Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

New York Foundation’s Newest Staff, Trustees, and Board Leadership

The New York Foundation is excited to welcome six new trustees: Lenore Champagne Beirne, John Blasco, Crilhien Francisco, Eric Horvath, Vanessa Leung, and Trish Tchume!

Our Board also elected the following officers: Robert Cordero (Chair), Rasmia Kirmani (Vice Chair), George Suttles (Treasurer), and Kerry-Ann Edwards (Secretary).

Our newest trustees and officers embody the foundation’s mission and values through their professional and lived experience, and bring a wealth of knowledge in community organizing, impact investing, racial justice, leadership development, social justice philanthropy, and more.

Lenore Champagne Beirne (she/her)
Managing Director, Bright Ventures

Lenore is an investor, executive coach, strategy consultant with over a decade of experience coaching venture-backed founders. As a former community organizer, she integrates best practices in finance, social justice, management, leadership, and personal development to drive positive transformation in people, companies, industries and communities. Her mission is to unite diverse cohorts of leaders to solve business and societal challenges and grow their businesses collectively, and to see themselves and each other differently. In 2014, Lenore founded Bright Ventures as an avenue for innovation. Bright Ventures aims to build a better future alongside companies of all kinds. Their fund invests in and builds the next generation of inclusively-led ventures. Their partnerships with market shaping corporations drive economic inclusion through coaching and training leaders and high-impact stakeholder engagement initiatives. The Bright Ventures community creates collective value by bringing together diverse innovators to learn, design, build and transact.

John Blasco (he/him)
Chief of Staff, NYS Assembly Member Harvey Epstein

John Blasco is a Queer Puerto Rican Activist and Organizer from the Lower East Side living in Brooklyn. John grew up in public housing, while also fighting for better living conditions of the residents who live there. He started his work as a community organizer for FIERCE, a youth-led organization for queer and trans youth of color. John took on the role of the Lead Organizer; organizing campaigns around police accountability, access to public space, and pushing the city to support a 24-hour LGBTQ drop-in center for runaway and homeless youth.

After 7 years of organizing, in 2014 John left FIERCE to work for former Councilwoman Rosie Mendez as her communications director and scheduler. He continued serving district 2 in 2018 under Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, as her Director of Community Organizing and Participatory Budgeting. During that role he led multiple mobile office hours, held community resource fairs, and neighborhood assemblies getting residents involved in neighborhood improvements. John ended his time at the City Council working for Speaker Corey Johnson in the community engagement division as the LGBTQ+ liaison.

John now works for Assembly Member Harvey Epstein as Chief of Staff overseeing the operations and issues in Assembly a district 74. John believes in accessibility for all, regardless of disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or race. His personal values led him to run for the seat of District Leader of the 74th Assembly District, which he held from 2019 until the end of 2021. He is a member of CoDA – a local political organization in the Lower East Side, a founding member of the Loisaida Open Streets Community Coalition helping to maintain the open street on Avenue B, and served previously as a member of Equality New York and Stonewall Democrats. He is also a current member of the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, an LGBTQ Democratic Club for Brooklyn residents. 

Crilhien Francisco (he/him)
Principal Financial Analyst, NYC Council Finance Division

Crilhien is a dynamic and ebullient public servant who has dedicated his career to helping improve the lives of others. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in the South Bronx by a single mother, Crilhien has experienced life changing events such as coming out, homelessness and having an incarcerated parent all before the age of 18. These experiences have provided Crilhien with a foundation and mission to always do the best for those who need it most. As such, Crilhien began his career in the health profession like his mother—graduating from a Bronx vocational high school as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). This led to many experiences in hospitals and health settings such as treating elderly patients at a Bronx nursing home, providing HIV prevention service delivery for Latino men who have sex with men in the Bronx, developing strategies to improve communication between immigrant patients and doctors at Maimonides Hospital, and overseeing administrative duties related to grants made to international health organizations.

