Leaders & Partners

The Center for Fair Futures is comprised of an Advocacy Team, Model Implementation & Professional Development Team, and Innovation Team.

The Center for Fair Futures Co-Executive Directors are
Katie Napolitano (Consultant) and Emil Ramnarine (Consultant) 

Advocacy Team and Partners

Young people who have experienced foster care lead the Fair Futures advocacy campaign.  A core component is our Youth Advisory Board (YAB). This extraordinary group of young people organize, advocate, create a call to action by rallying their peers and demanding more for New York City's foster youth.

A Fair Futures YAB Coordinator provides guidance and direction while liaising with the Center’s Advocacy Committee to maximize advocacy efforts.

The Advocacy Committee is comprised of young people, foundations, foster care agency leaders, and housing experts/partners.  The Co-Chairs are Angela LoBue from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Anthony Turner, YAB Coordinator.

Model Implementation & Professional Development Team and Partners

The Center for Fair Futures Model Implementation & Professional Development Team is comprised of dedicated, passionate consultants who work closely with providers, government agencies, foundations, non-profit partners, and young people to implement, scale, and continuously improve the Fair Futures model.

The NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) oversees all 26 foster care agencies and juvenile justice providers that implement the Fair Futures model.  ACS has a public-private partnership with the Foster Care Excellence Fund to fund the implementation of the model.

The Foster Care Excellence Fund is supported by a collaboration of foundations, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Redlich Horwitz Foundation, Tiger Foundation, Ira W. DeCamp Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, New York Community Trust, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.  The Summerfield Foundation and Pinkerton Foundation are also key supporters on the juvenile justice side.

All of the Implementation work is overseen by an Implementation Committee, comprised of leaders from ACS, agencies, young people with lived experience, and our implementation partners At The Table, Advocates for Children, City Living NY, and New Yorker’s For Children.

Staff & Consultants

Meet the Implementation Team!

Provides implementation and professional development supports to all organizations adopting the Fair Futures model.

Emil Ramnarine

Co-Executive Director
(Consultant)

Emil Ramnarine is an impact leader that has 25 years in child welfare, youth development, and social entrepreneurship. Emil specializes in strategic design and the building and scaling of programs that lead to long-lasting positive changes.  Prior to his work with Fair Futures, Emil served as the Associate Vice President for Youth and Community Success at Graham Windham.  

It was here that he helped build one of the country's largest coaching programs for youth ages 11-26.  This work included operationalizing how Coaches and Program Specialists can help guide young people towards goal achievement in the areas of career, education, housing, and independent living.

In addition to this work, Emil has worked for nationally affiliated nonprofits including Big Brother Big Sisters of New York City and the YMCA of Greater New York.  At Big Brothers Big Sisters, he helped design their Center for Excellence, a training center that specializes in helping other non-profits build, run and/or enhance their own mentoring program. He also created and held the position of their first-ever Director of Volunteer Recruitment & Support. A primary function of the role was to train and prepare Bigs (volunteer mentor) on how to work effectively with their Littles (youth).  

At the YMCA of Greater New York Emil took the Y-MVP Health and Fitness Coaching Program from concept to implementation in less than a year. This program was rolled out to 22 YMCA branches across NYC serving over 1,000 youth. This work included developing the program curriculum, a program model, a compatible app and training all Coaches.  

Emil also spent some time in the social entrepreneurship space where he was the founder and CEO of Fit 4 Life NYC, an organization dedicated to delivering quality sports, fitness and wellness programs to schools and non-profits that serve youth in underserved communities. He led a team of 80 coaches, instructors, and administrators to become one of New York City’s leading organizations (winner of the Best for NYC award and Best for the Community award. Emil developed the company’s infrastructure, strategic vision, and core values before successfully guiding the sale of the business in 2019.

Katie Napolitano

Co-Executive Director
(Consultant)

Katie Napolitano has worked with dozens of national and international non-profit organizations in a funding and consulting capacity, providing strategic guidance and capital to help fuel their growth and success. Prior to Fair Futures, Katie was a Program Officer at the Tiger Foundation.

While in that role, Katie assessed dozens of organizations in K-12 education, college access/success, workforce development, child welfare, and criminal justice. This provided her with a strong comparative perspective of the best practice approaches and effective models in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families.

Katie left philanthropy to help coordinate Fair Futures so that every young person in NYC’s foster care system could have a Coach – someone who believes in them, helps them achieve their goals and potential, and sticks with them over the long-run.  Katie’s role with Fair Futures has spanned advocacy, model codification, coordination with foundations, ACS, and coalition members, and supporting all 26 agencies with model implementation.

Throughout her career, Katie has provided strategic consulting and financial advisory to non-profits in NYC and globally. She conducted year-long strategic consultancies for two large NYC foster care organizations, helping them scale and codify their programs and infuse best practices at critical junctures.

Katie also spent time as a social entrepreneur; she was a Vice President and founding employee of Treetops Capital, a fund management company she helped build to become a “Top 50” social impact investor globally.  At Treetops, Katie helped oversee the company’s funds, raised private and public funding, and developed all of the social impact metrics and due diligence, monitoring, and reporting procedures.  She previously spent time on Wall Street covering emerging market financial institutions.

