Our People

Our Staff

Our Founder

Our Board of Directors

 

Staff
Rich Leimsider, Executive Director
Desireé Hernández, Deputy Executive Director
Gui Stampur, Deputy Executive Director
Alexandra Rizio, Senior Staff Attorney, Training
Mich Gonzalez, Senior Attorney
Rex Chen, Supervising Attorney
Samantha Norris, Supervising Social Worker
Stephanie Gibbs, Supervising Attorney
Cynthia Caballero, Staff Attorney
Tania Cohen, Staff Attorney
Alex Holtzman, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
James Steijger-Puretz, Senior Operations Associate
Jazmin Chavez, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
Jennifer Katzman, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
Lauren Blodgett, Equal Justice Works Fellow
Tim Greenberg, Staff Attorney
York Campos, Social Worker
Cristina Trinidad, Paralegal
Elizabeth Rivera, Paralegal
Kathryn Chmielewski, Program Assistant
Loretta Lopez, Case Manager
Marilyn Alvarado, Paralegal

Founder
Lenni Benson, Founder & Special Advisor Policy and Research

Board of Directors
Pam Foster, President
Careen Shannon, Vice President
Federico Reyes, Treasurer
Sam Coppersmith, Secretary
Andrew Amer, Director
Joseph Bavuso, Director
Lenni Benson, Director
Brenda Cooke, Director
Caroline Kronley, Director
Raymond Lin, Director
Rich Leimsider, Executive Director
Antonio Miranda, Director
Sam Newbold, Director

 

Our Staff

Rich Leimsider, Executive Director
rleimsider@safepassageproject.org

Rich Leimsider is the Executive Director of Safe Passage Project.  Safe Passage Project is a nonprofit organization that provides free lawyers to poor immigrant children in the NYC-area.  These children face deportation to often life-threatening situations, despite having a strong legal claim to stay in the United States.  Safe Passage Project currently supports 700+ children each year with 22 full-time staff and the help of 400+ pro bono attorneys.  Safe Passage Project is hosted at New York Law School, and supported by the City of New York, the Robin Hood Foundation, AmeriCorps, and many generous private donors.

Previously, Rich was an independent consultant, advising on issues of strategy, fundraising, board engagement, and program design to organizations ranging from NYC-based human service agencies to startup global social enterprises to philanthropic foundations.

As the Vice President of Fellowship Programs at Echoing Green from 2010 to 2015 he grew a team of two to a team of 10, raised $15 million in new funding, and designed, launched and managed new programs on Climate Change and Black Male Achievement. Earlier, at The Aspen Institute, Rich was the Founding Director of the Center for Business Education.  His path was shaped by early experiences as a social worker in Texas serving high-school dropouts and men on probation and parole, and as a New York City Urban Fellow where his responsibilities included oiling a drainpipe at a homeless shelter so that drug dealers could not climb up.  

Rich currently serves as a board member of the West African agricultural finance organization myAgro, and as an advisory board member of AshokaU and Arbor Brothers.  Rich was a co-author of two editions of The Sustainable MBA, the first-ever MBA guidebook from a socially responsible perspective and a co-author of the Aspen Principles for Long-Term Value Creation which offers guidance for corporations and institutional investors.  His most recent piece at the Harvard Business Review is “Five Bad Reasons to Start a For-Profit Social Enterprise.”

Rich is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School and other NYC public schools, received his BA from Williams College, his MBA from Harvard Business School, and made it most of the way through an MSW at the University of Texas. He is trying to learn Spanish, but rapidly losing proficiency in French and fluency in Mandarin.

When he’s not working with Safe Passage Project you can find him at a park in Brooklyn with his wife Hannah, a pediatrician, and their children Frank and Josie.

Desireé Hernández, Deputy Executive Director & Director of Legal Services
dhernandez@safepassageproject.org

A 2008 graduate of New York Law School, Desireé C. Hernández is an experienced immigration attorney. Prior to joining the Safe Passage Project, she was an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Jan Allen Reiner, where she successfully represented clients in all aspects of immigration law with a particular emphasis on complex litigation before USCIS, the EOIR Immigration Court, the BIA and the U.S. Court, Eastern District of New York and a volunteer attorney for Safe Passage. During law school, Ms. Hernández founded and was the President of NYLS’s Immigration Law Student Association (ILSA), and organized NYLS’s Immigration Awareness Month in March 2007. As a law student, Ms. Hernández interned at Her Justice (formerly inMotion), the New York Association for New Americans, and Garganigo, Goldsmith and Weiss. She was the recipient of the Public Interest Service Certificate Award, the Abbey Fellow in Poverty Law and the Joseph Solomon Public Interest Fellow. Ms. Hernández has a B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Puerto Rico. She is admitted to practice in  New York and New Jersey. Ms. Hernandez is fluent in Spanish.

