Raising the collective voice of nonprofit leaders of color through a BIPOC informed, community-focused, equity-centered design.
Over a decade of supporting Youth INC, we have witnessed the incredible work they do to provide youth development organizations with the resources to help young people develop skills and confidence to achieve their full potential. Our contribution to fund the launch of the Rise Academy for Leaders of Color underscores our commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in our business and communities as Youth INC expands its efforts to provide dedicated support for BIPOC nonprofit leaders.
Nonprofit boards and executive leaders are disproportionately white, which creates risk for the organization – from ineffectiveness at best to unintentionally doing harm at worst. We launched Rise Academy for Leaders of Color to focus on remediating historical inequities so that BIPOC leaders can ascend to their seats at the table.
Structural inequities in the nonprofit sector have perpetuated disparities amongst its leadership. As a capacity builder, we are uniquely positioned to assess and address these barriers and support our rising nonprofit leaders of color and partner organizations by creating an environment where everyone can have access and opportunities for leadership that will influence how organizations lead youth constituents of color.
Anmarie Paul, is a youth development professional, educational consultant and restorative circle keeper with a passion for social justice and a desire to invest in young people and their families. Anmarie has utilized her love of education, the arts, and community to create a wide variety of successful programming for young people including school gardening and nutrition programs, anti-violence community art projects, and the development of social justice curriculum that helps young people explore their inner heroism.
Anmarie holds a certification in Nonprofit Management from Baruch College, a BA in Anthropology from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and has studied African Diaspora Studies at the School for International Training in Cape Coast, Ghana. Anmarie believes that love is the most powerful and important tool for transformation and social change that the world possesses.
Grace Azcona, musician and summa cum laude arts management graduate, is a New YorkCity native who is passionate about non-profit music education. She attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts and participated in the Music Access Project at the Bloomingdale School of Music(BSM), an intensive three-year program for talented young musicians. In her last year of high school, Grace was a member of LaGuardia’s esteemed SeniorChorus. Grace’s passion for music and helping others led her to make the decision to declare her major as Arts Management at SUNY Purchase College, while continuing her classical piano performance studies as a minor.
Grace returned to Bloomingdale School of Music as the Executive Assistant in fall2020, and was promoted to a full time position upon graduation. As her role expands to Community Outreach Coordinator, she is looking forward to collaborating with other organizations in the city to fulfill Bloomingdale's mission and make music accessible!
Katrina earned her M.S. in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in Project Management at Northeastern University and currently holds the position of Volunteer Coordinator at Court Appointed Special Advocates- NYC. She is passionate about advocating for the youth and families CASA-NYC serves and is committed to ensuring the advocates she trains are equipped to maximize the voices of the families and youth whose voices have been minimized for far too long. Prior to her work at CASA-NYC, she advocated for individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities at the Young Adult Institute as an Assistant Supervisor.
Originally from South Carolina, Ashley is a self-identified G.R.I.T.S. (girl raised in the south)! Prior to moving to NewYork City, she studied Musical Theater at Anderson University and went on to receive her M.F.A. in Acting from Louisiana State University. Ashley brings her empathy, compassion, and love of theater to her work as an educator, administrator, and artist.
Ashley currently serves as the Director of Programs of Drama Club, a non profit organization that brings improvisational theater arts to incarcerated and court-involved youth. At Drama Club, she also heads aDEIB Committee made up of board, staff, and youth. Ashley's work motto is "Advocacy is Access." Her mission is to provide underserved and under represented demographics with access to the power of theater.
My name is Christian Peralta, and I am the Program Manager for Extreme Kids & Crew. I help manage the day-to-day programming and lead our in-person and virtual clubs. I began working in non-profits ten years ago when I started at another organization called BronxWorks. There, I was able to learn and experience community development and curriculum development.
I have worked at Extreme Kids & Crew for almost four years and have had the privilege of working with a lovely team and wonderful families! It has been one of the best experiences of my professional career. This organization has taught me much about the world of disability and how to work with people and communities.
I have a passion for youth and education, but on the side, I also enjoy creating content on platforms like Youtube, Tiktok, and Twitter.
Aislee Berenice Nieves is a Brooklyn born youth developer, photographer, and blogger committed to motivating humanity to express themselves in safe, healthy, and developmental ways. Aislee spent most of her undergraduate years expressing herself via journal and platforms such as word press. Her inspiration centers around youth, expressionism, and storytelling. Majoring in History while at DePauw University, Nieves realized the true power of storytelling via narrative history and the importance of sharing one’s testimony. Aislee graduated from DePauw University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
In 2021 Aislee Berenice Nieves graduated from the CUNY School of Professional Studies where she received her Master of Arts in Youth Studies. Aislee Berenice Nieves currently serves as the High School Program Manager at the Fiver Children’s Foundation, The Fiver Children's Foundation is a comprehensive youth development organization that makes a 10-year commitment to children from underserved communities throughout New York City and central New York. As the manager of the High School Program Team, she manages outreach efforts for all high school programs, implements volunteer experiences related to high school programs, and ensure that all curricula are implemented as intended and that facilitation is of the highest quality. I am a published author and enjoy taking photos in my free time!