For the last decade, Katie has also served as Coach to over a dozen foster youth, providing emotional support and assisting them with their academic and career goals. Katie and her husband adopted three young men who aged out of foster care. She is currently on the board of CASA NYC.

Tracy Jenkins

Innovation & Strategic Partnerships (Consultant)

Tracy Jenkins is a transformational leader, with expertise in program development, program leadership, and program implementation, with an emphasis on strategic management. Tracy is a licensed Social Worker and has over 15 years of experience working in child welfare and youth development.  

Prior to joining The Center, Tracy served as the Vice President of LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Achievement Pathways) at JCCA, where she successfully spearheaded a dramatic expansion of its programming, staffing, and scope. This included a more than quadrupled staff size with the implementation of Fair Futures; the integration and build out of LEAP programs across JCCA campus and city locations; and significant enhancements and growth to JCCA’s early literacy, tutoring and academic enrichment initiatives. Tracy also deftly strengthened programming across all areas at JCCA, infused data into LEAP management, and established partnerships with new community organizations to support young people on their pathways to self-sufficiency.

Most recently, Tracy worked to further expand the Fair Futures Program by bringing a racial and gender equity programming lens to coaching for transition age youth.  

In addition to this work, Tracy began her career as a Child Protective Specialist for the Administration for Children’s Services where she responded directly to reports of child abuse and/or neglect. Using investigatory and social work skills, Tracy engaged and partnered with families and community resources to ensure the safety and well-being of children throughout New York City.

Tracy’s commitment to her professional and leadership development advanced her as a leader within various roles at JCCA, including program management and development, performance evaluation and policy development, and project management.  

As a leader, Tracy continuously possesses a clear vision and prioritizes courage, integrity, honesty, humility and clear focus. Tracy’s motto is that “the art of communication is the language of leadership.” Tracy has a communication and leadership style that is empathic, authentic and exudes executive presence.

Holly Smeltzer

Relationship Manager (Consultant)

Holly Smeltzer is a Relationship Manager for the Center, providing a range of training, technical assistance, and implementation supports to 13 foster care agency leaders and staff with implementing, scaling, and continuously improving their Fair Futures programs.

Holly has extensive experience working in the child welfare and youth development fields.  Before coming to the Center, she was the Fair Futures Program Director at the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services.  Holly’s calling to work alongside and advocate for young people in foster care stems from being a foster parent and witnessing the failures of the child welfare system on young people in her care. She is incredibly passionate about her work and strives to employ this passion to fulfill her commitment to young people in foster care, particularly those who are part of the LGBTQAI+ community.  

She is incredibly proud to be part of the Fair Futures community and has been a Fair Futures champion from the first moment she joined young people, advocates, and other coalition members on the steps of City Hall.  Holly Smeltzer is a first-generation college graduate, receiving her Bachelor of Science from Radford University and her Master of Public Administration from Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Cashay Haffoney

Director of Coaching & Wellness (Consultant)

Cashay Haffoney (she/her) is the Center’s Director of Coaching and Wellness, providing a range of coaching and professional development supports to implementing agencies, including onboarding, youth engagement, group facilitation, and peer group formation.  Cashay also supports the YAB Coordinator and advocacy efforts.

Cashay is a youth development expert and passionate leader who is a lifelong champion for positive youth development practices, coaching, and development. For over a decade she has worked fervently designing curriculums and launching programs that support the elevation of young adults. She has partnered with a cornucopia of institutions and organizations whose aim is to connect with youth, families and professionals in NYC and throughout the tri-state area.  

Cashay has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from West Virginia State University and is a Certified Life Coach.  She is in the process of completing her Master of Arts degree in Youth Studies at the CUNY School Of Professional Studies.

Donald Duggan

Relationship Manager (Consultant)

Donald (“Don”) Duggan is a Relationship Manager for the Center, providing a range of training, technical assistance, and implementation supports to 13 foster care agency leaders and staff with implementing, scaling, and continuously improving their Fair Futures programs.  

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Don has spent the last decade serving those impacted by the child welfare system. Prior to joining the Center for Fair Futures, Donald worked at HeartShare St. Vincent's Services where he held a variety of roles such as Case Planner, Permanency Pact Coordinator, Intensive Permanency Services Specialist, Youth Development Specialist, Success Coach Supervisor, and Director of Success and Housing Services. Don is a proud alumni of Binghamton University where he obtained his BS in Human Development and alumni of Baruch college where he obtained his MPA in Nonprofit Management. He is also a New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow.

Mecca Phiziny

Senior Housing Consultant

Mecca Phiziny is a Senior Housing Consultant at City Living NY and part of the Center’s Implementation team.  She provides critical technical assistance to all 26 foster care agencies around helping young people obtain and maintain housing.

Mecca has extensive professional and lived experience in child welfare, including as a Preparing Youth for Adulthood Specialist, Early Intervention Specialist, Family Foster Care Supervisor, Legal Advocate within Family Court, and a Coordinator for the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.

As an alumnus of the NYC foster care system, she understands the needs of our youth and has spent the last twenty years empowering youth and collaborating with staff and the community to support vulnerable populations.  Mecca was born in Harlem, placed in NYC foster care at the tender age of 3, and discharged to “Independent Living” at age 19.  She considered post-secondary education as a refuge and became an agent of change.