Gui Stampur, Deputy Executive Director & Co-Founder
gstampur@safepassageproject.org

Gui Stampur has extensive experience working with youth.  As an undergraduate at Columbia University, he established SportSupport, an organization that provided mentoring and psychological and emotional support for children through athletics. Upon graduation from Fordham Law School, Mr. Stampur worked at Make The Road and The Door, where he represented immigrant youth in Family and Immigration court, and before USCIS. Mr. Stampur was the 2010 recipient of the Archibald R. Murray Public Service award and the 2009 Ann Moynihan Public Interest Fellowship. He is also the proud coach of two Nationally ranked boys soccer teams.

As co-founder, Mr. Stampur has helped Safe Passage grow from a small and scrappy legal services organization serving a handful of immigrant children each year to an organization with an active case load of over 600. As Director of Legal Services, Mr. Stampur orchestrated the launch of the first Safe Passage satellite office in Long Island, Safe Passage in Schools, and Safe Passage Amigos. Mr. Stampur remembers fondly the very first day that he and Lenni walked across the street to the New York Immigration Court and accepted representation of the not-for-profit’s first client.

When he is not working he is either playing soccer or playing with his son, Nico  Hawk.

Alexandra Rizio, Senior Staff Attorney, Training
arizio@safepassageproject.org

A 2012 graduate of Fordham LawSchool and a 2006 graduateof Columbia University, Alexandra Rizio has a long history of advocating for the rights of migrants. Most recently, she served as an Associate Immigration Attorney at the firm Masliah & Soloway. Previously, Ms. Rizio coordinated a pro bono program at Start Small Think Big, an economic empowerment non-profit located in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. At Fordham Law, Ms. Rizio was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest and Ethics, a Crowley Scholar in International Human Rights, and a 2012 recipient of the Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award. During law school, Ms. Rizio served as the Ellenbogen Fellow at HerJustice (formerly inMotion), as a Revson Fellow in the Family Law and Domestic Violence Unit of South Brooklyn Legal Services, and as an asylum intern at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. She was also a Leitner Fellow at MAP Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand; in that role, she researched labor violations and gender-based violence experienced by female Burmese migrant workers, and analyzed Thailand’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Prior to law school, Alexandra worked for the UN’s International Labor Organization in Bangkok, for the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York, and volunteered for the Refugee and Immigrant Fund in Queens.

Mich Gonzalez, Senior Attorney
mgonzalez@safepassageproject.org

A 2013 graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo Law and a 2009 graduate of NYU, Mich P. Gonzalez is dedicated to fighting for immigrant and LGBT rights. Prior to joining Safe Passage Project, Mich was a Senior Attorney with the Children’s Legal Program at Americans for Immigrant Justice. Previously she worked as a detention attorney with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Immigrant Rights Program. At AFSC, Mich helped to launch the Friends’ Representation Initiative of New Jersey (FRINJ), a public defender pilot project. During her time with the scrappy team of three, FRINJ represented nearly 400 detained immigrants. Before that Mich was the first Cardozo Immigration Justice Removal Defense Fellow. She completed her fellowship at Immigration Equality, where she testified before New York City Council against the use of solitary confinement and its disproportionate impact on transgender immigrants in detention.

Rex Chen, Supervising Attorney
rchen@safepassageproject.org

Since September 2017, Rex has been the Interim Supervising Attorney, Long Island. Rex is nationally recognized for termination and suppression motions in immigration court to challenge government misconduct.  He co-authored a 2015 Vera Institute practice advisory about termination motions for children and has given presentations at conferences, seminars, and law schools across the country.  Before joining the Safe Passage Project in 2015, he worked at Legal Aid Society and Catholic Charities of Newark.  At Catholic Charities of Newark, he directed its immigration program and handled a wide range of immigration cases in immigration court, the BIA, and the Third Circuit, including a successful Third Circuit appeal in 2008 involving the intersection of a United Nations Convention and immigration law.  He runs a joint defense group about suppression motions and has been a Board member of the National Immigration Project for several years.  Before Catholic Charities, he practiced commercial litigation at a NYC law firm, clerked for the New Jersey Supreme Court, and graduated with honors from NYU Law School.  He has made a documentary video about an immigrant wrongly convicted of murder, studied poetry creative writing in college, speaks Spanish, and enjoys watching fútbol on television.

