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.  

Panel Sessions Overviews & Bios

Main Stage Discussion




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



Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog
Deputy Mayor, Health and Human Services, City of NY
Melanie Hartzog previously served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, where she oversaw the largest municipal budget in the United States, responsible for funding all city programs and services for New Yorkers. Before joining the Office of Management and Budget, Hartzog served as Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund. Previously, she served as Family Services Coordinator for the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and Deputy Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services. She also led a social services unit in the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, and was Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Human Services Council of New York City, Inc.
Hartzog holds a Master of Science degree from the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy and Bachelor of Arts from Eckerd College. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and three children.
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Maria Lizardo, LMSW
Executive Director, NMIC
Maria joined NMIC as the Director of Social Services in 1998 and was promoted to be the Deputy Director of Client Services in 2004. Before joining NMIC, she worked at PROMESA, Inc., a multi-service agency in the Bronx for eight years, during which time she advanced from being a social worker in the substance abuse program to the Director of Community Development with responsibility for implementation and oversight of numerous tenant, youth, open space, and safety programs. In 2014, Maria served initially as the Interim Executive Director and was then promoted to Executive Director of NMIC. NMIC is a settlement house providing services to 14,000 community members a year throughout its four offices.
She is board member of the National Dominican Day Parade, the United Neighborhood Houses (UNH), the Human Services Council (HSC), and the Riverside Park Conservancy. She earned her B.S. from Hunter College of the City of New York and her Master of Social Work degree from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is a product of the Hamilton and Washington Heights communities.
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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 


Christina Greer
Associate Professor of Political Science Fordham University
Christina M. Greer, PhD is an Associate Professor of Political Science and American Studies at Fordham University (Lincoln Center Campus). She was the 2018 Fellow for the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University Silver School of Social Work. Her primary research and teaching interests are racial and ethnic politics, American urban centers, presidential politics, and campaigns and elections. Her additional research interests also include transportation, mayors and public policy in urban centers. Her previous work has compared criminal activity and political responses in Boston and Baltimore as well as Baltimore and St. Louis. Prof. Greer's book Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream (Oxford University Press, 2013 ) investigates the increasingly ethnically diverse black populations in the US from Africa and the Caribbean and was the recipient of the WEB du Bois Best Book Award in 2014 given by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Professor Greer is currently working on a manuscript detailing the political contributions of Barbara Jordan, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Stacey Abrams. She recently co-edited Black Politics in Transition, which explores gentrification, suburbanization, and immigration of Blacks in America.
She is a member of the board of The Tenement Museum in NYC, the Center for Community Change, and serves on the Advisory Board at Tufts University. She is also an ardent supporter of FIERCE in NYC and Project South in Atlanta, GA, and a former board member of BAJI (Black Alliance for Just Immigration), the Riders Alliance of New York, and the Human Services Council. She is a frequent political commentator on several media outlets, primarily MSNBC, WNYC, and NY1, and is often quoted in media outlets such as the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, and the AP. She is the co-host of the New York centered podcast FAQ-NYC and co-host of the Black centered podcast What's In It For Us podcast, is the politics editor at thegrio.com, is the producer and host of The Aftermath and The Contender on Ozy.com as well as their editor-at-large, is a frequent author and narrator for the TedEd educational series, and also writes a weekly column for The Amsterdam News, one of the oldest black newspapers in the U.S. Greer received her B. A. from Tufts University and her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.
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Colvin Grannum
President and CEO, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
Colvin W. Grannum was born and raised in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY. Since 2001, under Mr. Grannum’s leadership as President and Chief Executive Officer, Restoration has been instrumental in the formation of the Bedford Stuyvesant Gateway Business Improvement District and the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant and the partnership between Restoration and The Concord Federal Credit Union (launched by the Concord Baptist Church of Christ); the collaboration was part of the African American Credit Union Initiative, supported by Citi Community Development. In 2019, Mr. Grannum led the selection of famed architect Sir David Adjaye as the master planner for the Bed Stuy’s Restoration Plaza Reimagined project, which seeks to redevelop the Plaza as part of a five-year plan to “redefine Restoration’s role for the 21st century.” Prior to joining Restoration, Mr. Grannum served as the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Bridge Street Development Corporation, a faith-based not-for-profit community development corporation affiliated with Bridge Street African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, NY, one of the oldest African American institutions in NYC.
Before embarking on his career in community development, Mr. Grannum practiced law for over 17 years primarily as an Appellate and Litigation Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Verizon, and the New York City Corporation Counsel. He is Chair of Bedford Stuyvesant Early Childhood Development Center, Inc. and is a member of the boards of directors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carver Federal Savings Bank, NYC Workforce Investment Board, Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Association of Housing and Neighborhood Developers, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and the Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT, and has served on advisory boards at JPMorgan Chase, Fannie Mae, HSBC Bank, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In May 2020 he was appointed as a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Non-Profit and Social Services Sector Advisory Council. Mr. Grannum earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Grannum is licensed to practice law in New York State and the District of Columbia.
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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/CEO, Not On My Watch, Inc. and Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship Church
  • Rev. Derrick HarkinsDirector of Membership and Strategic Partnerships, FPWA 


