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Gay Le Pratt Quote – when released from prison

“When you are released from prison you have a sense of loss and you think you have to fix everything right away. CCF helps you to take one step at a time and to create a new purpose in life.”
–Gay Le Pratt

Peter Bakstansky Quote – Payback

“The payback for the work CCF does is beyond the individual – it’s also felt in the family and the community.”
– Peter Bakstansky, CCF Board Chair

Jan Risë Liss

Jan LissJan Risë Liss joined Project Pericles as its second Executive Director in 2005. At Project Pericles she has led the development of the Civic Engagement Course (CEC)™ Program, Debating for Democracy (D4D)™, the Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL)™ Program, and the Creating Cohesive Paths to Civic Engagement project. She has senior leadership experience in management, planning, and financial development for a wide range of organizations, including The Aspen Institute, Consumers Reports, The New York Public Library, The Brookings Institution, American Express, and The Portland Art Association. The most recent White Paper, The Periclean Diamond: Linking College Classrooms, Campuses, Communities, and Colleagues via Social and Civic High Engagement Learning by Ben Berger and Jan R. Liss, is available on the Project Pericles website. Continue reading

Jacki Kelly

jacki-kelly-101x119Jacki Kelly is a passionate educator and non-profit leader committed to closing the opportunity gap. She is the Executive Director of The Writing Revolution, a national non-profit organization which partners with schools to support the critical thinking, writing, reading, and confidence of students through an evidence-based, interdisciplinary, professional development model. Jacki has previously led development and communications efforts at Harlem Educational Activities Fund, Young Women’s Leadership Network, READ Alliance, Citizen Schools New Jersey, and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

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Irene Branche

Irene CampIrene Branche has always believed in the power of storytelling. As a teenager in Central Maine, she volunteered to teach theater and storytelling at an elementary school. Today, as Chief Development Officer for The HOPE Program, she shares clients’ powerful stories of transformation as they progress from poverty to employment to career advancement. Prior to her work at HOPE, Irene served as Senior Development Manager for Read Alliance. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College and a Bachelor’s Degree in French from Roanoke College. In addition to her service as a Board Member for College and Community Fellowship, Irene has volunteered with Progressive Education Institute, teaching evening classes to women detainees at Riker’s Island and as a volunteer workshop facilitator for the Center for Nonprofit Success. Irene recently completed a competitive leadership training through The Center for Leadership Innovation. In the summer, she can often be found cycling New York City’s bike paths or training for a half marathon.

Glenn E. Martin

glenn-martin-101x93Glenn E. Martin is the Founder and Chief Risk Taker of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA). Glenn is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who spent six years in New York State prisons. Prior to founding JLUSA, Glenn served for seven years as Vice President of Development and Public Affairs at The Fortune Society and six years as Co-Director of the National HIRE Network at the Legal Action Center. Continue reading

Barbara Martinsons, Founder

bmartinsonsAs an Adjunct Lecturer at Marymount Manhattan College, Barbara Martinsons has been teaching in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility’s College Program for the last 12 years. She has also served as adjunct professor at Sing Sing Correctional Facility through Hudson Link’s program and has taught classes in sociology, philosophy, film, literature, history and cultural studies. While teaching, Ms. Martinsons witnessed the few resources available to women transitioning out of prison and became a mentor for Womencare, a program that addresses these challenges. She founded College and Community Fellowship (CCF) in 2000. Ms. Martinsons served as the Chair of the CCF Board for its first five years, established and facilitated the CCF Theater for Social Change and currently sits on the CCF Board of Directors.

Peter Bakstansky, Chair

pbakstanskyPeter Bakstansky became the Board Chair of College & Community Fellowship in 2005 upon retiring after 30 years of service as Senior Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a member of the bank’s management committee. During his time at the bank, he was in charge of the public information area and was responsible for the Office of Regional and Community Affairs. He served as the Ombudsman of the bank and was the Senior Administrative Officer for the executive group.

