The New York Center for Interpersonal Development’s Annual Benefit is almost here. This year’s benefit, “Strengthening relationships and Building Community,” will be held on Thursday, May 14 from 6-9 PM at the Tea House Garden Inn. We hope to see many members of the community come to support and honor the individuals and organizations whose dedication and generosity helped to make New York better for all. We work to help over 7,000 members of the community through our work on an annual basis, and this benefit greatly keeps our efforts on track.
Last year, NYCID lost our founder, Sam Panepinto. His leadership and caring soul made this organization the way it is today; which is why we are presenting an award in his honor during the benefit to Hon. John A Fusco, a man who exemplifies Sam’s character and commitment to the community and our mission. We are also honoring Carol Dunn with the John W. Lavelle Community Builder Award, for her work in the community as Executive Director of the Staten Island Inter-Agency Council for the Aging.
We hope to see you there!
NYCID is proud to congratulate the 11 most recent graduates of our ARCHES program. The third group to graduate the ARCHES program, this set of young adults have achieved much to turn their lives around. The ARCHES program brings together youths and young adults between 16 and 24 that are in the probation system in order to help guide them to a brighter future. The six month program aids the participants by improving their connections to education, work, and the community. We again would like to recognize and congratulate the 11 new graduates.
The Staten Island Foundation
The Staten Island Foundation – over its 16+ years in the community – has become a trusted leader in the community, providing support through grants and deeply engaging with a wide range of community stakeholders to set shared objectives and aggregate or help coordinate resources for greater impact.
The Foundation is a champion of community, education, health and arts programs on Staten Island, especially those serving the least advantaged. It is the catalyst for community-wide collective impact with the Tackling Youth Substance Abuse Initiative. Currently, Foundation giving to 700 local community organizations totals over $52 million.
Over the course of its history, The Staten Island Foundation has supported a varied and wide-ranging array of projects. The Foundation has contributed to local projects of national prominence as well as to programs serving schools, faith-based groups, community centers, and community programs serving the physically, emotionally and intellectually disabled, immigrants, low income and homeless populations.
The Staten Island Foundation has supported New York Center for Interpersonal Development with almost $250,000 in funding since 1998 with $100,000 of that in the last two years for the ACE program. The Achievement in Career and Education Program provides educational and occupational training to out of school and disconnected youth between the ages of 16-24 living in Staten Island. Foundation funds cover the cost of Certified Nursing Assistant Training (CNA) for ACE participants. Completion of the training offers participants the opportunity for long term employment in the healthcare field. They receive their NYS certification as a Nursing Assistant and will be able to work in hospitals, long term treatment facilities and nursing homes. This is the first step for many of the participants to enroll in college and attain their degree in nursing, a high demand field.
Led by Chairman Allan Weissglass and Executive Director Betsy Dubovsky, the Foundation currently funds outcomes based projects related to specific results areas in education, arts, and health and community services. In recent years, literacy has been a particular focus for the benefit of children and English language learners of all ages. From day one the Foundation has worked to build the “capacity” of its non-profit grantees – providing funds for leadership development, technical assistance or management consulting.
The Foundation is a member of the national Council on Foundations, Philanthropy New York, the Association of Small Foundations as well as Grantmakers in Education and Grantmakers in Health. As a result, The Staten Island Foundation is in touch with current issues and practices in the field of philanthropy to better serve its grantees with professionalism and expertise. In addition, the foundation serves as a link to other sources for funding. Post Sandy, the Foundation connected a number of off-Island funders with local organizations and raised over $1.5M which, combined with its match of $500,000 has brought over $2M for the longer term recovery needs of Staten Island nonprofits.
The Staten Island Foundation is the first, largest and only independent private foundation exclusively focused on the Staten Island community. It is proud to operate with a long term commitment to assisting the community reach its targets and realize its dreams.
Head Legal, North America – Novartis Vaccines
Novartis OTC Division
John Minardo is a Senior Corporate Counsel and the North America Head of Legal for Novartis Vaccines, a Division of Novartis AG based in East Hanover NJ. John provides general business counseling, corporate governance, regulatory and advertising counseling, antitrust, litigation and compliance counseling. John is a Member of the Novartis Vaccines North America Management Team and Global Legal Leadership Team. He has served in this role since 2012.
