Philanthropy New York Welcomes New Board Chair and Members
On May 2nd, during the business meeting of Philanthropy New York's 44th Annual Meeting, the membership elected a new Board Chair, five new members, and two were elected for a second term on the Board of Directors. Philanthropy New York is fortunate to have a dedicated board – each member contributing their time and talents to ensure that this organization is a vital resource for the philanthropic community in New York. We want to thank those who are rotating off the Board as well, Diahann Billing-Burford, Jacqueline Jones, Leticia Peguero, David Sandman, and Teresa Younger, for their time and dedication to Philanthropy New York and our community over the last few years. The new board members will play a critical role in implementing PNY's recently released strategic direction, which seeks to address current inequities in the philanthropic sector. The new members of the board are:
President, The Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
Rini Banerjee has two decades of experience in philanthropy. An Integrated Capital Fellow at RSF Social Finance, she has served as Executive Director at Foundation for a Just Society, Program Officer at the Overbrook Foundation, and Program Director at the New York Women’s Foundation. She is a trustee of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and Board member of Funders for Reproductive Equity, and has co-created or served on groups including the NYC-based Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, the Groundswell Fund, and the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She was a past Board Chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and past Board member of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!). She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a BSc in finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Vice President, Program Officer, Citi Foundation
Kenya Bryant is a Program Officer at the Citi Foundation where she manages key partnerships for the Foundation’s Action for Racial Equity commitment and Community Solutions portfolio. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kenya led the development and execution of the Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation’s grantmaking strategy across racial equity, girls’ education, and M·A·C VIVA GLAM’s international grant portfolio focused on HIV/AIDS, women’s health, and LGBTQIA+ rights. Kenya’s professional background includes non-profit fundraising and youth development work in Washington D.C. at BUILD and the Posse Foundation, as well as ad sales marketing and communications in her past roles at SiriusXM Pandora, ESSENCE Magazine, and Paramount.
Kenya holds an MS from Clemson University in Youth Development Leadership, and a BA from Wheaton College in Sociology, with Minors in Studio Art and Journalism where she attended as a Posse Scholar.
Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Ford Foundation
Nishka Chandrasoma is vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of the foundation. She is responsible for managing the overall legal affairs of the foundation relating to its governance, grantmaking, global operations, and investments.
Nishka joined the foundation in 2015 as assistant secretary and deputy general counsel before being named vice president in 2019. Prior to joining the foundation, she practiced law with the tax-exempt organizations group at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, where she represented clients ranging from universities and museums to private foundations and community foundations.
Nishka is a member of the Nonprofit Forum of the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at NYU School of Law, the American Bar Association’s Exempt Organizations Committee, and the New York City Bar Association’s New York City Affairs Committee. She serves on the board of the Foundation for Detroit’s Future. Nishka is a frequent speaker at programs for tax-exempt organizations on topics including social media and nonprofits, fiscal sponsorships, international grantmaking, and foundation governance.
Nishka earned her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley and her law degree from Yale Law School.
Executive Director, North Star Fund
Jennifer Ching is a passionate advocate for social justice with a deep breadth of experience as a lawyer, non-profit leader, teacher and organizer. North Star Fund, where she has been the Executive Director since 2017, supports grassroots organizing led by communities of color building power in New York City and the Hudson Valley. They organize people across all backgrounds to support organizing that centers systems change.
Before Jennifer started at North Star Fund, she practiced law for almost 20 years—litigating labor, civil rights, criminal justice and immigrants’ rights issues in partnership with organizing movements. She led Queens Legal Services, a community-based legal advocacy center. She was the Director of New York Appleseed, a public interest policy center. As an associate at Paul Weiss LLP, she worked on a team that represented 13 Guantánamo Bay prisoners held after 9/11. She was a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest Law and Constitutional Litigation, and a Skadden Fellow at the ACLU-NJ. I’ve worked for the City of New York as an Urban Fellow and have taught at Rutgers University and Rutgers School of Law.