Samantha Norris, Supervising Social Worker
snorris@safepassageproject.org

Samantha joined the Safe Passage Project in the spring of 2015. Prior to joining Safe Passage, she was a social worker at South Bronx United, where she provided counseling and advocacy to youth and families and also coached a competitive high school girls’ soccer team. Before moving to NYC, Samantha served two years in the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, where she worked with at-risk children, youth, and families in collaboration with a local nonprofit organization. Her passions include immigrant rights, youth development, gender empowerment, and soccer. Born and raised in Chicago, Samantha received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She is currently working towards a certificate in immigration law from the CUNY School of Professional Studies and is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) in New York State.

Stephanie Gibbs, Supervising Attorney
sgibbs@safepassageproject.org

Stephanie Gibbs is a Supervising Attorney at Safe Passage Project. Stephanie works as a mentor to our legal fellows and a resource to our pro bono volunteers.

Stephanie represents clients directly before USCIS, Immigration Courts in NY and NJ, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Stephanie has dedicated her career to immigration practice, including representation in removal defense, humanitarian claims such as asylum, family based visa petitions, and immigration counsel in criminal proceedings.

Stephanie is also the founder and managing attorney of Law Office of Stephanie Gibbs, LLC, an immigration law firm based in Jersey City, NJ. Stephanie earned her J.D. at New York Law School where she found her passion for serving the NYC immigrant community.

Stephanie earned B.A. at Colorado State University majoring in French and Political Science. In college, she studied abroad at the Université de Paris II – Sorbonne, and played competitively on CSU’s Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team.

Cynthia Caballero, Staff Attorney
ccabellero@safepassageproject.org

Cynthia Caballero joined Safe Passage Project in the spring of 2018 as a Staff Attorney. She received her J.D. from St. John’s University, School of Law in 2014 and her B.A. in Political Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2011. While attending St John’s University School of Law, Cynthia worked at the Child Advocacy Clinic for two years where she represented children in Special Immigrant Juvenile cases. Cynthia also interned for the Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Practice and Criminal Defense Division. Upon graduating from St. John’s, a culmination of her personal experiences, education and professional specializations paved a path for her to serve and protect children. Cynthia‘s interest in immigration stems from the desire to utilize the nation’s current laws to protect children from abuse, neglect, destitution and/or persecution. Prior to joining Safe Passage, Cynthia worked at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services for three years. While at ACS, she gained extensive litigation experience, appearing daily in Queens Family Court and fighting to better the lives of children. Cynthia is a member of the New York City Bar Association.

Tania Cohen, Staff Attorney
tcohen@safepassageproject.org

Tania joined Safe Passage in the Spring of 2017 as a Staff Attorney. Tania received a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2011 and a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University in 2006. During law school, Tania was an editor of the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy and a clinical student at the Brennan Center, where she researched the status of language access in federal court. After law school, she worked at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as a litigation associate and at Chaffetz Lindsey, where she primarily worked on international arbitration matters. Since graduating from law school, Tania has worked as a pro bono attorney on immigration matters, including as a volunteer attorney with Safe Passage. She is also a volunteer with CUNY Citizenship NOW!, where she provides citizenship application assistance. Tania is excited to be a part of the Safe Passage team!

Alexander Holtzman, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
aholtzman@safepassageproject.org

Alex Holtzman received a J.D. from The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law and an M.A. in Public Policy from the John Glenn School of Public Policy. Alex’s interest in immigration stems from his mother’s emigration from Serbia, and his time living abroad in Ecuador. His immigration law experience began at Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan, where Alex visited over a hundred migrant camps to document housing, health, and civil rights violations. He then worked for three years as a senior community organizer in Columbus, Ohio. Alex’s immigration and civil rights experience includes his work with the Columbus NAACP, USCIS in the Office of the Chief Counsel, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and the publication of several law review articles on immigration reform.

