FPWA CEO Added to NYC Racial Justice Advisory Board

public speaking for racial justice

For Immediate Release:  

April 21, 2022     

Rachel Noerdlinger,

Emma Brodsky,




 Board to Implement Historic Racial Equity Measures 

New York, NY (April 21, 2022) – Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director, FPWA (Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Inc.) and former chair, New York City Racial Justice Commission, will serve on an advisory board tasked with implementing the historic Racial Justice Charter Amendments, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday.  

Ms. Jones Austin chaired the NYC Racial Justice Commission, the first of its kind in the nation, which was tasked to amend the city’s charter to dismantle structural racism and embed racial justice and equity in all government functions.  

The advisory board alongside the Mayor’s Office and the Office of Equity will be tasked with structuring, designing and developing the city’s new charter amendments – which were overwhelmingly voted into law by New York City residents during the November 2022 general election – that include adding a statement of values to the city’s charter; establishing a racial equity office and commission, as well as racial equity focused plans; and measuring the true cost of living for city residents. 

“Having made history by voting overwhelmingly for racial justice and equity to be a charter-mandated government function and responsibility, New York City now leads the nation in taking formal steps to dismantle structural racism,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, former chair, New York City Racial Justice Commission. “I am honored to work with Mayor Adams and his administration, and the newly formed advisory board on the buildout of the three historic measures that hold the promise of a more equitable and inclusive future for all New Yorkers.” 

One of the landmark amendments the advisory board will work to implement is the first true cost of living measure, a policy priority reported by FPWA in its January report “Caught in the Gaps: How the pitfalls of cash assistance programs perpetuate economic insecurity for New Yorkers.” Jones Austin and the advisory board will advise on its development and best uses across the city. The measure is seen as historic first step in the fight for economic equity as it moves us away from outdated measures that undercount and misrepresent the realities of poverty. 

“New Yorkers made a bold statement when they voted overwhelmingly to put racial justice and equity at the heart of the city government,” said Mayor’s Office of Equity Commissioner Sherman. “I am thrilled to partner with the advisory board to help make these charter amendments a reality and ensure our city is one where everyone has access, opportunity, and can thrive.” 

Board members are below and biographies are online. 

  • Ana Bermúdez, former commissioner, New York City Department of Probation   
  • Grace Bonilla, president & CEO, United Way of New York City   
  • Fred Davie, senior strategic advisor to the president, Union Theological Seminary   
  • Hazel Dukes, president, NAACP New York State Conference   
  • Dr. Torian Easterling, MD, MPH, chief strategic and innovation officer, One Brooklyn Health; former First Deputy Commissioner & Chief Equity Officer, New York City Department of Mental Health & Hygiene    
  • Jacques Jiha, director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget   
  • Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO & executive director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies  
  • Michael McAfee, president & CEO, PolicyLink   
  • Melva Miller, CEO, Association for a Better New York  
  • Michael Nutter, former mayor, City of Philadelphia   
  • Sherif Soliman, director, Mayor’s Office of Policy & Planning  
  • Udai Tambar, CEO, New York Junior Tennis & Learning    
  • Phil Thompson, former New York City Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives  
  • Carl Weisbrod, former chairman, New York City Planning Commission   
  • Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director, Asian American Federation  

About FPWA 

FPWA is an anti-poverty policy and advocacy organization committed to advancing economic opportunity, justice, and upward mobility for New Yorkers with low incomes. Since 1922, FPWA has driven groundbreaking policy reforms to better serve those in need. We work to dismantle the systemic barriers that impede economic security and well-being, and strengthen the capacity of human services agencies and faith organizations so New Yorkers with lower incomes can thrive and live with dignity. Find out more at fpwa.org, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


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FPWA has recently been receiving claims from members of the public emailing and calling our offices that individuals posing as FPWA agents have contacted them claiming that in order for the recipient to claim grant monies from FPWA they must first send the agent personal information, a cell phone number, gift card codes or money.

FPWA does not use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), text messages or direct phone contact to solicit, review, or make awards. FPWA staff will not call or message you requesting money in order to be eligible for an award.

Further, FPWA does not make grants directly to individuals. FPWA works with its member agency partners and other reputable community-based organizations to direct support to families and individuals in our community.

If you or someone you know has been contacted by someone posing to be an “FPWA Agent” or staff person requesting money to release a grant, please do the following:

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