Mecca graduated from SUNY Stony Brook, where she received her MSW, and has spoken at many organizations and foundations to bring awareness to youth in and out of NYC foster care.

Gregory Paul

Director of Learning & Information
(Consultant)

Gregory Paul is the Center’s Director of Learning Management, overseeing the launch of the Learning Management System to improve how training is delivered and tracked.  Gregory began his career in the academic and nonprofit sector in 1994. Since that time, he has consulted and trained a variety of education-centered organizations in the areas of strategic planning, conflict resolution, youth development, leadership development, and team building.  He has worked for the City University of New York as a Curriculum Developer/Trainer and at the NYC Police Athletic League.

His dedication to community, education, and service has assisted in the establishment of the consulting company StepUp EdCorp and a nonprofit organization called Student Step Up Scholarship Fund. He has earned Master’s degrees in both Educational Leadership and Business Education from New York University Steinhardt School of Culture,  Education, and Human Development. He is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Informatics Science at Long Island University Post.

Meet the Data & Evaluation Team!

Nadine Yuvienco

Data Director (Consultant)

Nadine Yuvienco is the Center’s Data Director, overseeing a dedicated team committed to using data to inform programming and improve youth outcomes. Nadine led the development of the Fair Futures online platform (Care4), tailored it to the model, and rolled out the platform to all 26 agencies.  She provides technical assistance, analyzes data, ensures data integrity and quality, and makes continuous improvements to the platform’s content, reporting, and functionality.

Nadine has over 16 years of experience in data analysis, reporting, and programming as a data analyst and consultant for a number of NYC child welfare organizations. She worked as a Program Analyst in the Quality Improvement department at Graham Windham and then oversaw all of the data/reporting for their coaching program, serving over 400 young people. 

Nadine Yuvienco graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and then went on to graduate from Columbia University School of Social Work with a Master of Science in Social Work.

Tejal Patel

Data Analyst (Consultant)

Tejal Patel is a consultant and provides data analysis for nonprofit organizations. Tejal's background is in chemical engineering and has worked in public and private sector.

Matt Sexton

Care4 Trainer

Coming Soon!

Meet the Innovation Team!

Anthony Turner

Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Coordinator

Anthony Turner, or “Tony”, is the Fair Futures Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Coordinator and a critical member of the Center’s “Opportunity Year” initiative.

Tony has significant professional and lived experience in the foster care system.  He was born in Brooklyn, NY and was placed in foster care at the age of 14, where he spent 7 years in kinship care. Despite the obstacles he faced on his educational journey, Tony graduated from Columbia University with his Masters degree. At the Center, Tony supports the YAB with their advocacy priority to increase access to quality, safe, affordable housing.  Having taken a “Gap Year” himself, Tony is a leader on the Opportunity Year initiative.  When not being a Superhero for youth in need, Tony spends his time reading classic literature, listening to music, traveling across the country and meeting new people.

Liz Nellis Headshot

Liz Nellis

Consultant

Liz Nellis supports the Center for Fair Futures’ strategic growth and innovation initiatives. She brings to the team extensive experience in philanthropy, primarily at the Tiger Foundation, which awards grants to help alleviate poverty and create transformative opportunities for New Yorkers in the areas of education, workforce development, family support, and criminal justice.

As a consultant, Liz has advised both service providers and grantmaking foundations on growth and impact strategies. She received an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, where she specialized in sustainable business and innovation, and was an Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS) fellow. Liz is thrilled to be a part of the vibrant, heart-forward Fair Futures community.

Jamel Robinson

Consultant

Jamel Robinson is a consultant working on the Soul Care and LGBTQIA+ initiatives under the Fair Futures Innovation Arm. Jamel is a serial social entrepreneur, public speaker, foster care expert, and a social activist. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Foster Youth Impact (FYI), a Harlem based social justice organization on the new frontier of social innovation working to dismantle the status quo to narrow the racial wealth, and opportunity gaps facing NYC foster youth.

Jamel’s specializations exist in the practice community and human services; foster youth mental health and innovation; social entrepreneurship and innovation; nonprofit leadership and management; social and public policy; and strategic partnerships.

Jamel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community in Human Services from SUNY Empire State College in New York City. He holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership degree and an Executive Education Certificate from the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in social and public policy and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from the School of Graduate Studies at SUNY Empire State College. Jamel resides in Harlem, New York.

Rashida Abuwala

Consultant

Rashida Abuwala, Principal of Community Impact Advisors, is a consultant on the Center’s Opportunity Year team, leading the research and providing valuable input around program design.  Rashida has worked for over 15 years as a foundation and non-profit executive to improve the performance of public systems and social programs with thoughtful and collaborative grantmaking, research, program design, public-private partnerships and non-profit management in areas of social and economic justice including child welfare, youth development, education, community development and criminal justice.

Starting her career as a community organizer, Rashida has expertise in social research, program strategy, evaluation and design. She has presented at national and local conferences and authored several articles and papers on topics related to social and economic justice. A proud graduate of New York City public schools, Rashida also holds an honors BA from Wesleyan University and an honors MSc from the London School of Economics.

