Steering Committee

The NYC REIC elected a Steering Committee at the January 28, 2016 All Member Meeting. As outlined in its charter, the purpose of the Steering Committee is to govern the NYC REIC and create the capacity necessary for the REIC to fulfill its goal of securing affordable space for community and cultural use in NYC.

The Steering Committee is democratically empowered by members to form a legal entity for the REIC, draft REIC bylaws that outline a more permanent governance structure, propose those bylaws for ratification by the general membership of the REIC, and carry out other rights and responsibilities outlined in the charter (the charter was created in winter 2015 by the governance workgroup).

Monthly Steering Committee meetings are open to all REIC members to share questions and concerns at a designated time period during the meeting – usually the first half hour. Times and locations of monthly open meetings are posted ten days in advance on the REIC calendar.

Contact us: steering@nycreic.com

ABOUT US

Todd Arena
Crown Heights, Brooklyn

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Todd Arena is a finance attorney serving financial institutions in a wide range of matters, including representation before regulatory bodies. His practice focuses on the project financing of wind and solar farms. In 2015, Todd was also a recipient of Lawyers Alliance for New York’s Cornerstone Award for his pro bono work with community development financial institutions, particularly credit unions. Todd joined the NYC REIC at its April 2015 meeting.  He believes that, through the design of governance structures that ensure member control, cooperative financial institutions can build-in the values of democratic community control, balance citywide and local decision making, and collapse tensions and conflicts of interest traditional financial institutions suffer from. He is active in the REIC U workgroup and the Governance Committee.

Adele Eisenstein
Jackson Heights, Queens

adeleWith over 25 years of experience internationally as curator, producer, project manager, working in museums, galleries and alternative spaces, and with non-profit organizations, and large international consortia, as well as editor, translator, writer in contemporary art, film, architecture, Adele has a range of skills including organizational, people and teambuilding skills, and strategic, planning, marketing and fundraising ideas for the benefit of institutions. With a background in psychology and film studies, she has been devoted to social issues and human rights for most of my life and career. The most relevant experience she brings to the Steering Committee is as Former Chair and Board member of Amnesty International Hungary, for a period of eight years. In that capacity, she worked closely in a team on strategy to guide the organization and its advocacy campaigns, on outreach and program evaluation. As Chair, she led two director searches, and also took part in conflict mediation and resolution.  She joined the NYCREIC in May 2015, and has been a member of the Public Building Inventory Group (PBIG), as well as working on the Newsletter team, giving her a broader overview of the process of all the workgroups up to now. In the PBIG, she has been researching and doing community outreach around the Coney Island Pumping Station, and she gave testimony for its landmarking status at the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). She is committed to the values and ideas underpinning the REIC, and is honored to be a part of the body guiding its next phase.

David Glick
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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David Glick is an architect and urban designer, with nine years experience on cultural, educational, and public space design projects. He also holds a Master’s degree in Urbanism from Harvard University, where he studied real estate, urban politics, and participatory planning, with a research focus on innovative community based initiatives in Europe. By highlighting keys to success from other examples he is inspired to dream about what is possible, while tethering this optimism to lessons learned from what has not worked. Extending these interests to the REIC naturally led him to the role of facilitator for the Case Studies + Inspiration workgroup, where he has championed internal education as critical to ensuring we are making informed decisions. As a member of the interim facilitation team since its infancy, David’s experience brings valuable continuity to the steering committee.  One of his top priorities is fostering greater collaboration between workgroups; an effort he’s made wide-ranging contributions to over the past two quarters.  David is passionate about tackling technical challenges by helping to bridge a dialog between members with specialized expertise (legal, real estate, community organizing, etc.), and is committed to a participatory process that is transparent and inclusive.  He is enthusiastic about working together toward a board structure and our first project!

