Reflections and Looking to Our Future

Artboard 1 Announcements Featured Uncategorized
icon-clock January 4, 2022

Hi, I am Steven Berkenfeld, Chair of the Board of Directors of Green City Force.

I have served as the board chair for Green City Force since 2018 after joining the board in 2012 because I believed strongly in the GCF mission and its ability to address a range of critical issues, including economic equality and inclusiveness, poverty alleviation, workforce development, transition to clean energy, sustainability & resiliency, environmental justice, and national & community service. I am proud to help lead a team of staff and board members that have steered GCF through these challenging recent times while also continuing to make progress on all of these urgent fronts and to have a positive impact on so many lives. 

Above: Sindri Manzanares, GCF Chief Administrative Officer, Shahein Patterson alumni Cohort 20, Steven at Wagner Houses Harvest Festival with family members.

Earlier this month, we launched our end-of-year campaign to raise unrestricted support needed as we continue to impact and support our community. Thank you to everyone who has already donated! We are so close to reaching our goal, but we have more to accomplish before turning the calendar to 2022.

The past two years have been a time of transition for GCF. Part of that transition includes Tonya Gayle becoming Green City Force’s new Executive Director. Tonya is leading the next chapter of our mission after serving as the organization’s Chief Development Officer for six years. Organizationally, we continued to grow throughout 2021, hiring seven new staff members, including two GCF graduates, across our Social Work, Program, Finance, and Development departments. We are excited to have this talented group join us as we continue to evolve and grow. You can read about our 2021 highlights on our blog here.

As part of our growth, we also welcomed three new board members. Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Rasmia Kirmani, and Natasha Lifton join our dedicated board of directors and bring their passion, creativity, energy, and experience to our organization.

While we welcome staff and board members, we say goodbye to our Chief Financial Officer, Ann Short. Ann joined GCF in the spring of 2014 after working most of her career on Wall Street. Ann has helped us navigate the financial challenges of a not-for-profit organization and is leaving us on solid financial footing. Ann, I thank you for everything you have done for GCF.

And, of course, my deepest, most heartfelt thanks to Lisbeth Shepherd, our Co-Founder, and long-time Executive Director, and the heart and soul of GCF. We would not be making the impact we are today without her contributions, and thousands of individuals in the extended GCF family are indebted to her for her leadership, inspiration, and commitment. Lisbeth, thank you for helping GCF grow into the organization it is today!

Looking to our future, we are excited to share that during the spring of 2022, we will be expanding our Eco-Hubs into Queens. This expansion is an important moment for GCF as we will have farm-sites in each of New York City’s five boroughs. We will share more details as we progress in developing our new site, and we are excited about what is to come.

In closing, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy & healthy new year! Thank you again for your continued support of our work as we build toward a “green city,” sustainable and resilient and rooted in economic, social, and environmental justice.

In service,

Steven Berkenfeld

Chair of the Board of Directors of Green City Force