Stephen Hanmer D’Elia

Consultant

For the past 24 years Stephen Hanmer D’Elía, JD, LMSW has led, designed, and implemented policies, programs, and direct clinical work for children, youth, and families. He is also a part of the Center’s Opportunity Year team, conducting interviews, research, and providing valuable strategic guidance and input around program design and execution.

Stephen has worked and lived in over 20 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. His experience includes leading UNICEF’s work with legislative branches of government and religious communities; directing education, youth, and parent support programs for one of the largest child welfare agencies in the United States; conducting individual and group therapy with children, youth, and parents; and overseeing the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of child protection and refugee programs in Africa and the Middle East for one of the largest international humanitarian organizations.

Stephen has been recognized with various awards and accolades, including an Aspen Institute Fellowship as part of the American Express Leadership Academy for Nonprofit Leaders.

Stephen has Law (J.D.) and Social Work (L.M.S.W.) degrees from Columbia University and a History (B.A.) degree from Yale University.  Born in Colombia, Stephen holds Uruguayan, American, and British citizenships. For more You information, click here.

Meet the Model Implementation & Professional Development Team!

Provides implementation and professional development supports to all organizations adopting the Fair Futures model.

Emil Ramnarine

Co-Executive Director (Consultant)

Katie Napolitano

Co-Executive Director (Consultant)

Tracy Jenkins

Innovation & Strategic Partnerships (Consultant)

Emil Ramnarine is an impact leader that has 25 years in child welfare, youth development, and social entrepreneurship. Emil specializes in strategic design and the building and scaling of programs that lead to long-lasting positive changes.  Prior to his work with Fair Futures, Emil served as the Associate Vice President for Youth and Community Success at Graham Windham.  

It was here that he helped build one of the country's largest coaching programs for youth ages 11-26.  This work included operationalizing how Coaches and Program Specialists can help guide young people towards goal achievement in the areas of career, education, housing, and independent living.

In addition to this work, Emil has worked for nationally affiliated nonprofits including Big Brother Big Sisters of New York City and the YMCA of Greater New York.  At Big Brothers Big Sisters, he helped design their Center for Excellence, a training center that specializes in helping other non-profits build, run and/or enhance their own mentoring program. He also created and held the position of their first-ever Director of Volunteer Recruitment & Support. A primary function of the role was to train and prepare Bigs (volunteer mentor) on how to work effectively with their Littles (youth).  

At the YMCA of Greater New York Emil took the Y-MVP Health and Fitness Coaching Program from concept to implementation in less than a year. This program was rolled out to 22 YMCA branches across NYC serving over 1,000 youth. This work included developing the program curriculum, a program model, a compatible app and training all Coaches.  

Emil also spent some time in the social entrepreneurship space where he was the founder and CEO of Fit 4 Life NYC, an organization dedicated to delivering quality sports, fitness and wellness programs to schools and non-profits that serve youth in underserved communities. He led a team of 80 coaches, instructors, and administrators to become one of New York City’s leading organizations (winner of the Best for NYC award and Best for the Community award. Emil developed the company’s infrastructure, strategic vision, and core values before successfully guiding the sale of the business in 2019.

Katie Napolitano has worked with dozens of national and international non-profit organizations in a funding and consulting capacity, providing strategic guidance and capital to help fuel their growth and success. Prior to Fair Futures, Katie was a Program Officer at the Tiger Foundation.

While in that role, Katie assessed dozens of organizations in K-12 education, college access/success, workforce development, child welfare, and criminal justice. This provided her with a strong comparative perspective of the best practice approaches and effective models in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families.

Katie left philanthropy to help coordinate Fair Futures so that every young person in NYC’s foster care system could have a Coach – someone who believes in them, helps them achieve their goals and potential, and sticks with them over the long-run.  Katie’s role with Fair Futures has spanned advocacy, model codification, coordination with foundations, ACS, and coalition members, and supporting all 26 agencies with model implementation.

Throughout her career, Katie has provided strategic consulting and financial advisory to non-profits in NYC and globally. She conducted year-long strategic consultancies for two large NYC foster care organizations, helping them scale and codify their programs and infuse best practices at critical junctures.

Katie also spent time as a social entrepreneur; she was a Vice President and founding employee of Treetops Capital, a fund management company she helped build to become a “Top 50” social impact investor globally.  At Treetops, Katie helped oversee the company’s funds, raised private and public funding, and developed all of the social impact metrics and due diligence, monitoring, and reporting procedures.  She previously spent time on Wall Street covering emerging market financial institutions.

For the last decade, Katie has also served as Coach to over a dozen foster youth, providing emotional support and assisting them with their academic and career goals. Katie and her husband adopted three young men who aged out of foster care. She is currently on the board of CASA NYC.

Tracy Jenkins is a transformational leader, with expertise in program development, program leadership, and program implementation, with an emphasis on strategic management. Tracy is a licensed Social Worker and has over 15 years of experience working in child welfare and youth development.  