Sam Gray
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

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Sam Gray is a lawyer serving small businesses and entrepreneurs in New York City. His practice focuses on business formation and governance as well as contract drafting and negotiation. Sam is also a legal fellow with the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) focusing on developing legal resources for people and businesses working in the new economy. Sam joined the REIC at its first meeting and has been involved ever since, serving on the Project Vetting Working Group as well as the Governance Working Group and Facilitation team.  He hopes to use his professional experience as well as the amazing resources available at SELC to help the REIC grow and fulfill its goal of providing permanently affordable commercial space in New York City. Sam is focused on communicating with the existing working groups to create a plan for getting the REIC ready to make its first investment within six months from being elected.

Mara Kravitz
Lower East Side, Manhattan 

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Mara Kravitz is a partner in Matriarch Development, where she is managing the development of a mixed-use building in her hometown of Pelham, NY. She also helps champion resident stewardship of New York City’s vacant land as Executive Assistant at 596 Acres. She studied sociocultural anthropology and Jewish studies at Columbia University while organizing with local community members for a just and equitable expansion of the University that would benefit rather than displace its present neighbors. Her questions were: how can we structure the different parts of real estate like planning, financing, labor and programming for social good? How can real estate better serve all people’s needs and honor their experiences (the real earth’s state)? How can the city develop without displacement, and build local wealth? She got chills when she found a room full of people organizing for answers at the first NYC REIC meeting in May 2015. She got involved in the Case Studies and Inspiration Workgroup (which became REIC U) and became a facilitator. On the Steering Committee, she brings real estate development project vetting and project management experience, and years of community organizing. She wants to co-create a city full of unthreatened, distinct and diverse spaces that are dreamed-up, created and managed by the same dynamic communities that they uplift. She believes that if structural injustice is possible, so is its opposite.

Oksana Mironova
Flatbush/Midwood, Brooklyn

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Oksana has been involved with the REIC since May 2015, as a co-facilitator of the public building inventory group and a member of the steering committee. She has a background in affordable housing, non-profit fundraising, data analysis, writing, advocacy, and research. Oksana is interested in: ensuring a democratic and transparent governance process for the REIC; developing a sustainable financing mechanism for the permanent preservation of affordable commercial/industrial properties in NYC; developing partnerships with stakeholders in communities where we will invest; and building a membership base that reflects the racial, ethnic, and economic makeup of NYC as a whole.

Joe Rinehart
Kensington, Brooklyn

joeFor the past decade, Joe has worked to ensure that communities have access to the tools necessary to build just and sustainable economies. As a worker-owner in Firestorm Café and a cooperative developer with the Democracy at Work Institute, he came to understand the vital role that ground-floor retail spaces play in supporting communities and movements and the desperate need that socially-oriented businesses have for affordable space in NYC. He now works with NYC neighborhoods to ensure they have access to the ownership structures and financial institutions that help residents build assets. He recognizes how critical it is for communities, not developers, to control commercial spaces so that a just local economy has the space to thrive. As a member of the REIC Steering Committee he is working with members and NYC communities to design an organizational structure able to harness the power of social investment capital to create affordable commercial space for community use. This organizational structure needs to inspire trust in communities, cooperative members, and social impact investors – the three stakeholders that the REIC needs to be successful, and he is focused on designing a structure that is resilient in the long term, able to respond quickly to opportunities, engage members and communities, and, ultimately, be accountable to the membership. As a member of the Committee he helps the REIC find the delicate balance between mission, member benefit, and market forces that cooperatives need for long-term success.

K Samuels
Harlem, Manhattan

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K is a born and raised Harlemite. She has strong concerns about what is happening in her community such that the cultural character is changing so that it doesn’t look like Harlem anymore. She wants to see the cultural integrity of places across NYC maintained. She believes that things can be done to keep cultural character strong in Harlem, Chinatown, and the many places that make New York what it is and that made people want to come here. She has a strong concern that, when communities are heard, that they are not considered less intelligent than anyone else; if uptown wants something different than downtown wants, those needs should be understood as what makes those communities special. As a member of the Steering Committee, she brings this position so that folks will remember it. She ran to ensure that the committee is diverse not just in terms of race but also in terms of age.

Meeting Minutes