For the past 10 years, Crilhien has worked as a budget professional tasked with reviewing and analyzing cost of City legislation and policy, overseeing City agency operations, and providing oversight on the City Council on the $100 billion budget for the City of New York. Prior to working at the City Council, Crilhien was a community organizer for the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health. In this role, Crilhien managed the Fresh Bodega project, where he worked to increase access to fresh produce at Bodegas/Corner Stores. In addition, he convened community meetings to address and discuss progress of community action plans, and assisted evaluation staff in conducting surveys and other data gathering activities. Crilhien has also experience in writing grant proposals and developing strategic planning goals and objectives for wellness and prevention programs. Crilhien has a BA in Latin American Studies and Gender and Sexuality from NYU and holds a Master of Public Administration in Health Policy from NYU Wagner.

Eric Horvath (he/him)
Director of Capital Strategies, Common Future

Eric is primarily driven by a single, fundamental question: how do we transform how power and resources are shared in our economy, while truly centering the brilliance and bravery of those who have been systematically excluded?

As Director of Capital Strategies, Eric leads Common Future’s national work to build equitable impact investments by, for and with BIPOC communities. Before Common Future, Eric worked at Transform Finance, where he launched several educational initiatives for activists, organizers and other social sector allies that explored paths for their communities to better engage with capital. He has also worked in philanthropy, where he supported the Woodcock Foundation’s grantmaking and impact investing efforts. Through his time at the foundation, he helped steward several millions of dollars in grants and program-related investments. He also serves on the finance committee for the North Star Fund.

Outside of work, Eric has been involved in progressive local politics, serving as campaign treasurer for Shahana Hanif’s historic city council victory in 2021 and on NYC Comptroller Brad Lander’s transition committee in 2022; he teaches “Capital for Good: Finance, Investment and Social Justice” at City College to MPA students and has been a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City for 5-plus years. A former Fulbright ETA, Eric earned his MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and is completing an MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU. He calls Brooklyn home.

Vanessa Leung (she/her)
Co-Director, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families

Vanessa Leung joined CACF as Co-Executive Director in April 2017, co-leading the organization’s work in policy advocacy, leadership development, and coalition building. Since their tenure, the co-executive directors increased CACF’s organizational budget nearly 300%, led the advocacy on the passage of NYS’ data disaggregation law, and coordinated collective community advocacy for historic City and State investments in Asian American community-based organizations. In addition, Vanessa is dedicated to improving public education through her career, advocating on behalf of Asian American Pacific Islander students and English Language Learners in New York City public schools. She was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to the Panel for Educational Policy and served 8 years as Chair of the PEP from January 2014 to December 2021. She authored Hidden in Plain View, CACF’s report detailing Asian American students’ needs, and worked alongside other advocates on the creation of Chancellor’s Regulation A-663, mandating comprehensive interpretation and translation services, as well as the Dignity in All Schools Act which reduces bias-based harassment in schools. Vanessa spearheaded CACF’s high school youth leadership project, the Asian American Student Advocacy Project (ASAP) that trains a diverse group of high school students to advocate for the needs of students. She holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Trish Tchume (she/her)
Director of Liberatory Leadership Practice, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation

Trish Adobea Tchume is a first generation Ghanaian-American, a social and racial justice advocate, facilitator, and trainer. She currently serves as the Director of Liberatory Leadership Practice for the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Network Organizer for the Sterling Network, a diverse group of 60 New Yorkers collaborating across sectors to build a more vibrant, racially and economically just New York City. She brings to her role a deep reverence for the transformative power of networks and a breadth of 4experience growing and organizing them from former roles as the executive director of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, the co-organizer for Within Our Lifetime: A Network to End Racism, the director of civic engagement for the Building Movement Project, and her most recent role as the director of leadership development at the Center for Community Change. She holds a Masters in Education, has been published in the Huffington Post, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Nonprofit Quarterly, and has co-authored several reports. Trish is a Brooklynite (by way of Philadelphia), a proud auntie, and a beach stan. She volunteers her time and skills to initiatives that allow her to experience a pro-Black future in the present: the Central Brooklyn Food Coop, the board of Change Elemental, and Ancient Song Doula Services.

We are also happy to welcome two new members to our staff team: Sena Taveras, Operations Associate, and Siri Ketha, Summer Intern in Philanthropy, both of whom share a commitment to supporting grassroots organizing. Meet them here!