Success Stories!

Our Dedicated Staff

Meet the people who make it happen
Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright

Rev. Dr. Laurie Lyter Bright

Sustaining Solutions for Sacred Sites Virtual Coach

Laurie is a pastor, writer, traveler, perpetual student, mom to two young kids, a partner, and trouble maker. Her ministry has been interfaith, intercultural, and rooted in advocacy.

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Laurie is a pastor, writer, traveler, perpetual student, mom to two young kids, a partner, and trouble maker. Her ministry has been interfaith, intercultural, and rooted in advocacy.
In 2021, she earned her PhD in Education, Equity, and Transformation with an emphasis in research methodology and a certificate in gender studies from Colorado State University with her dissertation, The Body and the Word: At the Intersection of Religion and Rape Culture. Her work has been published both in a book and scholarly journals.
She’s ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and currently serving First Congregational United Church of Christ in Appleton, Wisconsin as their pastor for mission and congregational care. She’s a farmer with more skill than enthusiasm and has an illogical number of animals under her care.

Caleb Leman

Caleb Leman

Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites Chicago Coach

Caleb Leman is in his second year of the Master of Divinity program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Hyde Park.

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Caleb Leman serves as the Chicago coach for the Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites program. Caleb is in his second year of the Master of Divinity program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Hyde Park. He is vocationally interested in neighborhood-led homesteading and is currently doing his field study with Growing Home, an urban farm in Englewood. He has been working as a freelance digital marketer for nonprofits since 2017. He lives in an intentional living community in Humboldt Park with his fiance, three other "chosen family" members, and two bunnies.

Rev. Derrick McQueen

Rev. Derrick McQueen

Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites New York Coach

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Rev. Derrick McQueen serves as the New York coach for the Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites program. earned his Ph. D. in Homiletics and New Testament at Union Theological Seminary (NYC). He also received an M. Div. in Worship and the Arts from Union; and a B.A. in Theater Arts from Drew University.  Dr. McQueen is the Associate Director for Community Partnerships at Columbia University Center on African American Religion Sexual Politics and Social Justice—better known as CARSS.  The project brings together scholars, activists, clergy, and communities for the healing in historic Black Church life culture.  Rev. Dr. McQueen is also the pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem, the oldest African American Presbyterian Church in New York City.  St. James is an affirming congregation. Rev. McQueen and St. James is also in partnership with LAB/SHUL, a “Storahtelling” Jewish Congregation, led by Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie.  He has joined LAB/SHUL as a Christian partner as a Ritual Leader for High Holy Day Seasons. They have completed a second anti-racism set of sessions, “From Separation to Reparation.”  

Before moving back to New York, Derrick lived in Cape May, New Jersey one of the few towns entirely on the National Historic Registry as a Landmark.  As a community activist, he was twice selected as a Fellow for the National Historic Trust for Preservation. Mixed and alternative uses for historically preserved sites to aid existing communities thriving in those spaces, as well as re-imagining worship spaces for mixed uses for existing congregations is a passion. 

www.derrickmcqueen.com


Kevin Ritter

Kevin Ritter

Project Manager

A trained urban planner, Kevin works to uplift and sustain community institutions.

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Kevin Ritter serves as the project manager for Bricks and Mortals,.

Kevin is a graduate of Hunter College's Urban Planning Master's program. While there, he participated in the Studio Program with Bricks and Mortals, surveying dozens of congregations and imagining development opportunities to promote long-term sustainability. Professionally, he's worked at a range of non-profit organizations, including Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, South Street Seaport Museum, and Common Field.


Rev. Valerie A. Ross

Rev. Valerie A. Ross

Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites Virtual Coach

Rev. Valerie A. Ross is an Associate Conference Minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and a former New York area pastor.