Prior to joining The Center, Tracy served as the Vice President of LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Achievement Pathways) at JCCA, where she successfully spearheaded a dramatic expansion of its programming, staffing, and scope. This included a more than quadrupled staff size with the implementation of Fair Futures; the integration and build out of LEAP programs across JCCA campus and city locations; and significant enhancements and growth to JCCA’s early literacy, tutoring and academic enrichment initiatives. Tracy also deftly strengthened programming across all areas at JCCA, infused data into LEAP management, and established partnerships with new community organizations to support young people on their pathways to self-sufficiency.

Most recently, Tracy worked to further expand the Fair Futures Program by bringing a racial and gender equity programming lens to coaching for transition age youth.  

In addition to this work, Tracy began her career as a Child Protective Specialist for the Administration for Children’s Services where she responded directly to reports of child abuse and/or neglect. Using investigatory and social work skills, Tracy engaged and partnered with families and community resources to ensure the safety and well-being of children throughout New York City.

Tracy’s commitment to her professional and leadership development advanced her as a leader within various roles at JCCA, including program management and development, performance evaluation and policy development, and project management.  

As a leader, Tracy continuously possesses a clear vision and prioritizes courage, integrity, honesty, humility and clear focus. Tracy’s motto is that “the art of communication is the language of leadership.” Tracy has a communication and leadership style that is empathic, authentic and exudes executive presence.

Holly Smeltzer

Relationship Manager (Consultant)

Cashay Haffoney

Director of Coaching & Wellness (Consultant)

Donald Duggan

Relationship Manager (Consultant)

Holly Smeltzer is a Relationship Manager for the Center, providing a range of training, technical assistance, and implementation supports to 13 foster care agency leaders and staff with implementing, scaling, and continuously improving their Fair Futures programs.

Holly has extensive experience working in the child welfare and youth development fields.  Before coming to the Center, she was the Fair Futures Program Director at the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services.  Holly’s calling to work alongside and advocate for young people in foster care stems from being a foster parent and witnessing the failures of the child welfare system on young people in her care. She is incredibly passionate about her work and strives to employ this passion to fulfill her commitment to young people in foster care, particularly those who are part of the LGBTQAI+ community.  

She is incredibly proud to be part of the Fair Futures community and has been a Fair Futures champion from the first moment she joined young people, advocates, and other coalition members on the steps of City Hall.  Holly Smeltzer is a first-generation college graduate, receiving her Bachelor of Science from Radford University and her Master of Public Administration from Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Cashay Haffoney (she/her) is the Center’s Director of Coaching and Wellness, providing a range of coaching and professional development supports to implementing agencies, including onboarding, youth engagement, group facilitation, and peer group formation.  Cashay also supports the YAB Coordinator and advocacy efforts.

Cashay is a youth development expert and passionate leader who is a lifelong champion for positive youth development practices, coaching, and development. For over a decade she has worked fervently designing curriculums and launching programs that support the elevation of young adults. She has partnered with a cornucopia of institutions and organizations whose aim is to connect with youth, families and professionals in NYC and throughout the tri-state area.  

Cashay has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from West Virginia State University and is a Certified Life Coach.  She is in the process of completing her Master of Arts degree in Youth Studies at the CUNY School Of Professional Studies.

Donald (“Don”) Duggan is a Relationship Manager for the Center, providing a range of training, technical assistance, and implementation supports to 13 foster care agency leaders and staff with implementing, scaling, and continuously improving their Fair Futures programs.  

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Don has spent the last decade serving those impacted by the child welfare system. Prior to joining the Center for Fair Futures, Donald worked at HeartShare St. Vincent's Services where he held a variety of roles such as Case Planner, Permanency Pact Coordinator, Intensive Permanency Services Specialist, Youth Development Specialist, Success Coach Supervisor, and Director of Success and Housing Services. Don is a proud alumni of Binghamton University where he obtained his BS in Human Development and alumni of Baruch college where he obtained his MPA in Nonprofit Management. He is also a New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow.

Mecca Phiziny

Senior Housing Consultant

Gregory Paul

Director of Learning & Information (Consultant)

Mecca Phiziny is a Senior Housing Consultant at City Living NY and part of the Center’s Implementation team.  She provides critical technical assistance to all 26 foster care agencies around helping young people obtain and maintain housing.

Mecca has extensive professional and lived experience in child welfare, including as a Preparing Youth for Adulthood Specialist, Early Intervention Specialist, Family Foster Care Supervisor, Legal Advocate within Family Court, and a Coordinator for the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.

As an alumnus of the NYC foster care system, she understands the needs of our youth and has spent the last twenty years empowering youth and collaborating with staff and the community to support vulnerable populations.  Mecca was born in Harlem, placed in NYC foster care at the tender age of 3, and discharged to “Independent Living” at age 19.  She considered post-secondary education as a refuge and became an agent of change.

Mecca graduated from SUNY Stony Brook, where she received her MSW, and has spoken at many organizations and foundations to bring awareness to youth in and out of NYC foster care.

Gregory Paul is the Center’s Director of Learning Management, overseeing the launch of the Learning Management System to improve how training is delivered and tracked.  Gregory began his career in the academic and nonprofit sector in 1994. Since that time, he has consulted and trained a variety of education-centered organizations in the areas of strategic planning, conflict resolution, youth development, leadership development, and team building.  He has worked for the City University of New York as a Curriculum Developer/Trainer and at the NYC Police Athletic League.