James Steijger-Puretz, Senior Operations Associate
jsteijger@safepassageproject.org

James currently supports the Executive Director in managing operations, finances, human resources, and development. He graduated from Utrecht University and the University of California, Berkeley with a major in social and political philosophy and a minor in human rights, inequality and poverty.

Before immigrating to the United States, James taught social and political philosophy to freshmen and sophomore students at Utrecht University. In the Netherlands, he worked with and advocated for marginalized refugees from West Africa, primarily from Eritrea, Somalia and South-Sudan. He co-produced a documentary on rejected asylees in the Netherlands and their continuous struggle to pursue a safe and dignified life. James is committed to serving those less privileged, and is proud to be a part of Safe Passage Project.

Jazmin Chavez, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
jchavez@safepassageproject.org

Jazmin Chavez received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. She is joining Safe Passage Project as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow.

Jazmin’s desire to be an immigration attorney stems from her childhood. Seeing her parents face significant obstacles in navigating the complex immigration process when they arrived in the U.S. from Peru inspired her to become an advocate for low-income immigrants. To prepare for her work, she sought internship experiences at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, the ABA Commission on Immigration, and The Legal Aid Society. She also participated in the Women and the Law Clinic at American University.

“I have been passionate about immigrant law and becoming an advocate for immigrants’ rights from a young age,” says Jazmin. “When I was 11 years old, my parents decided to leave our home country of Peru in pursuit of safety and more abundant opportunities in the United States. My experiences taught me firsthand that immigrant matters are long, complex, and frustrating — and that this is further compounded when one lacks money, language skills, and adequate legal representation. My family was fortunate to have excellent legal assistance, and without it, we would likely be undocumented.”

In starting her fellowship, Jazmin is most looking forward to working with immigrant youth. “I believe that my personal experience as a child immigrant from Peru to the U.S. helps me connect with children and communicate effectively with them.”

Jennifer Katzman, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
jkatzman@safepassageproject.org

Jennifer received her J.D. from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. During law school she participated in the Family Law Practice Clinic, CUNY Law Review, the Courtroom Advocates Project, and the International Refugee Assistance Project. She interned with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, The Door, and the Legal Aid Society in the New York Immigrant and Family Unity Project. Before law school she worked for four years assisting with family law and immigration cases for survivors of domestic violence. Jennifer feels grateful to be able to support the important work of Safe Passage Project.

Lauren Blodgett, Equal Justice Works Fellow
lblodgett@safepassageproject.org

Lauren is joining the Safe Passage team as an Equal JusticeWorks Fellow, sponsored by BNY Mellon and Paul, Weiss. Lauren’s fellowship project focuses on providing direct representation and community outreach to migrant children fleeing gender-based violence. Lauren recently graduated from Harvard Law School, where she served on the board of the Harvard Immigration Project and the Harvard African Law Association. During law school, Lauren worked in Morocco, Thailand, Jordan, Tanzania and Cambodia on various human rights issues, with a particular focus on refugee rights and children’s rights. Before law school, Lauren spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in Innsbruck, Austria, and worked at a refugee center in Cape Town, South Africa. Lauren graduated from Boston College in 2011 with a double major in Political Science and German. 

Tim Greenberg, Staff Attorney
tgreenberg@safepassageproject.org

Tim Greenberg is a Justice AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at the Safe Passage Project. Prior to joining the Safe Passage Project as a Justice AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, Tim worked at Non-Violence International, Human Rights First, The New York State Division of Human Rights, and the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles. Additionally, Tim conducted a judicial internship at the New York Supreme Court and served as an intern here at the Safe Passage Project while he was in law school.

Tim received a J.D. at New York Law School. At New York Law School Tim served as Staff Editor of New York Law School’s Law Review, as Editor of New York Law School’s Global Human Rights Bulletin, and was a member of the Immigration Law Students Association. Tim also conducted a clinical internship at New York Law School’s Immigration Law and Litigation Clinic and served as a research assistant within New York Law School’s Immigration Law Department.

York Campos, Social Worker
ycampos@safepassageproject.org

York joined Safe Passage Project in the winter of 2018. Prior to joining Safe Passage, he was a Mental Health Counselor at YRoads in Jamaica, Queens, where he provided individual and small-group counseling, case management, and crisis intervention for young adults working towards their High School Equivalency. While at YRoads Jamaica, York led a group of NYC High School teens on a service learning trip to the US-Mexican Border to raise awareness and educate youth on current immigration policies and practices.

