Board of Directors

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Jackelyn Garcia

CFRE/ President
Jackelyn Garcia is the current Vice President of Development for Black Girls CODE where she leads fundraising efforts for the $20M organization. With 20 years of experience in fundraising and marketing/communications, she has experience in general organization management and development and external relations functions. Jackelyn has served in various Development functions for NYC based youth development and community organizations including Hudson Guild and Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. She is an active member of Women in Development and holds a strong passion for helping young people. Jackelyn holds a B.A. from Allegheny College and a Certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University.

Lizbeth Adams

Vice President
Lizbeth Adams received her Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Boston College. She began her career as a psychologist but early on segued into the securities industry where she held positions in Human Resources and Sales. Lizbeth served as Board President of Our House Foundation which provides housing and employment placement of developmentally disabled adults. She additionally served on the Board of Youth Communication, an organization that provides powerful, teen-written stories and professional development to help educators and youth workers engage struggling youth. Lizbeth currently serves on the Board of the Foundation for Justice through Education, which has funded unique educational programs at universities in the United States and England.

Jonathan Savitt

Jon brings his current and prior financial experience working with grants and non-profits to our Board. Jon is currently the Deputy Director of Financial Planning & Analysis with the Center for Justice Innovation, a New York non-profit focused on criminal justice reform and community development. He oversees the FP&A team, the monthly & quarterly variance reporting, and the annual budgeting process at the center. Jon previously worked with Northwell Health as a Finance Specialist for the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, where he oversaw over 60 active healthcare research and service projects. Jon has his B.S. in Accounting from SUNY Geneseo and is passionate about helping non-profits and helping us achieve our mission.

Kelsey Kovas

Kelsey Kovas serves as the Senior Community Outreach Manager at First Republic Bank where she oversees their financial education and workforce development programming throughout New York and Connecticut. She attended Marymount Manhattan College, studying Business with a focus in Media and Arts Management. Kelsey’s extensive dedication to numerous community partners and schools over the past decade has provided her with significant opportunities to engage with, and better understand, New York’s youth.

Reia Balchan

Board Member
Reia Balchan currently leads the global fees management function at Wells Fargo within the legal strategy and innovation team. Before joining Wells Fargo, Reia served as Director of Strategic Planning at BNP Paribas, where she managed a variety of special projects, digital initiatives, and other operational and financial support for the Americas legal team. She previously led a team that supported debt and derivatives transactions for the treasury legal department at GE Capital and served as Vice President at JP Morgan Chase / Bear Stearns, where she drafted and negotiated ISDA master agreements and other credit support documentation. Reia is passionate about working with children in foster care and previously volunteered with CASA-NYC. She is excited to bring her skills and passion to working with youth and supporting their journey to independence.

Rinku Bhattacharya

CMA/Board Member
Currently CFO at Lutheran Social Services of New York, Rinku has served in a variety of financial leadership roles in the non-profit space throughout her career. She was formerly the CFO at WestCOP, Director of Finance at JASA, Vice President/CFO at Birch Family Services, Director of Finance at Andrus Children’s Center and CFO at Westhab, Inc. Rinku is also an adjunct professor of Accounting at Manhattanville College. Rinku holds an MS in Public Administration from New School University and MBA in Finance from the University of Bridgeport and attended an Executive Level Program at Columbia University. Rinku is a member of IMA’s Global Board of Directors and also a current Board Member and Treasurer at CLUSTER, Inc. and former Board Chair of Literacy Volunteers of Westchester and Rockland County.

Samantha A. Fried

LCSW/ Board Member
Samantha is the Program Policy and Practice Development Director at JCCA, where she works on agency-wide best practice initiatives to advance, support and improve the delivery of child welfare and mental health services to children and families throughout NYC. Samantha began her career as a foster care case planner at New Alternatives For Children and then spent four years as a Forensic Social Worker at the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice. She then transitioned to the Center for Court Innovation and oversaw a $2.5 million dollar federal grant to create a package of interactive educational materials to facilitate the provision of effective, developmentally appropriate court support to empower children involved in criminal and civil/family court cases. Samantha has presented at conferences around the country about best practice work in preparing children for court, and has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, NYU’s Silver School of Social Work and the Fordham University School of Law and Graduate School of Social Service. Samantha holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s of Science in Social Work with a Minor in Law from Columbia University.