Jennifer trained as a community organizer with immigrant workers centers in Oakland, Boston and New York’s Chinatowns. She has also been an office temp and worker in sales, retail and food services. She was raised in New Jersey by immigrant parents, attended Harvard University and NYU School of Law, and lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Vice President of Programs & Operations, Korean American Community Foundation
Brennan Gang oversees KACF’s grantmaking and other program-related initiatives. Most recently, she served as Program Officer for the New York Women’s Foundation where she helped to manage over $2 million grantmaking budget, including strategic review and analysis of grant applications, and develop short- and long-term strategies in three areas of work: grantmaking, capacity building, and public education and advocacy.
Before joining the New York Women’s Foundation, Brennan spent two years in Seoul, South Korea, teaching English as a Second Language and exploring her heritage. Prior to this journey, she spent three years in the hospitality industry as a Catering Manager in Denver, Colorado. Following her interest in volunteerism, she served a year in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps after college.
Brennan is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with a BA in English.
Executive Director, New York Foundation
Rickke Mananzala (he/him/his) has been active in grassroots organizing, advocacy, and social justice philanthropy in service of racial, economic, and gender justice movements for more than two decades. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the New York Foundation, which supports community organizing and advocacy towards a more just and inclusive New York City. He previously served as Vice President of Programs at Borealis Philanthropy, a philanthropic intermediary that brings funders together to support leaders, organizations, and grassroots movements in their efforts to build power for transformative change.
Rickke’s roots are in grassroots organizing, including serving as an organizer and eventually the Executive Director of FIERCE, a grassroots organization for LGBTQ youth of color in New York City that spearheaded campaigns to challenge youth criminalization. He was a New Voices Fellow at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project where he worked to integrate legal services, litigation, and policy advocacy to support organizing and movement-building by and for low-income transgender people in New York City. Rickke was a founding board member of the Right to the City Alliance and served on the board of the Third Wave Foundation (now Third Wave Fund) where he helped develop grantmaking strategies to support feminist youth organizing work across the U.S. He currently serves as the board chair of Funders for LGBTQ Issues.
Rickke received his B.A. in political science from Columbia University and Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with a focus on urban policy.
Second Term Candidates
President, Surdna Foundation
Don Chen is the President of the Surdna Foundation where he leads the 106-year old foundation’s efforts to strengthen and further leverage its commitment to social justice.
Prior to his appointment, Don was the Director of the Cities & States program at the Ford Foundation, where his work supported urban development initiatives to make housing more affordable, promote more equitable land use practices, and empower communities to have a powerful decision-making voice in American cities and in developing countries. He also led a multi-program team to support the strengthening of social justice organizations and networks in targeted U.S. states.
Previously, Don was the Founder and CEO of Smart Growth America, where he led efforts to create the National Vacant Properties Campaign (which later became the Center for Community Progress) and Transportation for America, and managed a merger with the Growth Management Leadership Alliance. He has authored many pieces on land use, transportation, social equity, and environmental policy.
Don currently serves as Co-Chair of the Presidents’ Council on Impact Investing and on the boards of Living Cities, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and Philanthropy New York. He holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of the Environment and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University.
Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary, Carnegie Corporation
As the chief administrative officer (CAO) and corporate secretary, Nicole Howe Buggs serves as the liaison to the board of trustees and helps ensure the effective governance of the foundation. She oversees grantmaking operations and compliance for an annual portfolio of approximately 300 domestic and international grants, consisting of more than $150 million in philanthropic funding. Buggs also supports the mission, objectives, and priorities of the Corporation by leading and managing information technology and office services.
Buggs joined the Corporation in 2011 to oversee grants management. In that role, she devised multiyear strategic plans and drove the implementation of digital platforms for online access to records and other resources. She also overhauled the Corporation’s grantmaking processes by introducing a searchable, cloud-based grants management system that facilitated communication with grantees and streamlined processes for applications and record keeping.
Prior to joining the Corporation, Buggs served as director of grants management at the Public Welfare Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and the Healthcare Georgia Foundation. During her career, Buggs has presented grantmaking sessions at national and regional conferences and meetings, managed an employee-directed giving program, and served on grant review and employee volunteer committees.
Buggs serves on the board of trustees for the Tenement Museum, and Philanthropy New York. She received her BA and MA from George Washington University.