Previously, John served as Associate General Counsel for the Novartis Over-the-Counter Division from 2007 through 2012. In that role, John was the Global Legal lead for the Digestive Health Category, including the Prevacid 24HR, Benefiber, Maalox and Gas-X brands as well as the International Operations Region of Novartis OTC.
Prior to joining Novartis, John worked as an Associate for Kaye Scholer, LLP, a law firm based in New York City from September 2001 to October 2007. He specialized is complex litigation matters, including products liability, white collar criminal defense, commercial litigation, bankruptcy litigation and securities litigation.
John graduated with honors in 1997 from Boston College, with a degree in Political Science. He attended the London School of Economics in 1995. In 2001, John received a law degree from Brooklyn Law School, where he was an Articles Editor of the Brooklyn Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Honors Society.
John is a past Chair and current Board Member of the New York Center for Interpersonal Development, in Staten Island, New York. He is also a Board Member of Mt Manresa Jesuit Retreat House.
Chris Williams, owner of Williams Eye Works, is a proud native Staten Islander who’s roots are no further than five miles away from his storefront at 1884 Victory Boulevard. Chris was born in Saint Vincent’s Hospital, where his grandmother worked as a nurse, and grew up in West Brighton. He has fond memories of playing and roaming in the woods, fields, and railroad tracks of Mariner’s Harbor, playing with his cousins on his father’s side, the Williams from Arlington Avenue. Before high school, Chris discovered the small joys of being raised in a house between a school yard and the magnificent Clove Lakes Park. The top of the block had a skate board ramp, blacktop baseball field, basketball and paddle ball courts. The bottom of the block was Clove Lakes Park: the brook, the woods, grass fields to play football and soccer. The neighborhood provided everything that a child could need to expand and explore. Because his mother’s family was from West Brighton since about 1900, and his grandfather being self employed in the neighborhood most of his adult life, Chris could not go far without his family knowing what he was up to. His involvement and choice of location for his career was largely driven by the warm memories of his childhood, and his want to give back to the community that he would remain active in for years to come.
Chris discovered his current occupation and trade early in life. Only fourteen years old, in September 1980 of his freshman year at Susan Wagner High School, he found himself working as the “cleaning kid” at Cohen’s Optical in the Staten Island Mall. While there, he was introduced to Mario, a master shopman, who came to temporarily worked at the store from Manhattan. During Mario’s stay on the Island, Chris had formed a friendship that would extend beyond Mario’s temporary post. Mario offered to teach Chris the trade at his Manhattan office, so whenever time permitted, Chris would travel to 5th Avenue and 57th Street to watch Mario make glasses. He practiced what he learned back in Staten Island, and by the time he was sixteen years old Chris had managed to earn a full wage and worked almost full time. After graduating high school, he decided to start working full time making glasses. After a year of full time work, Chris realized that to expand his horizons he needed to formalize his expertise.
With his manager’s support, Chris was able to enroll in a formal training program, working with a New York state licensed optician. He could apply to take the State examination in two years. Two years, several classes at New York Institute of Technology, and some hard work lead Chris to receive his New York State Optician’s License in 1988, the same year he married Donna Teehan, his high school sweetheart. In 1990, after the birth of his oldest son, he made the hard decision to leave Cohen’s to build his own career, working for a small professional practice. After the birth of his only daughter in 1994, Chris realized that the only way to continue to expand his career and income was to open up his own store. In 1995, renting space from a local doctor, Williams Eye Works opened its doors to the public. After the birth of his second son in 1997, Chris realized it was again time to expand, so in January of 1998 Williams Eye Works opened its doors at 1884 Victory Boulevard in Westerleigh, where it remains today.
In just ten years, Williams Eye Works now has ten full time employees, including opticians and medical billing specialists, and three optometrists. Along the way, Chris has been a committed Boy Scout Leader and Rotarian. He understands the value of having small businesses present to enrich a community. As a businessman and community member, he firmly believes that a local business makes a commitment to serving and enriching its own neighborhood by having a local clientele.