Robin Hood’s Newest Power Fund Cohort Reflects African Immigrant and Asian Communities
NEW YORK, March 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Robin Hood, NYC’s largest poverty-fighting organization, today announced the addition of two new leaders to its Power Fund, which elevates and invests in nonprofit leaders of color: Amaha Kassa, the founder and Executive Director of African Communities Together (ACT) and Lina Lee, the Executive Director of Communities Resist (CoRe). As an Ethiopian immigrant, Kassa is the first African immigrant leader and, as a Korean-American, Lee is the first Asian-American leader to join the Power Fund. Both Kassa and Lee are tackling inequities and driving solutions across New York City, while bringing perspective, proximity, and expertise to the fight against poverty.
“New York City’s immigrant communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by poverty and its systemic underpinnings of racism, which impacts everything from employment and housing to long-term economic mobility. This past year, we saw that on full display with immigrant and low-income New Yorkers of color facing the brunt of the pandemic in terms of unemployment, food and housing insecurity, and health disparities,” said Wes Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Robin Hood. “It is more important than ever that we elevate leaders who intimately understand the issues facing these communities. Robin Hood is deeply honored to welcome both Amaha Kassa and Lina Lee to the Power Fund as they continue to empower underserved New Yorkers through community-centered solutions.”
Amaha Kassa is the founder and Executive Director of ACT, which is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life in the U.S. Kassa helps to empower African immigrants through community organizing, leadership development, social services, job programs, immigration support, and language access. “As an organization of immigrants from Africa who are Black and predominantly low-income, ACT necessarily centers both racial justice and economic justice in all our work,” said Kassa. “We recognize that as migrants, our members are driven to migrate not only by seeking safety, freedom, or reuniting with family, but often by seeking greater economic opportunity. We support that self-realization every step of the way from organizing to leadership development.”
Lina Lee is the Executive Director of CoRe, which is a community-based legal services and advocacy organization that partners with communities of color in Brooklyn and Queens to combat predatory capitalism, gentrification, and structural racism. Lee helps clients to organize, assert their rights, and protect their homes, while ensuring that community voices are centered in the decisions that impact their lives and neighborhoods. “CoRe believes that housing is a human right and, in our advocacy to protect tenants, we must confront both racial injustice and economic injustice by empowering and centering the voices and needs of the individuals who have called these communities home for decades,” said Lee. “CoRe’s diverse staff makeup – including my own role as the only Korean- and Asian-American Executive Director in the legal services sector in New York City – is a proud and radical departure from the traditional composition of leadership in the legal services field.”
Kassa and Lee join a dynamic group of Power Fund leaders, including Jessica Santana and Evin Robinson of America on Tech; Barika X. Williams of Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD); Gisele Castro of exalt; Bernell K. Grier of IMPACCT Brooklyn; Jose Ortiz, Jr. of New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC); LaRay Brown of One Brooklyn Health System; and Jerelyn Rodriguez of The Knowledge House.
Power Fund organizations each receive catalytic investment and benefit from the access of Robin Hood’s management assistance and network support to build their capacity, including assistance with board member recruitment, fundraising, and strategic planning, in addition to intentional access to philanthropic, government, and community partner networks. The leaders also receive self-directed funding for leadership elevation support.
The Power Fund benefits from the guidance of its esteemed Advisory, including Cecilia A. Conrad of Lever for Change, Cheryl Dorsey of Echoing Green, Darren Walker of the Ford Foundation, Jennifer Ching of North Star Fund, Khalil Muhammad of Harvard Kennedy School, Kriste Dragon of Pahara Institute, Marc Morial of the National Urban League, Shawn Lytle of Macquarie Group, Sheena Wright of United Way of New York City, and Soledad O’Brien of Soledad O’Brien Productions.
The Power Fund was seeded with an initial investment of $10 million by Robin Hood, with additional investments from partners, including Salesforce, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, BlackRock, Capital One, Macquarie Group, NBCUniversal, and Warburg Pincus, in addition to employee match program support from Bridgewater Associates, Goldman Sachs Gives, and Tudor Investment Corporation. Robin Hood will continue to announce Power Fund leaders on a quarterly basis. To learn more about the Power Fund, visit www.robinhood.org/the-power-fund.
About Robin Hood:
Founded in 1988, Robin Hood finds, fuels, and creates the most impactful and scalable solutions lifting families out of poverty in New York City, with models that can work across the country. Last year, Robin Hood invested nearly $200 million to provide COVID relief, legal services, housing, meals, workforce development training, education programs and more to families in poverty in New York City. Learn more at robinhood.org.
About African Communities Together:
African Communities Together (ACT) is an organization of immigrants from Africa and their families. ACT empowers African immigrants to integrate socially, get ahead economically, and engage civically. We connect African immigrants to critical services, help Africans develop as leaders, and organize our communities on the issues that matter. ACT was founded in 2012 by a first-generation Ethiopian immigrant organizer to address the “organizing gap” in African immigrant communities. Since launching as an organization, ACT has built a base of thousands of African immigrants, connected thousands of community members to legal services, developed and engaged hundreds of grassroots leaders, and waged multiple successful policy campaigns. Learn more at africans.us.
About Communities Resist:
Communities Resist (“CoRe”) is community-based legal services and advocacy organization founded and led by people of color and children of immigrants to empower, educate, and represent low-income tenants and community coalitions in Brooklyn and Queens. Ours is a resistance that plays out both inside the courtroom and on the streets, as we organize and fight alongside our clients to combat gentrification, displacement and institutional racism in housing. We serve to ensure that community voices are centered in the decisions that impact their lives and neighborhoods. Learn more at communitiesresist.org.