His dedication to community, education, and service has assisted in the establishment of the consulting company StepUp EdCorp and a nonprofit organization called Student Step Up Scholarship Fund. He has earned Master’s degrees in both Educational Leadership and Business Education from New York University Steinhardt School of Culture,  Education, and Human Development. He is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Informatics Science at Long Island University Post.

Meet the Data & Evaluation Team!

Nadine Yuvienco

Data Director (Consultant)

Tejal Patel

Data Analyst (Consultant)

Matt Sexton

Care4 Trainer

Nadine Yuvienco is the Center’s Data Director, overseeing a dedicated team committed to using data to inform programming and improve youth outcomes. Nadine led the development of the Fair Futures online platform (Care4), tailored it to the model, and rolled out the platform to all 26 agencies.  She provides technical assistance, analyzes data, ensures data integrity and quality, and makes continuous improvements to the platform’s content, reporting, and functionality.

Nadine has over 16 years of experience in data analysis, reporting, and programming as a data analyst and consultant for a number of NYC child welfare organizations. She worked as a Program Analyst in the Quality Improvement department at Graham Windham and then oversaw all of the data/reporting for their coaching program, serving over 400 young people. 

Nadine Yuvienco graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and then went on to graduate from Columbia University School of Social Work with a Master of Science in Social Work.

Tejal Patel is a consultant and provides data analysis for nonprofit organizations. Tejal's background is in chemical engineering and has worked in public and private sector.

Coming Soon!

Nadine Yuvienco is the Center’s Data Director, overseeing a dedicated team committed to using data to inform programming and improve youth outcomes. Nadine led the development of the Fair Futures online platform (Care4), tailored it to the model, and rolled out the platform to all 26 agencies.  She provides technical assistance, analyzes data, ensures data integrity and quality, and makes continuous improvements to the platform’s content, reporting, and functionality.

Nadine has over 16 years of experience in data analysis, reporting, and programming as a data analyst and consultant for a number of NYC child welfare organizations. She worked as a Program Analyst in the Quality Improvement department at Graham Windham and then oversaw all of the data/reporting for their coaching program, serving over 400 young people. 

Nadine Yuvienco graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and then went on to graduate from Columbia University School of Social Work with a Master of Science in Social Work.

Meet the Innovation Team!

Anthony Turner

Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Coordinator

Liz Nellis Headshot

Liz Nellis

Consultant

Jamel Robinson

Consultant

Anthony Turner, or “Tony”, is the Fair Futures Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Coordinator and a critical member of the Center’s “Opportunity Year” initiative.

Tony has significant professional and lived experience in the foster care system.  He was born in Brooklyn, NY and was placed in foster care at the age of 14, where he spent 7 years in kinship care. Despite the obstacles he faced on his educational journey, Tony graduated from Columbia University with his Masters degree. At the Center, Tony supports the YAB with their advocacy priority to increase access to quality, safe, affordable housing.  Having taken a “Gap Year” himself, Tony is a leader on the Opportunity Year initiative.  When not being a Superhero for youth in need, Tony spends his time reading classic literature, listening to music, traveling across the country and meeting new people.

Liz Nellis supports the Center for Fair Futures’ strategic growth and innovation initiatives. She brings to the team extensive experience in philanthropy, primarily at the Tiger Foundation, which awards grants to help alleviate poverty and create transformative opportunities for New Yorkers in the areas of education, workforce development, family support, and criminal justice.

As a consultant, Liz has advised both service providers and grantmaking foundations on growth and impact strategies. She received an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, where she specialized in sustainable business and innovation, and was an Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS) fellow. Liz is thrilled to be a part of the vibrant, heart-forward Fair Futures community.

Jamel Robinson is a consultant working on the Soul Care and LGBTQIA+ initiatives under the Fair Futures Innovation Arm. Jamel is a serial social entrepreneur, public speaker, foster care expert, and a social activist. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Foster Youth Impact (FYI), a Harlem based social justice organization on the new frontier of social innovation working to dismantle the status quo to narrow the racial wealth, and opportunity gaps facing NYC foster youth.

Jamel’s specializations exist in the practice community and human services; foster youth mental health and innovation; social entrepreneurship and innovation; nonprofit leadership and management; social and public policy; and strategic partnerships.

Jamel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community in Human Services from SUNY Empire State College in New York City. He holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership degree and an Executive Education Certificate from the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University. He also earned a Master of Arts degree in social and public policy and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from the School of Graduate Studies at SUNY Empire State College. Jamel resides in Harlem, New York.

Rashida Abuwala

Consultant

Stephen Hanmer D’Elia

Consultant

Rashida Abuwala, Principal of Community Impact Advisors, is a consultant on the Center’s Opportunity Year team, leading the research and providing valuable input around program design.  Rashida has worked for over 15 years as a foundation and non-profit executive to improve the performance of public systems and social programs with thoughtful and collaborative grantmaking, research, program design, public-private partnerships and non-profit management in areas of social and economic justice including child welfare, youth development, education, community development and criminal justice.

Starting her career as a community organizer, Rashida has expertise in social research, program strategy, evaluation and design. She has presented at national and local conferences and authored several articles and papers on topics related to social and economic justice. A proud graduate of New York City public schools, Rashida also holds an honors BA from Wesleyan University and an honors MSc from the London School of Economics.