Rev. Que English
President/CEO, Not On My Watch, Inc. and Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship Church
Heralded as 1 of the top 25 women leaders in Bronx, New York, Rev. Que English passion is to empower, train and educate houses of worship to serve as community bridge-builders and to establish much needed strategic partnerships in their neighborhoods and cities. She was the founder of the Bronx Clergy Roundtable, the largest faith-based coalition boasting approximately 500 members and partners. She is also the co-founder of the New York City Clergy Roundtable who works to address major citywide issues in New York City. As the president of the Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable, she has established several mentoring programs throughout the Bronx.
Her contributions include: • Created the first entrepreneurship program, The Nest, in the Bronx geared solely to empower the previously incarcerated, probationers and court-involved individuals. • Built the largest faith-based coalition in the city. • Launched the first Re-Entry and Youth Crime Prevention Training Program for faith-based leaders. • Launched the first anti-gang, anti-violence basketball tournament specifically geared to build police relations among youth and community while addressing violent issues in high crime neighborhoods. (Created by graduate of the Nest). Together with community leaders and NYPD, helped to reduce gun violence by almost 50%. • Established several mentorship programs for youth ages 12-15 and 16-24 addressing anti-gang, anti-gun and anti-domestic violence issues. Rev. Que English is the Chair of the NYC Faith-Based Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence (a division of Not On My Watch, Inc which she founded) The goal of the coalition is to empower houses of worship to be set up as safe havens for victims and survivors.
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Rev. Derrick Harkins
Director of Membership & Strategic Partnerships
The Rev. Dr. Harkins most recently served as Director of Interfaith Outreach for The Democratic National Committee, where he developed and coordinated all of the party’s engagement with faith communities and faith leaders through the 2020 presidential election cycle. From 2015 to 2020 he served as Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Rev. Harkins was named National Director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, and advised the Obama Administration on a number of faith related issues. From 1997 to 2015 Dr. Harkins was the Senior Minister of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC., where he led the congregation in initiatives ranging from community development, providing health education and access, as well as international relief and development in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Jamaica.
Formerly a Vice President with the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance, Dr. Harkins continues to be engaged with a number of religious and civic organizations. An active voice in the debate for comprehensive immigration reform, he has worked closely with the Immigration Policy Center, and Esperanza for America to expand the combined efforts of the African American and Hispanic communities. He has appeared in a number of media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and NPR, and has written op-eds appearing in The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, and the Sojourners blog God’s Politics. Before beginning his pastorate at Nineteenth Street, he served as the Senior Minister of the New Hope Baptist Church of Dallas Texas. There he also served as President of the Greater Dallas Community of Churches and was a founding board member of The Dallas Leadership Foundation. He has also served on the Boards of Sojourners, Faith in Public Life, and World Relief. His ministerial career began at the Historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York where he was a seminarian intern before becoming Assistant Minister. Dr. Harkins has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities including, Rutgers, Cornell, Iona College, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Harkins was a contributing author for The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama (Judson Press). He is also the Chair of the Board of Odyssey Impact Productions, whose film, Newtown, was the winner of a 2018 Peabody Award. Their production Notes from Dunblane: Lessons from a School Shooting was awarded best documentary short at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. In addition, he is an Executive Producer of the widely acclaimed documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor, and also the upcoming documentary, A Crime on the Bayou. He has earned a B.S. degree in Broadcasting and Film, from Boston University, a Master of Divinity degree in Church History from Union Theological Seminary, NY, and a Doctorate in Homiletics as a Proctor Booth Fellow from United Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he and his wife Juli, a healthcare grants administrator, are the parents of two daughters Lauren and Shannon.
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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 