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Rev. Valerie A. Ross serves as the virtual coach for the Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites program. She is an Associate Conference Minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and a former New York area pastor. She has served on the Board of Directors of the New York Conference of the UCC. Rev. Ross earned both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. She also graduated from the Columbia University School of Business Executive Not For Profit Management Program. Says Valerie, "I am empowered by the prophet Joel's reminder, 'Without a vision the people perish.” It is this that sparks my passion to cast and implement vision. Developing vision and inspiring a strong sense of mission are essential to improving the health of all areas of ministry to include the work of creating new futures for sacred sites.

Sarah Tofte

Sarah Tofte

Project Manager Consultant

Sarah is a co-founder of Understory Consulting, where she provides research, policy, and strategy services to leading U.S. and international NGOS.

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Sarah is a co-founder of Understory Consulting, where she provides research, policy, and strategy services to leading U.S. and international NGOS. Prior to Understory, Sarah led the research and policy goals of various organizations, including Everytown for Gun Safety, the Joyful Heart Foundation, and Human Rights Watch. Sarah graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Law and attended Union Theological Seminary.

Kate Toth

Kate Toth

Executive Director

With a background in advocacy, program development and fundraising, Kate has more than 15 years supporting and empowering vulnerable communities.

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Kate Toth is Executive Director of Bricks and Mortals, a project of Judson Memorial Church, which has the mission of providing creative, sustaining solutions to help houses of worship thrive amidst the costly and challenging landscape of operating in New York City.


With a background in advocacy, program development and fundraising, Kate has more than 15 years supporting and empowering vulnerable communities. Kate has worked as an LGBT Liaison, run field campaigns across the Northeast, and in supportive housing. She holds an BA from New York University and an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Kate was a Fellow in the NYU Wagner FELPS program and is a New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow and an Urban Design Forum Fellow. She's proud to be a born and bred New Yorker.

Success Stories!

Chair

Jason Labate

Jason Labate

Chair

Jason Labate is an attorney focusing on faith-based development, not-for-profit law, affordable housing & community development.

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Jason Labate is an attorney focusing on faith-based development, not-for-profit law, affordable housing & community development. He is a frequent presenter on faith based & non-profit real estate issues & is a co-author of Changing the Paradigm: Creating Scale & Keeping Local Expertise in Nonprofit Affordable Housing Development in the Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law. Jason has a JD from Brooklyn Law School and MPA from NYU and a BA from the University of Chicago.

Board of Directors

Meet the people who make it happen

Success Stories!

Taylor Aikin

Taylor Aikin

Associate Partner with MBB Architects

Taylor Aikin is an Associate Partner with MBB Architects where he leads a broad range of project types and scales from cultural and educational to religious and residential.

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Taylor Aikin is an Associate Partner with MBB Architects where he leads a broad range of project types and scales from cultural and educational to religious and residential. He is experienced in all aspects of project delivery, including master planning and feasibility through all design phases and construction administration. With over 15 years’ experience he has helped a broad range of clients from families to developers to global institutions realize their aspirations through strategic planning and outstanding design. Taylor, a licensed architect and LEED Green Associate, holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, and a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Dr. Debbie Almontaser

Dr. Debbie Almontaser

Educator

Dr. Debbie Almontaser is an internationally recognized, award-winning educator, entrepreneur, speaker, authority on cross cultural understanding and author of Leading While Muslim.

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Dr. Debbie Almontaser is an internationally recognized, award-winning educator, entrepreneur, speaker, authority on cross cultural understanding and author of Leading While Muslim. She is an influential community leader and the Founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group Inc., a for-profit business that provides professional development and coaching for companies, universities, firms, and K–12 education personnel. Dr. Almontaser was the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, NY. A twenty-five-year veteran of the NYC Public School System, she taught special education, inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity advisor. Currently, she is the Board President of the Muslim Community Network and sits on the boards of Therapy and Learning Center Preschool, 21in21, EMGAGE National, and ADC National.


Meta Brunzema

Meta Brunzema

Architect and Urban Designer

Meta Brunzema is a Co-Owner and Principal at The Collective for Community, Culture and Environment, LLC and Professor at Pratt Institute.