York was born and raised in Queens, New York, with undocumented parents from Mexico. He is a first generation college graduate from Fordham University, where he earned a Masters in Social Work in 2016, and a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish Language in 2013. While in college, York participated in service learning trips to the Dominican Republic and the San Luis Valley region in Colorado, focusing on immigration, poverty, homelessness, education justice, and mental health. He is passionate about immigrant rights, youth development, education justice, music/art therapy, deconstructing and addressing machismo culture in Latin America, pre-Colombian culture, fitness, football, basketball, baseball, and Latin Dance.

Cristina Trinidad, Paralegal
ctrinidad@safepassageproject.org

Cristina is originally from Puebla, Mexico. She is a first generation college graduate from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she earned a degree in Liberal Arts and Political Science, and a minor in Latin American Studies. Cristina is the co-founder of Mexican-American Youth Advising Students (MAYAS), where she promoted the importance of higher education among the Mexican community through leadership development activities, college-related activities, mentoring programs, and projects that emphasized civic commitment and education. Cristina has also been a volunteer with CUNY Citizenship NOW! Call-In, where she provided information to participants about their eligibility for legal benefits. Prior to joining Safe Passage Project she was a hair salon owner in Brooklyn, New York. She served as a ULAMP (Unaccompanied Latin American Minors Project) intern, which led to her Justice AmeriCorps Paralegal Fellowship. Cristina is beyond excited to be part of an amazing team!

Elizabeth Rivera, Paralegal
erivera@safepassageproject.org 

Elizabeth Rivera graduated from John Jay College in May 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society.  She is proud to had been a part of the 2nd cohort of the CUNY Service Corps 2014-2015. As a CUNY Service Corps member she interned for CUNY Citizenship NOW! at City Council Julissa Ferreras’s Office and at the City College Immigration Center. She was also part of of the CUNY Citizenship NOW! Volunteer Corps, where she provided citizenship application assistance and was part of the CUNY/Daily News Citizenship NOW! Call-in where information and referrals to immigration matters was provided. Prior to joining Safe Passage Project as a Justice Americorps Paralegal, she was a part-time Legal Assistant for the Law Office of Karla P. Rosero, PLLC and a Special Projects Coordinator for Galapagos Center for New Americans. Elizabeth aspires to become an immigration attorney. She has an interest in advocating for immigrant rights and social justice. She is excited to join the Safe Passage Project team! 

Kathryn Chmielewski, Program Assistant
kathrync@safepassageproject.org 

As program assistant at Safe Passage Project, Katie provides support to existing and new programs, operations, and the executive team. Before joining Safe Passage Project, Katie supported LGBT clients and programming at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Formerly, she served as an AmeriCorps member, coordinating support services and advocating for immigrant and refugee families in transitional housing. Katie graduated from Marist College in 2015 with a double major in history and French language and minors in women’s studies and global studies

Loretta Lopez, Case Manager
llopez@safepassageproject.org

Loretta is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, and has worked with communities and children in her home country, Vietnam, and the United States. She has taught children English, Spanish, and Creative Writing, and also advocated for youth facing adversity as a Bilingual Case Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. She graduated from Bard College in 2013 with a B.A in the Written Arts.

Marilyn E. Alvarado, Paralegal
marilyna@safepassageproject.org

Marilyn E. Alvarado is the daughter of a Salvadoran mother and a Honduran father. She is a first generation college graduate from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has earned a degree in Forensic Psychology and an honors minor in Latin American studies and Human Services. During her time in college, she became a recipient of the Pinkerton Fellowship and worked with court-involved youth throughout New York City. In her senior year, she was selected for the Prison-to-College Pipeline Program that allowed her to take courses alongside incarcerated students providing her with an insight on the U.S. criminal justice system and education.

Her work with Safe Passage Project began as a U-LAMPER (Unaccompanied Latin American Minors Project), which led to her current position as a paralegal. In December 2016, she traveled 80 miles southwest of San Antonio to the small town of Dilley, Texas, to volunteer at the South Texas Residential Facility; a detention center that houses immigrant mothers and children. There she and other colleagues provided legal assistance and bore witness to the stories of Central American women and children who were victims of intimate partner violence, child abuse, extreme poverty, and state neglect, in their home countries. In May 2017, she was accepted as a Humanity in Action Fellow and spent time in Poland and Germany to develop her understanding of human rights outside of the United States. She is currently a Beyond the Bars Fellow with the Center for Justice at Columbia University. There she explores and deepens her understanding of the intersections and effects of mass incarceration by collaborating with activists, scholars, and academics to develop the annual Beyond the Bars Conference. Her experiences while working with both the immigration and justice system have inspired her to pursue law school.