Kathryn O’Neal-Dunham
CEO, Philanthropy New York
Kathryn O’Neal-Dunham was recently appointed the CEO of Philanthropy New York, a trusted community of nearly 300 philanthropic organizations. PNY develops forward-thinking guidance, programming and advocacy to address the unique challenges of philanthropy and convenes funders to strengthen ties across the sector. Kathryn previously served as the organization’s COO, shepherding PNY’s strategic planning and annual learning and evaluation processes, and developing the organization’s racial equity practices. She has a track record of building and nurturing talented teams and thinking strategically to ensure financial stability and organizational growth. She provided leadership in Philanthropy New York’s successful Fund for 2025 campaign and more recently championed the organization’s process to reimagine its values.
In 2020, O’Neal-Dunham was responsible for strengthening key partnerships across the City and State’s nonprofit associations while navigating the maze of advocacy needs during the COVID crisis. Before joining Philanthropy New York, she held leadership roles at United Way of New York City and the Macquarie Group Foundation. At UWNYC, she led a Task Force of academics, practitioners and community leaders to design the organization’s community investment strategy around income stability. She built Macquarie’s philanthropic strategy and partnerships in the Americas and crafted the process to revise the Foundation’s strategic goals and objectives. Early in her career, Kathryn worked in community based organizations, managing the fundraising and external affairs of Inwood House and the recruitment functions of a New York City-based mentoring program. Kathryn has a B.A. in Clinical Psychology from Tufts University and received her Master’s degree in Public Administration and Health Policy from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Affairs at NYU. She is a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Children’s Village and was previously a Warden of the Church of the Epiphany in New York City.
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Wayne Ho
President & CEO, Chinese American Planning Council
Wayne Ho is the President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), the nation’s largest Asian American social services agency. In 2017, CPC launched Advancing Our CommUNITY, its organization-wide strategy to expand services to address persistent needs and emerging trends and to improve leadership skills among staff and community members. Previously, Wayne served as Chief Strategy and Program Officer for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), an association of 200 community and faith-based member agencies aiming to promote upward mobility of underserved New Yorkers, and was the Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization, from 2004-2013.
He has been recognized by City and State in the inaugural Asian Power 100 in 2020, in the inaugural Nonprofit Power 50 in 2018, and as a 40 Under 40 New York City Rising Star in 2014. Wayne was one of 10 leaders invited to meet with President Obama during the White House’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration in 2011. Wayne serves on numerous boards, including the board of Coro New York Leadership Center and Partnership for After School Education, and is appointed to several New York City and State advisory boards. Wayne received his Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley and his Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
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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. Geoffrey Canada will talk with Jennifer Jones Austin about leading and serving in today’s world.

  • Geoffrey Canada, President of Harlem Children’s Zone
  • Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director, FPWA


Geoffrey Canada
President, Harlem Children’s Zone
Geoffrey Canada is a leading advocate for children and innovator in the field of education. Canada grew up in one of the most devastated communities in the United States, the South Bronx, raised by a single mother. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College, and eventually went on to earn a master’s degree at Harvard University. He vowed to help children who grew up in disadvantaged circumstances to succeed through education. Canada created the Harlem Children’s Zone, a birth-through-college network of programs that today serves more than 13,000 low-income students and families in a 97-block area of Central Harlem in New York City. The unprecedented success of the Harlem Children’s Zone has attracted the attention of the media and leaders around the world. In 2011, Canada was named one of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine and as one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine in 2014. President Barack Obama created the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone model across the country, Canada has been profiled extensively in the media, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Forbes, among others. He was featured in the documentary about the dire state of American education Waiting for Superman, and has received more than 25 honorary degrees including ones from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania.
He has also influenced a new generation of education reformers through his writings, having published essays in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Chronicle of Philanthropy as well as two critically acclaimed books on poverty and violence: Fist Stick Knife Gun and Reaching Up for Manhood. After 30 years with the organization, Canada stepped down in 2014 as Chief Executive Officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone but continues to serve as President. In June 2020, Canada founded The William Julius Wilson Institute (WJW), which will serve as the national platform to help communities impacted by poverty across the country design and implement their own place-based programs —and its first initiative will be to combat the devastation of COVID-19 in the Black community.
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Jennifer Jones Austin
CEO & Executive Director, FPWA
As CEO and Executive Director of FPWA, an anti-poverty, policy and advocacy organization with 150 members and partners, Jennifer Jones Austin has led and secured monumental changes in social policy and law in New York State to strengthen and empower the disenfranchised and marginalized. Prior to joining FPWA, she served as Senior Vice President of United Way of New York City, Family Services Coordinator for Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Commissioner for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, Civil Rights Deputy Bureau Chief for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and Vice President for LearnNow/Edison Schools. Jennifer co-hosts the awarding winning WBLS “Open Line”, weekly guest hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, “Keep’n It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton”, and is a monthly contributor on the “Karen Hunter Show”. She is the author of Consider It Pure Joy, a harrowing account of her battle with a sudden, life threatening illness, and the power of faith and community to transform desperation into joy. Jones Austin has chaired several influential boards and commissions, including the Mayoral Transition for Bill de Blasio, the NYC Procurement Policy Board, and the NYS Supermarket Commission. She currently serves as a Board Member of the National Action Network, the NYC Board of Correction, and the Feerick Center for Social Justice.