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Meta Brunzema is an architect and urban designer focusing on socially progressive, culturally rich and climate-neutral design. Meta is a Co-Owner and Principal at The Collective for Community, Culture and Environment, LLC and Professor at Pratt Institute. Working with public agencies, non-profit organizations and private clients, her designs foster resilience and re-ignite curiosity and meaningful engagement with the world. Her work includes large-scale re-zonings, waterfront developments, urban parks, promenades and green infrastructure - as well as public open spaces. Her architectural and adaptive re-use work focuses on the design of healthy and sustainable buildings and interiors. She is currently co-developing WE_GENERATE (beta), an interactive parametric real-estate feasibility analysis and visualization tool that democratizes community planning processes.

Joshua Burcham

Joshua Burcham

Managing Director at Radish Lab

Joshua Burcham is a Managing Director and Creative Director at Radish Lab. Radish Lab is a purpose-driven creative agency, shaping stories and sharpening brands for organizations improving the world. Radish Lab is an award-winning creative agency focused on people and projects changing the world.

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Joshua Burcham is a Managing Director and Creative Director at Radish Lab. Radish Lab is a purpose-driven creative agency, shaping stories and sharpening brands for organizations improving the world. Radish Lab is an award-winning creative agency focused on people and projects changing the world.

They focus on helping social impact organizations tell compelling digital stories, deeply engage their audiences, and apply smart creative and technical solutions to some pretty impressive challenges. Radish Lab is focused exclusively on impactful projects, which means we work with clients who are trying to improve lives and communities through their work. From powerhouses like the Sesame Workshop, Columbia University, and The American Cancer Society, to movers and shakers like Rainforest Alliance, the International Rescue Committee, and Women’s Refugee Commission, we’ve worked together to increase their impact.

Nell Derick Debevoise

Nell Derick Debevoise

CEO and Founder, Purposeful Growth Institute

In 2022, Nell became CEO and co-Founder the Purposeful Growth Institute to recruit, select, develop, and connect diverse, purpose-driven professionals to align their skills, interests, and needs with their communities’ needs to do high-impact work.

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Nell Derick Debevoise was Founder and CEO at Inspiring Capital from 2013 to 2022, a Certified B Corp that facilitates Learning, Development, and Inclusion through Social Impact. Inspiring Capital recruited, trained, and oversaw 200+ social impact consultants for 30+ organizations (e.g. National Park Service; American Express; The
Doe Fund; Goodwill; Girl Rising), as well as built and trademarked 200+ hours of proprietary training and engagement tools for under-represented professionals at diverse employers (e.g. American Express; Facebook; McKinsey; Citigroup; YearUp; Merck; Instacart; Rockefeller Foundation). In 2022, Nell became CEO and co-Founder the Purposeful Growth Institute to recruit, select, develop, and connect diverse, purpose-driven professionals to align their skills, interests, and needs with their communities’ needs to do high-impact work. She also serves as Partners at PurposeFused, which designs and facilitates purposeful leadership sessions for leadership teams and their leaders at all levels, improving engagement, collaboration, and business outcomes, and coaches and advises C-level and other leaders to leverage purpose for performance.


Nell holds an MBA Global Executive Dual Degree from Columbia Business School & London Business School, a Master in Intercultural Education from Università di Roma, a MPhil in Politics, Democracy, and Education from Cambridge University, and a BA in Psychology from Harvard College.

Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley

Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley

Regional Executive Minister

The Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley is the the Regional Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York, serving since May 1, 2015.

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The Rev. Dr. Cheryl F. Dudley is the the Regional Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York, serving since May 1, 2015. Ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA tradition at First Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, where she was raised, she has served since then through the years has served in several locations. She is very glad to call New York City her home, living in Manhattan since 2006. Cheryl has earned a BA in Sociology from Pomona College, Claremont, CA, and an M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, and a DMin in Executive Leadership from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL.