Geraldine Hansell

Board Member
Principal at Apollo Global Management, a leading global alternative asset manager, where she is the Chief Operating Officer of the Private Equity business, focusing on business strategy and operational excellence. Prior to that, Geraldine was the Chief of Staff to Apollo’s Co-Presidents and also held positions within Apollo’s Strategic Finance team focusing on its Credit, Private Equity and Real Assets businesses. Previously, she held an analyst position at the hedge fund Tudor Investment Corporation and also worked on the Institutional and Retail strategy teams at TD Ameritrade. Geraldine has extensive experience in financial analysis, investment management and strategic planning. Geraldine currently serves on the board of directors of Brightspeed and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.

Christina Holdrege

LMSW/ Board Member
Christina serves as Special Initiatives Manager at the Women & Justice Project. She oversees a variety of initiatives, including the organization’s efforts to engage in partner work in ways that are transformative and healing. Christina serves as a key advisor on WJP’s strategic growth, and spearheads the organization’s efforts to collect and disseminate data related to women’s incarceration and leadership. Prior to joining WJP, Christina was a nonprofit consultant and served as adjunct lecturer at Columbia School of Social Work and Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare. Christina also worked at the Incarcerated Mothers Program of Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families where she supervised frontline staff and oversaw all aspects of service provision, and served as the Brooklyn Borough Coordinator at Court Appointed Special Advocates NYC. She is a longtime member of the Coalition for Women Prisoners, co-chairing its Incarcerated Mothers Committee for five years. Christina holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Welfare from SUNY Albany.

Nicole Johnson

Board Member
Nicole Johnson is currently the Acting Legal Director at Safe Passage Project, an organization that provides free legal services to immigrant youth facing deportation. Prior to joining to Safe Passage Project in 2018, she was a Senior Staff Attorney with the Immigration Intervention Project of Sanctuary for Families at the Bronx Family Justice Center, representing victims of gender-based violence in a variety of immigration matters. Before joining Sanctuary for Families, she was an Associate attorney at Salmen Navarro Law. Nicole received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Mills College in Oakland, California and then joined the Peace Corps where she was a Youth Development Volunteer in Peru for 2 years. She returned from Peru with a dedication to international human rights and received her J.D from Rutgers School of Law-Newark while continuing her public interest work. Nicole was a Kinoy-Stavis Public Interest Fellow, helping to lead the Rutgers Newark Community in Public Interest. She was also a Deborah T. Portiz Public Interest Law Fellow at Legal Services of New Jersey. Nicole additionally worked in the Constitutional Litigation Clinic and assisted in the organization of the then newly formed Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Rutgers-Newark.

Charell Star

Board Member
Charell Star is Executive Director of Muse by Clio, the world’s most discerning premier publication covering the best in creativity in advertising and beyond. A visionary storyteller with a career that spans nearly two decades across the advertising industry, Charell is renowned as a pop culture aficionado who is deeply connected to the realms of media, culture, technology, and style. As a sought-after segment contributor and expert in style, fashion, tech, and culture, she has graced platforms such as Fox 5 Good Day New York,  NBC New York Live, and AKC.TV. She is also a nationally recognized foster care and adoption advocate. A former foster youth herself, Charell passionately uses her platform to improve the lives of youth in care around the country.

Christina Young

Board Member/City Living Alumna
Christina joined the City Living Board after participating in our program. Christina received her BS in Criminal Justice from John Jay College/CUNY in 2018. Christina worked at the Amethyst’s Women’s Project, Safe Horizon, and Arts and Literacy After School and Summer Program, all while attending high school before graduating as her class valedictorian. Christina began her career at iFoster in 2018, where she started as a Program Specialist. Christina was promoted to her current role as Job Success Coordinator & Trainer, where she develops and facilitates professional development curriculum content for transitional aged youth. Christina is currently a law student at Fordham Law School. CLNY values the voice and lived experience that Christina brings to us as we ensure we are involving the community we serve.