Kimberley Jackson-Brown is a Managing Director of Elementary Programs at LEAP. LEAP is a company that provides educational arts programming in New York City public schools to students who are underserved in the arts. As a Managing Director of ElementaryPrograms, I support schools in my portfolio in District 9, and 12 in the Bronx and Districts 13, 18 and 32 in Brooklyn. While overseeing these schools, I also work with strategic planning, financial management, grants management and compliance. I work with Program Directors, Site Coordinators and Teaching Artist who impact students from K-5th grade. I grew up in Harlem and I am product of after school. I understand the importance of after school within a community and the impact it makes on the youth and families it serves. My passion for Youth Development causes me to always strive for high quality programming and I believe that starts with the staff leading the program. My commitment to creating a “How-to” Guide, that includes policies and procedures, high expectations for staff and students, as well as engaging arts programming for directors to follow is where I would start with my intentional influence.
Within my role as Managing Director at LEAP, I have had an opportunity to build deep partnerships with the schools and communities I works with. I work hard in helping create opportunities for students to access the arts and have the same opportunity regardless of their circumstance.
I live in NYC and I have been married for 26 years, together with my husband for a total of 31 years. I have three amazing children – one in graduate school, one a junior in undergrad, and my youngest a junior in high school. They are THE BEST parts of me. I enjoy reading, eating out, photography, and watch reality TV. My husband and I are the LAST die-hard Knick fans along with Spike Lee. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology and English.
Sariba Levin comes from a background in social services, non-profits, and public education. She joined Reading Partners New York as a program manager in May of 2022. Her current position has pushed her into a role of leadership, allowing her to expand her experience by helping young professionals grow their work experience. Sariba being a Bronx, NY native contributed to her burning desire to serve in roles that help to drive social impact and change. She understands how vital public service is when it comes to growing up in underprivileged neighborhoods.
Previously, Sariba started out her professional journey working with homeless youth in a transitional living program. She also worked part-time helping individuals with developmental disabilities accomplish their daily living goals. This work in the social services field exposed her to the harsh reality of how the intersectionality of one’s own identity can contribute to a higher level of marginalization. This is something she is all too familiar with being African American and female. This led to her applying to grad school and ultimately landed her in the education field. Sariba started out her workin public education as an AmeriCorps member working in under-resourced Miami-Dade County Public Schools. This work transitioned with her back to her hometown of New York City where she continues to fight for a quality education for black and brown children.
Sariba has a masters in Global Affairs with a focus of corporate social responsibility from Florida International University. Her ultimate goal is to manage public-private partnerships to help scale the positive impact private companies can make on society. Private companies have the resources and public companies have the access; Sariba believes that professionals with her expertise and background can combine resources from both sectors and create abetter tomorrow for us all!
Sheldon M. Steele II is an interdisciplinary executive leader, arts administrator, performance artist, educator, and speaker. He is a graduate of Rider University from which he holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre with a minor in Music Directing and a M.A. in Arts Management and Executive Leadership. He currently serves as Director of Programs at Youth Action YouthBuild - East Harlem and sits on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
Prior to his appointment as Director of Programs at Youth Action YouthBuild, Sheldon served in various leadership capacities at the intersection of education, leadership development, youth development, community advancement, social justice, DEIB, and arts, media, & entertainment. Sheldon was last seen on stage in the 2019-2020 International Tour of the Broadway Musical Dreamgirls that toured China and Japan. He is an affiliate member of MUSE - Musicians United for Social Equity, Broadway Black Men, the NAACP, and the New Jersey Arts and Culture Administrators of Color Network (NJACAC). Affiliate organizations include Newark Symphony Hall, Broadway Inspirational Voices, The Institute of Music for Children, Harlem School of the Arts, Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts, the Grammy Education Foundation, and the Multicultural Student Leadership Institute at Rider University.
Sheldon deeply believes in human capital and the cultivation of intrinsic purpose and fulfillment of destiny. He believes that each person has the ability to leave a legacy that produces forward momentum and advancement for future generations. Aiding people and organizations in understanding this concept is Sheldon’s life mission. Together, he believes we can eliminate the oppressive barriers for youth and historically marginalized communities to foster a world of true equity, liberty, and justice for ALL.
Jhanelle Gopie joined Youth INC in January 2018 as the Program Associate for the Celebration and BridgeFund Programs and is now Senior Associate Director, Resource Generation. In this role, Jhanelle manages our fund development offerings and provides coaching to our nonprofit leaders on relevant strategies and practices.
During her time at Youth INC, Jhanelle has supported our Nonprofit Partners through our Celebration Fundraising Training Program and BridgeFund Cash Grant Program. In the Celebration Program, she provided fund development coaching and best practices with a focus on event based fundraising and board engagement, coaching almost a dozen organizations to fundraise a total of $1M in individual and corporate giving. Through the BridgeFund Program, Jhanelle supported a grant portfolio of $350K through activities including, managing the grantee application and interview process, coordinating progress meetings between grantees and grant monitors, and providing technical support through the grant term.
Her fund development mindset is intentional and humanistic in its approach, finding the intersection of identifying the right strategy and empowering the right people at all levels to execute the strategy successfully. This approach includes facilitating Network-wide workshops on developing a culture of philanthropy, embedding community-centric fundraising principles into existing structures, and supporting organizational DEIB initiatives.
Prior to working with Youth INC, Jhanelle has held many fund development roles at a variety of nonprofits including, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Friends of UNFPA, Women’s World Banking, and Action Against Hunger. Jhanelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance with a minor in Government and Politics from St. John’s University. She also holds a Masters of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Development from The New School. Outside of work, Jhanelle enjoys cooking, Pilates, and taking in a healthy dose of bad reality television.