For the past 24 years Stephen Hanmer D’Elía, JD, LMSW has led, designed, and implemented policies, programs, and direct clinical work for children, youth, and families. He is also a part of the Center’s Opportunity Year team, conducting interviews, research, and providing valuable strategic guidance and input around program design and execution.

Stephen has worked and lived in over 20 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. His experience includes leading UNICEF’s work with legislative branches of government and religious communities; directing education, youth, and parent support programs for one of the largest child welfare agencies in the United States; conducting individual and group therapy with children, youth, and parents; and overseeing the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of child protection and refugee programs in Africa and the Middle East for one of the largest international humanitarian organizations.

Stephen has been recognized with various awards and accolades, including an Aspen Institute Fellowship as part of the American Express Leadership Academy for Nonprofit Leaders.

Stephen has Law (J.D.) and Social Work (L.M.S.W.) degrees from Columbia University and a History (B.A.) degree from Yale University.  Born in Colombia, Stephen holds Uruguayan, American, and British citizenships. For more You information, click here.

Learn more about the Center’s Youth-Informed Innovation Projects

Emil Ramnarine is an impact leader that has 25 years in child welfare, youth development, and social entrepreneurship. Emil specializes in strategic design and the building and scaling of programs that lead to long-lasting positive changes.  Prior to his work with Fair Futures, Emil served as the Associate Vice President for Youth and Community Success at Graham Windham.  

It was here that he helped build one of the country's largest coaching programs for youth ages 11-26.  This work included operationalizing how Coaches and Program Specialists can help guide young people towards goal achievement in the areas of career, education, housing, and independent living.

In addition to this work, Emil has worked for nationally affiliated nonprofits including Big Brother Big Sisters of New York City and the YMCA of Greater New York.  At Big Brothers Big Sisters, he helped design their Center for Excellence, a training center that specializes in helping other non-profits build, run and/or enhance their own mentoring program. He also created and held the position of their first-ever Director of Volunteer Recruitment & Support. A primary function of the role was to train and prepare Bigs (volunteer mentor) on how to work effectively with their Littles (youth).  

At the YMCA of Greater New York Emil took the Y-MVP Health and Fitness Coaching Program from concept to implementation in less than a year. This program was rolled out to 22 YMCA branches across NYC serving over 1,000 youth. This work included developing the program curriculum, a program model, a compatible app and training all Coaches.  

Emil also spent some time in the social entrepreneurship space where he was the founder and CEO of Fit 4 Life NYC, an organization dedicated to delivering quality sports, fitness and wellness programs to schools and non-profits that serve youth in underserved communities. He led a team of 80 coaches, instructors, and administrators to become one of New York City’s leading organizations (winner of the Best for NYC award and Best for the Community award.  Emil developed the company’s infrastructure, strategic vision, and core values before successfully guiding the sale of the business in 2019.

Katie Napolitano has worked with dozens of national and international non-profit organizations in a funding and consulting capacity, providing strategic guidance and capital to help fuel their growth and success. Prior to Fair Futures, Katie was a Program Officer at the Tiger Foundation.

While in that role, Katie assessed dozens of organizations in K-12 education, college access/success, workforce development, child welfare, and criminal justice. This provided her with a strong comparative perspective of the best practice approaches and effective models in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families.

Katie left philanthropy to help coordinate Fair Futures so that every young person in NYC’s foster care system could have a Coach – someone who believes in them, helps them achieve their goals and potential, and sticks with them over the long-run.  Katie’s role with Fair Futures has spanned advocacy, model codification, coordination with foundations, ACS, and coalition members, and supporting all 26 agencies with model implementation.

Throughout her career, Katie has provided strategic consulting and financial advisory to non-profits in NYC and globally. She also conducted year-long strategic consultancies for two large NYC foster care organizations, helping them scale and codify their programs and infuse best practices at critical junctures.

Katie also spent time as a social entrepreneur; she was a Vice President and founding employee of Treetops Capital, a fund management company she helped build to become a “Top 50” social impact investor globally.  At Treetops, Katie helped oversee the company’s funds, raised private and public funding, and developed all of the social impact metrics and due diligence, monitoring, and reporting procedures.  She previously spent time on Wall Street covering emerging market financial institutions.

For the last decade, Katie has also served as Coach to over a dozen foster youth, providing emotional support and assisting them with their academic and career goals. Katie and her husband adopted three young men who aged out of foster care. She is currently on the board of CASA NYC.

Emil Ramnarine is an impact leader that has 25 years in child welfare, youth development, and social entrepreneurship. Emil specializes in strategic design and the building and scaling of programs that lead to long-lasting positive changes.  Prior to his work with Fair Futures, Emil served as the Associate Vice President for Youth and Community Success at Graham Windham.  

It was here that he helped build one of the country's largest coaching programs for youth ages 11-26.  This work included operationalizing how Coaches and Program Specialists can help guide young people towards goal achievement in the areas of career, education, housing, and independent living.

