January 21 – Power Shift: What Leadership Demands in Challenging Times




As community leaders and service providers pressing on during one of the most tumultuous times in the nation, state and city, we must contend with challenges at every turn. The public health crisis, spiraling economic crisis, reinvigorated racism crisis, and continuing political crisis disproportionately affect low-income individuals and families, and persons of color, thereby compounding the problems nonprofits  already face in helping to meet their needs. As tempting as it may be to simply plow forward, these unprecedented times call for innovative and strategic leadership.  

On Thursday, January 21, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AMFPWA invites you to virtually join us as we critically examine national, state and local affairs through the lens of government, philanthropy, human services and faith organizations, and discuss how this impacts how we can lead and serve in the coming days. 

Geoffrey Canada, the President of Harlem Children’s Zone, will talk with Jennifer Jones Austin, FPWA’s CEO and Executive Director, about leading and serving in today’s world.  

Along with our nearly 170 members agencies and faith partners, other nonprofits, and key stakeholders, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in one of four panels with guest speakers. You can find out more about the panels below.  


Panel Session: What Should Human Services Plan for in 2021?

2020 proved especially challenging for the human services sector.  Many nonprofit service providers were already challenged to meet the needs of their clients and communities due to insufficient and inflexible funding.  Covid-19 only exacerbated the problem, as the need for services and support grew exponentially while many nonprofit staff initially were not treated as essential and struggled to obtain the basic support they needed to care for others.  As we enter 2021, we have a mentally, emotionally and physically drained workforce, inadequately funded contracts, and the ever-looming threat of budget cuts for vital services.  What should we expect in 2021, and what can we do about it?

  • Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, City of New York
  • Maria Lizardo, LMSW Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

Panel Session: Navigating Opportunities and Challenges in Government

In 2021 there will be a new presidential administration will lead at a time when our country is still reeling from an ever-surging health pandemic with severe loss and economic consequences and a racial reckoning; New York State with significant budget challenges, revenue loss and mounting expenses for Covid-19 relief; New York City challenged financially while working to ensure safety, health, education and well-being for all; and the opportunities and challenges of the upcoming mayoral election. We must develop and implement a winning strategy to ensure that the needs of those most challenged and the concerns of those who care for them do not go unaddressed. In this session, the political and governing landscape will be reviewed, and the challenges for human services will be discussed. 

  • Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science Fordham University 
  • Colvin Grannum, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation 

Panel Session: Strengthening Community Through Faith

For faith communities 2020 has presented unprecedented challenges. The suspension of in-person gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic has financially strained numerous NYC congregations. Additionally, pandemic restrictions have, in many instances, limited the ability to provide direct and indirect service delivery and support. Pressing social justice issues, including systemic racism, economic, and health disparities, and housing insecurity, have presented faith communities with the challenge of determining how to effectively engage in response and advocacy to these and other concerns. In addition to external service and support, many congregations are faced with significant internal stresses. We’ll explore what the continued and reconfigured relationships between faith communities and CBOs look like in 2021 and beyond while examining how faith leaders and their communities can expand their capacity to effectively educate, organize and mobilize around relevant issues.

  • Rev. Que English, President and Founder, Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable, Inc. 
  • Rev. Derrick HarkinsDirector of Membership and Strategic Partnerships, FPWA 

Panel Session: Navigating the Philanthropic Landscape in a Post-Covid World

The impacts to the philanthropic landscape have been profound as many were responsive to meet the immediate needs brought about by Covid at the individual, family and systems levels. Many have been delicately balancing the realities of what it means to maintain philanthropic vitality and sustainability with the reality of an unprecedented set of needs over the long haul, requiring philanthropy and the organizations they serve alike to embrace new ways of working — ways that do not match traditional models and, in some instances, can’t be supported by government revenues as well. Couple all of this with the realities of inequity in both the disparate impacts of Covid and the flow of philanthropic dollars and you are left with questions. Where is philanthropy in this moment? What must we be focusing on and how do we move ahead?

  • Kathryn O’Neal-Dunham, Philanthropy New York 
  • Wayne Ho, President & CEO, Chinese American Planning Council 

Registration is required.
Please be advised that by registering for this event, unless we hear from you otherwise, we will include you as part of our regular mailing list. Please also be advised that the event will be recorded by FPWA. By enrolling for this event, you hereby: (1) give consent for FPWA or any third parties to use your photograph or image in its print, online and video publications; (2) release FPWA, its employees and any outside third parties from all liabilities or claims that you might assert in connection with the above-described uses; and (3) waive any right to inspect, approve or receive compensation for any materials or communications, including photographs, videotapes, website images or written materials, incorporating photos/images of you. To revoke this waiver, please email info@fpwa.org.