Donovan Richards Jr. (ex officio)

Before his February 2013 election, Council Member Richards spent the last decade fighting for New Yorkers. During his inaugural term,  Council Member Richards worked to rebuild after the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy. In response to the failures of agencies to address the needs of a vulnerable population, he sponsored legislation to track monies designated to rebuilding. Seeing Sandy as an opportunity for the city to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, he sought chairmanship of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee. As Chairman, he introduced legislation to revamp the city’s decades old air code, held a hearing on environmental justice, addressed flooding in Southeast Queens via the integration of green infrastructure and legislated the first Environmental Initiative. Richards also co-chairs the Council’s Progressive Caucus where his dedication to public service extends across the city.

 

Mathew M. Wambua

Mr. Wambua joined The Richman Group of Companies as President of RHR Funding LLC in October of 2013. RHR Funding LLC is part of The Richman Group’s recently-established mortgage lending business, which includes RICHMAC Funding LLC. Mr. Wambua is charged with growing and expanding the firm’s mortgage lending platform both nationally and within the New York market. Presently, The Richman Group comprises one of the largest equity investors in affordable housing and one of the nation’s largest residential property owners and developers.

In March 2011, Mr. Wambua was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the nation’s largest municipal housing agency, with a workforce of more than 2,000 employees and an annual budget of approximately $1.2 billion. HPD served as the primary steward of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, which called for the creation or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing. During his tenure, Mr. Wambua oversaw the financing of approximately 47,000 housing units, representing a $6 billion investment. HPD exceeded annual production targets despite an adverse fiscal climate, in which the annual budget was cut by over $90MM per year. Additionally, Mr. Wambua led a number of special initiatives, including: Refinancing the preservation of the City’s largest multi-family middle-income housing development, Coop City; Financing the construction of Hunter’s Point—the largest new affordable housing development since Coop City; Doubling the production of supportive housing from 500 to 1,000 units per year; Re-crafting and legislatively reauthorizing J-51, the first significant reform of the J-51 program since the 1990’s; and launching HPD’s first MWBE initiative aimed at expanding opportunities for MWBEs to engage as developers and contractors on HPD sponsored/financed projects.

From 2008 through 2011, Mr. Wambua served as Executive Vice President of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the most prolific multifamily bond issuing entity in the nation. HDC ranks as the third largest affordable housing lender nationally, and over the course of the last decade, has issued more than $11 billion in tax-exempt and taxable bonds to finance the New Housing Marketplace Plan, as well as provided more than $1 billion in direct capital subsidies to increase long-term affordability.

From 2004 through 2008, Mr. Wambua was Senior Policy Advisor for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Daniel Doctoroff, where he coordinated and oversaw a citywide portfolio of economic development agencies, boards and commissions, as well as all economic development initiatives within the Bronx and Upper Manhattan.

Previously, Mr. Wambua held positions as the Vice President for Special Projects at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and as a Senior Investment Officer for General Electric Capital Commercial Real Estate.

Over the course of the last decade, Mr. Wambua has served on numerous boards including, Settlement Housing, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFA), NYC HDC, NYC Residential Mortgage Insurance Company, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, the New York City Housing Partnership, the NYC Empowerment Zone Corporation (proxy for Deputy Mayor Doctoroff), NYC Economic Development Corporation (proxy for Deputy Mayor Doctoroff), and the NYC Industrial Development Corporation (proxy for Deputy Mayor Doctoroff).

Mr. Wambua earned a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has taught real estate finance at NYU’s Graduate School of Public Service and managerial economics at the New School’s Graduate School of Public Policy.

 

Joe Weisbord

Mr. Weisbord is the Director of Credit and Housing Access at Fannie Mae. He is responsible for developing corporate-wide, strategic business initiatives to increase access to mortgage credit and affordable housing. He works with senior management, customers, regulators and a wide range of industry stakeholders to understand emerging market needs and develop responses aligned with Fannie Mae’s historic mission, regulatory mandates and business objectives. Previously he led efforts to prevent foreclosures and reduce credit losses through partnerships with lenders, housing and credit counseling organizations, and government in distressed markets across the country. He joined Fannie Mae in 2005 to lead the company’s homelessness initiative, which invested in creation of over 7,800 units of supportive and affordable housing for homeless and at-risk individuals and families. Mr. Weisbord has over 30 years of experience in affordable housing finance, development and policy. He began his career in the construction industry. He also serves on the board of the New York Mortgage Coalition.