Our Founder

Lenni Benson – Director & Founder & Senior Advisor, Policy and Research Lenni_Benson_new-235x225-235x224

Professor Lenni Benson is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of immigration law and political asylum.  Before joining the New York Law School faculty in the early 1990s, Professor Benson represented numerous corporations and individuals as partner at the international firm, Bryan Cave, LLP.

Professor Benson has won widespread recognition and numerous awards; in 1999, the American Immigration Lawyers Association named her Outstanding Professor in Immigration Law based on her contributions to the professional and scholarly development of the field and her role as a mentor of students and young attorneys. She was honored in 2008, along with other members of the Safe Passage Project, and received the State Bar President’s Award for Pro Bono Law School Project. She recently co-authored the first interactive immigration law textbook, and has authored numerous oft-cited articles, as well as many training videos and other visual materials.

From 2011-2012 Professor Benson was a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States, and prepared an extensive analysis of and recommendations for improvements to the system of immigration removal and adjudication. She is an active participant in immigrant rights projects coordinated by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), serves on the board of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Foundation, and is a trustee emeritus for the American Immigration Law Foundation. She has also served as Chair of the Immigration Committee of the Administrative Law Section of the American Bar Association and as Chair of the Immigration Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

 

Our Board

Pam Foster, Esq. – Board Chair 

Pam Foster

Pam Foster is a not-for-profit operations leader with more than 15 years of progressively responsible strategic and operations management experience. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Co-Impact. Prior to that, she was the Managing Director for Program Operations and Associate General Counsel at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, where she worked since 2003, previously serving as Managing Director for Grants Management. She has overseen the restructuring and streamlining of the grant management process, as well as producing and managing programmatic budgets, forecasts, budget monitoring, financial projections, cash flow management and more.  She possesses well over a decade of experience in organizational management and restructuring, as well as in grant review and administration. From 2000-2003 she was an Associate in the firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College in 1993 with honors, and her Juris Doctor from New York Law School in 2000, where she graduated summa cum laude from the evening division, which she attended while working full-time at The Rockefeller Foundation. She is a frequent presenter on philanthropic operations, and serves on a number of boards and committees in this area, including the finance committee of Philanthropy New York and the advisory board of NGOsource. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the New York Law School Alumni Association.

Careen Shannon, Esq. – Vice President

Careen Shannon is a Partner at Fragomen Worldwide, the world’s largest immigration law firm, where she also serves as the firm’s global Director of Communications. A frequent speaker and writer, Careen has spoken before numerous bar associations, professional organizations and human resources groups, and has written countless articles on immigration law topics for a variety of legal, human resources and mainstream publications. She has also written a number of scholarly articles published in U.S. law reviews. She is the co-author, with Austin T. Fragomen, Jr. and Daniel Montalvo, of a series of legal handbooks and treatises published by Thomson Reuters/West and the Practising Law Institute. For more than a decade (2004-2015), Careen was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she served as Director of the Immigration Law Field Clinic from 2011-2015. Careen plays a key role in Fragomen’s pro bono practice, and since 2014 has led the U.S. firm’s nationwide effort to provide pro bono legal services to unaccompanied minors and to detained immigrant women and children from Central America. She is a member of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel and the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals.

Federico Reyes – Treasurer

Federico Reyes is currently VP of Financial Planning & Analysis for KIND Snacks. He was previously Corporate Controller for Heineken USA and has held roles in strategic planning, investor relations, corporate finance, and investment banking at FEMSA, BBVA Bancomer and Bear, Stearns. Mr. Reyes holds an MBA from INSEAD.