In addition to this work, Emil has worked for nationally affiliated nonprofits including Big Brother Big Sisters of New York City and the YMCA of Greater New York.  At Big Brothers Big Sisters, he helped design their Center for Excellence, a training center that specializes in helping other non-profits build, run and/or enhance their own mentoring program. He also created and held the position of their first-ever Director of Volunteer Recruitment & Support. A primary function of the role was to train and prepare Bigs (volunteer mentor) on how to work effectively with their Littles (youth).  

At the YMCA of Greater New York Emil took the Y-MVP Health and Fitness Coaching Program from concept to implementation in less than a year. This program was rolled out to 22 YMCA branches across NYC serving over 1,000 youth. This work included developing the program curriculum, a program model, a compatible app and training all Coaches.  

Emil also spent some time in the social entrepreneurship space where he was the founder and CEO of Fit 4 Life NYC, an organization dedicated to delivering quality sports, fitness and wellness programs to schools and non-profits that serve youth in underserved communities. He led a team of 80 coaches, instructors, and administrators to become one of New York City’s leading organizations (winner of the Best for NYC award and Best for the Community award. Emil developed the company’s infrastructure, strategic vision, and core values before successfully guiding the sale of the business in 2019.

Katie Napolitano has worked with dozens of national and international non-profit organizations in a funding and consulting capacity, providing strategic guidance and capital to help fuel their growth and success. Prior to Fair Futures, Katie was a Program Officer at the Tiger Foundation.

While in that role, Katie assessed dozens of organizations in K-12 education, college access/success, workforce development, child welfare, and criminal justice. This provided her with a strong comparative perspective of the best practice approaches and effective models in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families.

Katie left philanthropy to help coordinate Fair Futures so that every young person in NYC’s foster care system could have a Coach – someone who believes in them, helps them achieve their goals and potential, and sticks with them over the long-run.  Katie’s role with Fair Futures has spanned advocacy, model codification, coordination with foundations, ACS, and coalition members, and supporting all 26 agencies with model implementation.

Throughout her career, Katie has provided strategic consulting and financial advisory to non-profits in NYC and globally. She conducted year-long strategic consultancies for two large NYC foster care organizations, helping them scale and codify their programs and infuse best practices at critical junctures.

Katie also spent time as a social entrepreneur; she was a Vice President and founding employee of Treetops Capital, a fund management company she helped build to become a “Top 50” social impact investor globally.  At Treetops, Katie helped oversee the company’s funds, raised private and public funding, and developed all of the social impact metrics and due diligence, monitoring, and reporting procedures.  She previously spent time on Wall Street covering emerging market financial institutions.

For the last decade, Katie has also served as Coach to over a dozen foster youth, providing emotional support and assisting them with their academic and career goals. Katie and her husband adopted three young men who aged out of foster care. She is currently on the board of CASA NYC.

Meet our Training and Technical Assistant Consultant: Jennifer Pierre

Jennifer brings a wealth of workforce and education knowledge and expertise from several New York City non-profit agencies, NYC DOE and NYC ACS.

Prior to joining Fair Futures, she was the Deputy Executive Director for the Workforce & Education division at Phipps Neighborhoods strengthening the Kindergarten to college/career continuum.

Additionally, Jennifer managed a portfolio of philanthropic, educational institutions and government funded projects, servicing 1,200+ practitioners and leaders as the Director of Consulting with Workforce Professional Training Institute (WPTI). In partnership with 25+ subject matter experts, she led the organizational consulting practice area which included strategic planning, professional development, program design and implementation for evidence-based program models, curriculum development and resource/tool development. Her passion is to continue supporting leaders with developing new strategies that get results and provide resources to support educational advancement, work-readiness and professional development services for children, youth and their families.

In 2016, Jennifer played a pivotal role in developing processes that would meet NYS Education Department requirements as the Deputy Director of Continuing Education Units and Community Collaborations at ACS in collaboration with CUNY School of Professional Studies. ACS being an approved provider of continuing education units for licensed social workers, Jennifer had the opportunity to review and approve curriculum that supported recertification efforts and strengthen skills of ACS and provider agency staff to better support NYC children, families and communities. Additionally, she managed the Dr. James R. Dumpson Scholarship Program, which was awarded $532,000 to support ACS staff professional development through advanced studies in social services assisting 100+ grantees through the Professional Development Program.

Before joining ACS, Jennifer provided direct service in different roles to over 1,000 children, youth and young adults in partnership with the DOE throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. Utilizing the positive youth development framework, her services included counseling towards establishing individual career pathways, providing work-readiness development and placement of paid internships throughout NYC.

In partnership with 100+ local businesses, she found creative ways to expose youth, young adults and their families to opportunities that would provide a new perspective towards self-sufficiency and success. In order to help strengthen and empower the youth and their families, Jennifer acted as translator by further assisting families with completing financial aid, immigration documentation, discussing the importance of attendance and adapting the financial shift some families would be able to sustain while receiving public assistance.

Being a Puerto Rican and Haitian born in Middletown, NY, Jennifer grew up amongst each social class quickly learning the importance of community support and the right resources to become self-sufficient.

To further support the greater community, she received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a specialization in Law and Public Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from City University of New York John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she was recognized as a Phi Alpha Alpha member.

Our Youth Advisory Board Coordinator

Meet Ericka

Our Training / Technical Assistance Partners

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