The Brand Ambassadors of Our Work: AFJ’s Board of Directors

AFJ board member, Rebecca Lewinson, champions AFJ’s participants through her platform at BlackRock Gives grant program. Social Media Asset Prepared By BlackRock.

Last year, we were able introduce you to members of the AFJ Family through our campaign, AFJ: The Story Beyond the Statistics. We launched PSA’s and shared stories with you about our program alum, our staff, our volunteers, and our participants. All these people are integral to AFJ’s work, who we are, and why we have sustained our mission for more than 40 years.

This week, we’d like to share more about another important branch of AFJ’s Family Tree: our Board of Directors.

AFJ’s Board of Directors is currently made up of 16 professionals, who volunteer their time to help position AFJ at the forefront of the juvenile justice field. They help us build relationships in the communities we serve, secure resources to do our work and advance our mission. Our Board of Directors lend their expertise to AFJ’s management to ensure good governance, oversight and guidance. Their fields of expertise range from legal to finance, to real estate, to personnel and executive management, to arts management and publishing---all at an international scale.  

They spend countless hours at our community centers with our staff and participants leading workshops, engaging our participants and their families in meaningful discussions, preparing meals, donating technology, furniture, clothing and supplies.

Since 2018, our Board of Directors have worked with AFJ’s management team to support the organization’s expansion to serve youth and young adults across New York City, beyond our prior Manhattan service area. They have supported the launch of our HIRE UP online and hybrid programs for job training and mental health support and have been instrumental in assisting the AFJ Team to codify our successful Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) model.  

Before we invite them to join our family, AFJ vets prospective board members carefully to ensure they are committed to our work with court-involved and at-risk youth and young adults. As a result, we have a very engaged board in every sense. Their involvement goes beyond check-writing. They serve as AFJ’s Brand Ambassadors, championing our Participants, board-driven campaigns and special events throughout the year.

In addition to attending regular board meetings, they serve actively on one or more board committees. They support the AFJ Team on a wide variety of special projects from data and statistics, to building our alumni network, to site management ensuring that our community centers accommodate the needs of nearly 400 Participants per year.  All of this is on top of performing the essential function of any Board---which is to set the direction and vision of the organization.

We know our Board is extra special.

Each member is deeply committed to our mission of offering second chances to our Participants and to providing #ServicesNotCells. Our Board is made up of creative thinkers, resource builders, external champions, and mission ambassadors who share our work with us far and wide.

Here are a few fun facts about our board that make them so special:

  • Our longest-tenured Board member has been involved since the late 70’s with our late Co-Founder, Robert Siegal. The relationship was such a meaningful one, that they officially joined the board in 2006.
  • Our longest serving Board Chair has donated over 1M in proceeds from their annual golf event, helping put over 200 Participants through our program in the past 11 years.
  • One of our board members has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (more than once) and over the years organized for a few of our Participants to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro through UNFCU’s Kilimanjaro Initiative USA.
  • Two of our board members are active marathon runners and have spearheaded the AFJ Spring Run for Justice, with the Second Annual Spring Run kicking off on April 24. Learn more here!
  • 31% of our Board members are African American and Hispanic. AFJ’s Board Chair is African American.
  • Board members have helped our young people directly providing mentoring and internships, donating equipment and supplies, volunteering as group leaders, and much more.
  • One board member facilitated the first coding workshop at our community centers and taught our Participants how to play chess after equipping our centers with chess boards.
  • Our Board connects us to their professional networks, helping us form important relationships with supporters and funders. 
  • Board members share our work on their social media platform, with one member recently highlighting their Board participation as part of their corporation’s brand ambassador program.

More than anything, our Board of Director’s deep commitment to our Participants makes a meaningful impact on our work. We appreciate all they do. We recognize them as Champions for their hard work to advance our mission!

If you are interested in learning more about Board service, please contact AFJ’s COO at efrederick@avenuesforjustice.org!

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