 

Hon. Sam Coppersmith – Secretary

SamCoppersmithSam Coppersmith is a partner and co-founder of the firm Coppersmith Brockelman PLC in Phoenix, Arizona, where he provides legal expertise in the fields of business organization, corporate governance, exempt organizations, contract negotiation, land use, and business planning. Mr. Coppersmith also is a former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the First District of Arizona in the 103rd Congress, and served as chair of the Arizona Democratic Party from 1995 to 1997 and led the Arizona delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1996. Mr. Coppersmith also served as a board member and chair of Planned Parenthood of Arizona, and as a member and chair of the City of Phoenix Board of Adjustment.  In 2005, he received the For Love of Justice Award from the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services for his volunteer work with numerous non-profit agencies, and has served as an international election monitor in Egypt, Ukraine, the Republic of Georgia, and Albania.

Andrew Amer – Director AndrewAmer-5167_color_5x7 (2)

Andrew Amer is Special Litigation Counsel in the Litigation Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, having recently transitioned into public service after a 30-year career as a litigator at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Mr. Amer’s current position involves defending the State and its various agencies in complex litigation often involving constitutional challenges to legislation and agency determinations. In private practice, he focused on the areas of insurance, reinsurance, bankruptcy, products liability and law firm defense, and he has extensive trial and appellate experience in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Over the course of his career, he has also maintained an active pro bono docket, representing clients in connection with immigration proceedings, habeas petitions, human rights violations and criminal appeals. Mr. Amer is recognized by Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation as a leading lawyer nationwide in the area of insurance.

Joseph Bavuso – Director

Joseph Bavuso is a member of the Zegar Family Foundation, and works to develop grants in several areas, including food access and hunger, immigration and civil rights, environmental science and advocacy, and civic participation. Mr. Bavuso is also an attorney, and was formerly a Senior Counsel at the New York City Law Department for many years, where he litigated eminent domain and real property tax matters.

Brenda Cooke – Director

Ms. Cooke is currently serving as Deputy General Counsel for New York City Department of Correction, where she represents the Department of Correction in legal activity concerning significant policy or financial consequences. In addition to responsibility for the management of approximately 60 members of the Department’s Legal Division, she litigates complex cases, drafts legislation and policy statements on behalf of the Department of Correction, and provides legal advice on legal strategy matters. She served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Robert C. Chambers from 2002-2003 in the U.S. District Court SDWV. From 2003-2011, she was a Senior Associate in the firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Ms. Cooke worked for the New York City Law Department as Assistant Corporation Counsel from 2011-2012 and Senior Counsel from 2012-2015. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Portland in 1999 with honors, and her Juris Doctor from New York Law School in 2002, where she graduated summa cum laude. She is admitted to practice in the State of New York, U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of the Second Circuit. Ms. Cooke has been serving as treasurer for 451 Clinton Owners Corp since 2006, and served as Board Chair for McBurney YMCA from 2008-2015. In December 2013, Ms. Cooke was awarded the Division Chief Award by the New York City Law Department, and in June 2014, she was awarded the Municipal Affairs Award from the New York City Bar Association.

Caroline B. Kronley – Director

Caroline B. Kronley is the President of The Tinker Foundation, which provides grants to civil society organizations in Latin America. Previously, Caroline worked as the Managing Director for Strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation, leading the development of new programmatic initiatives. Earlier in her career, she was a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners as well as Booz & Company where she served a broad range of clients on strategy and organizational performance. Caroline worked for several years for a microfinance institution in Oaxaca, Mexico, engaging with rural communities experiencing high levels of migration. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Raymond Y. Lin, Esq. – Director

Raymond Y. Lin is a Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP. Mr. Lin’s work centers around the representation of private equity firms in mergers and acquisitions as well as in capital market transactions. Mr. Lin was a part of Latham & Watkin’s pro bono work for Not For Sale, a non-profit organization that works to protect people from human trafficking. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law and is a Director of the Appleseed Foundation.

Antonio Miranda – Director

Mr. Miranda is a partner and Chief Investment Officer of Compass Group, a Latin American specialist investment management firm. Previously he held asset management and capital markets leadership roles with Mellon HBV, Unibanco, UBS and Citibank. Mr. Miranda has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica of Rio de Janeiro and an MBA from INSEAD, France.

Sam Newbold, Esq. – Director

SamNewbold

Samuel Newbold is a Senior Associate Attorney at Barst Mukumal & Kleiner LLP, and works mainly on employment, family, and investment-based immigration matters. Mr. Newbold also has extensive experience representing clients in removal proceedings. Mr. Newbold has been involved in several non-profit organizations internationally in both volunteer and administrative capacities.  He is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and regularly takes on Safe Passage pro bono cases.
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