Communications Associate

Liz Holliday is the Communications Associate at College and Community Fellowship (CCF) and helps coordinate communications efforts for the Education from the Inside Out Coalition (EIO). Liz handles the day-to-day media operations of the organization, which have increased more than 600% since her arrival. She also coordinates all internal and external communications. Liz comes to CCF after a long career as a Journalist, most recently in New York’s Capital Region where she helped to report on the state legislature. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Journalism from City University London, and has worked across all media platforms from TV, radio, freelance writing, even creating and running a website on the emergence of social media. A political junkie, Liz also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Communications from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Executive Liaison

Jarret N. Freeman is an award-winning international relations, diplomacy and policy specialist. Experienced in the public, private and non-profit sectors, Mr. Freeman has managed budgets up to $1.2 million and personnel up to 60. Mr. Freeman has maintained a US Department of State security clearance and conversationally speaks Spanish and Russian. Mr. Freeman is also a philanthropist, social entrepreneur and leader passionate about education, policy and the young people of our future. Mr. Freeman has taught in 5 countries, studied in 3 and traveled to nearly 20 speaking around the world at conferences, seminars and with many world leaders behind the much-needed policy decisions affecting the young people of our global community.

Senior Development Associate

As a lifelong student of language and communication, Melanie Steinhardt builds bridges by focusing on shared values across ideological divides. A love for collaboration and an appreciation of reason guide her efforts. After graduating from Brandeis University with a degree in Classical Studies, Melanie arrived at College and Community Fellowship by working with populations at all levels of criminal justice involvement: these include the homeless and HIV+ clients enrolled in the Harm Reduction services at Housing Works, Inc.; currently incarcerated men and women participating in the GreenHouse horticultural therapy program on Riker’s Island; and formerly incarcerated community leaders forming the 2015 “Leading with Conviction” cohort at JustLeadershipUSA. At College and Community Fellowship, Melanie oversees all development work, including foundation grants, government grants, individual giving, and fundraising events.

Associate Director of Mentoring Services

Warwick Williams, LSMW, is the Associate Director of Mentoring Services at College and Community Fellowship. He has worked in the Social Service and Financial Service industries for 17 years, developing professional expertise in workforce development, clinical therapy and direct client services. Receiving his MSW from Lehman College, Warwick was awarded the prestigious NASW Donna Cooper Hamilton Award. Warwick currently sits on the Board of Directors for the non-profit agency Career Gear.

CCF’s Annual Celebration of Graduates: Experience the joy…

On June 12 2014, CCF had its 14th Annual Celebration of Graduates. We recognized 30 women who graduated from various degree programs at colleges and universities in the New York Metropolitan area in 2014. Both the reception and ceremony were inspiring!

Education from the Inside Out Coalition Co-Founder Honored by NYS Senate

Vivian Nixon, Co-Founder of the EIO Coalition, recognized for efforts to increase higher education access for justice involved students

(Albany, NY) – Today Vivian Nixon, Executive Director of College and Community Fellowship and Co-founder of the Education from the Inside Out Coalition was honored by the New York State Senate as part of Women’s History Month. In a resolution introduced by Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Ms. Nixon was recognized for her commitment to access to higher education and opportunity, particularly for those who have had contact with the criminal justice system. The resolution recognizes her past and current efforts advocating on behalf of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals as well as her role as a community leader. Continue reading

Higher Ed

Higher education is emerging as an important strategy for promoting the successful reintegration of people with criminal convictions. Research shows that post-secondary education is the most successful and cost-effective method of preventing crime, reducing recidivism and poverty, enhancing public safety, and positively impacting individuals, their families, and the community as a whole. Continue reading

Stephanie Haas Quote

“We are constantly re-vamping our core model to continue to build on our successes, to effectively grow and serve more women.”
– Stephanie Haas, Director of Development

Kara D’Angelo Quote

“CCF is filling a big gap in society by providing a stepping stone between prison and college.” – Kara D’Angelo, Patrina Foundation