StoryCorps Podcast Series

Every day, we encounter community leaders and organizers whose stories deserve to be shared and celebrated. The New York Foundation partnered with StoryCorps to craft an eight-part short-interview series featuring our trustees, grantees, and former grantees in conversations that get to the heart of what matters in their work.

  • Friends and colleagues Annetta Seecharran, and Murad Awawdeh, talk about how they got into advocacy work and how their work has changed with the election of Donald Trump. Annetta is the executive director of the Chhaya Community Development Corporation, and Murad is the director of political engagement at the New York Immigration Coalition.

  • Grace Shim, former executive director of the Minkwon Center for Community Action, a Korean American advocacy organization, and Cathy Dang, executive director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, talk about growing up as children of Asian immigrants, and how their experiences led them to work on community organizing and immigrant rights in New York City. We hear first from Cathy.

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    New York Foundation board member Stephen Heyman tells his friend and fellow board member Mike Pratt about the foundation and its legacy. Mike is the president of the Scherman Foundation. Steve has served on the New York Foundation board since 1979, and is the great-grandnephew of the Heinsheimer brothers who’s original donation endowed the foundation.

  • New York Foundation board member Gabriel Sayegh asks Mujahid Farid about the organization he leads and co-founded, Release Aging People in Prison; his experience being incarcerated for 33 years; and his hope for change in the American criminal justice system. Formerly with the Drug Policy Alliance, Gabriel is the co-founder and co-director of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice.

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    Community organizers Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York, and Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, discuss how their upbringings led them to their activism work. We hear first from Onleilove.

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    Eddie Bautista and Kellie Terry speak about their work in the environmental justice movement and their hope for future generations. Eddie is the executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and Kellie is a program officer for the Sustainable Environments program at the Surdna Foundation.

  • Mark Winston Griffith, executive director of the Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), and Anthonine Pierre, BMC’s lead organizer, talk about what led them to community organizing.

  • Glenn Martin, founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA, talks with Vivian Nixon, executive director of College and Community Fellowship, about the criminal justice system in the United States and the challenges faced by those formally incarcerated.

  • Susanna Blankley, executive director of CASA, talks with Aga Trojniak, coordinator at the Flatbush Development Corporation, about their early experience in community organizing and fighting for tenant rights in New York City.

  • Maria Mottola, New York Foundation executive director, talks about growing up in the same neighborhood as Holly Delany Cole, a New York Foundation trustee, in Long Island, NY, in the midst of racial tensions of the 1960’s.

  • Aracelis Lucero, executive director of Masa, and Chhaya Choumm, executive director of Mekong, talk about how their backgrounds as immigrants influenced them to lead the organizations that serve their communities. We hear first from Chhaya.

  • Walter Barrientos, coordinator of the Long Island office for Make the Road New York talks with Marquis Jenkins, who works with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, in New York City, Mississippi and Arkansas about some of the challenges of organizing outside of New York City. Both are former interns of the New York Foundation’s Summer Internship in Community Organizing program. They spoke to each other in New York City (the NYC reference is needed because they talk about ‘here’). We hear from Walter first.

  • Ruben Austria, executive director of Community Connections for Youth (CCY) talks with Jeannette Bocanegra who became a Parent Organizer for CCY after her youngest son entered the juvenile justice system when he was 14.

  • Luis Garden-Acosta, founder of El Puente, tells Rob Salano, executive director of Churches United for Fair Housing, why he founded El Puente. Both are working in Williamsburg, North Brooklyn.

  • Dr. Willhelmina Perry, founder of LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, talks with Ronald Moore, co-founder and president of LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, about her longtime partner and the impact of her partner’s death. (Part 2)

  • Denice Williams, assistant commissioner of the NYC Department for Youth and Community Development speaks with Keith Hefner, founder of Youth Communications, a long-time New York Foundation grantee. Both Williams and Hefner serve on the New York Foundation’s board. Hefner refers to Maddy Lee, former Executive Director of the New York Foundation. (Part 2)

  • Wayne Ho, chief program and policy director with the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and former executive director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), talks with Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition and former head of the MinKwon Center, about the 13% and Growing Coalition, a campaign advocating for more funding for human services programs for Asian-Americans in New York City. The campaign was supported, in part, by the New York Foundation.

  • Dr. Willhelmina Perry talks with Ronald Moore about why they founded the LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, a New York Foundation grantee. (Part 1)

  • Jill Eisenhard, executive director of the Red Hook Initiative, talks with Damaris Reyes, executive director of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), about their respective organization’s response to Hurricane Sandy. We hear first from Damaris Reyes.

  • Denice Williams, assistant commissioner of the NYC Department for Youth and Community Development speaks with Keith Hefner, founder of Youth Communication, a long-time NY Foundation grantee. Both Williams and Hefner serve on the New York Foundation’s board. We hear first from Hefner explaining the origins of his activism. (Part 1)