Rev. Dr. Patrick Garnet Duggan

Rev. Dr. Patrick Garnet Duggan

Executive Director of CB&LF

Dr. Duggan has amassed nearly two decades of economic and community development expertise through his work in government and the public sector on Long Island

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The Reverend Doctor Patrick Garnet Duggan is an ordained clergyperson in the United Church of Christ (UCC). He holds the Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degrees, both from New York Theological Seminary. Dr. Duggan is the Senior Pastor of the Congregational Church of South Hempstead UCC where he has led sustained membership growth and missional vitality for over 25 years. Since 2012 Dr. Duggan has also served as Executive Director of the UCC Church Building and Loan Fund (CB&LF). CB&LF has financed over 4,000 church real estate projects since 1853. CB&LF assists UCC and other Christian churches in the United States to Plan, Raise, Finance and Build church real estate projects. CB&LF’s strategic vision is to transform communities by helping the church live into God’s economy.


CB&LF’s focus for nearly a decade has been on church real estate development projects at the leading edge of missional transformation. These projects include the redevelopment of several church properties for affordable housing development, CB&LF’s first New Markets Tax Credit community development project, a LEED-certified green-building renovation, and the rezoning of several church properties for new, mission-aligned uses. These projects advance the mission of the church, create new revenue streams, and meet urgent needs in the communities they serve. A native New Yorker, a preacher, and a transformational denominational executive, Dr. Duggan and his wife Patricia, a charter school administrator, are the parents of three sons and proud grandparents of two girls and two boys.

Jason Labate

Jason Labate

Attorney

Jason Labate is an attorney focusing on faith-based development, not-for-profit law, affordable housing & community development.

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Jason Labate is an attorney focusing on faith-based development, not-for-profit law, affordable housing & community development. He is a frequent presenter on faith based & non-profit real estate issues & is a co-author of Changing the Paradigm: Creating Scale & Keeping Local Expertise in Nonprofit Affordable Housing Development in the Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law. Jason has a JD from Brooklyn Law School and MPA from NYU and a BA from the University of Chicago.


Roger Leaf

Roger Leaf

Chair of Budget and Finance

Roger Leaf is an elder of The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, where he has served as President of the Board of Trustees, Church Treasurer, and Chair of the Finance Committee.

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Roger Leaf is an elder of The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, where he has served as President of the Board of Trustees, Church Treasurer, and Chair of the Finance Committee. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Presbytery of NYC, where he is Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and a member of the Investment and Audit Committees. Mr. Leaf is a retired Wall Street banker who over a 40-year career worked in mergers and acquisitions; was acting CFO of a large broker-dealer; CFO of a start-up technology company; COO of a major Fixed Income Trading department; head of a Capital Markets Group; and an investment banker. He has a BA in Economics from Heidelberg University, an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School, and additional graduate study at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy

Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center

Matthew Murphy is the Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center. The NYU Furman Center advances research and debate on housing, neighborhoods, and urban policy.

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Matthew Murphy is the Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center. The NYU Furman Center advances research and debate on housing, neighborhoods, and urban policy. Previously, he served as Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Policy and Strategy at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). As an urban planner working at the intersection of housing policy, affordable housing finance, and land use, Matthew has been quoted on New York City and national housing issues in the New York Times, CNN, NBC, Going for Broke with Ray Suarez, NY1, Politico, Crain’s, Real Deal, City Limits, Gotham Gazette, among other media outlets. Matthew has a Masters of Urban Planning from New York University and a B.S. in Business
Administration from DePaul University in Chicago. He lives in Brooklyn with his loving wife and son.

Dan Panitz

Dan Panitz

Project Development Manager for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island Real Estate Division

Dan Panitz serves as the Project Development Manager for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island Real Estate Division.

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Dan Panitz serves as the Project Development Manager for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island Real Estate Division. He is the founder of Knight Properties, LLC, that specializes in real estate acquisitions, property development and brokerage and has participated in over 1,000,000 gross square feet in property development transactions in the New York City metropolitan area.  He also is a consultant for Landmark Properties and has assisted in property acquisitions, negotiated master leases with higher education institutions, participated in public relations campaigns, and provided land use and zoning analyses.

Mr. Panitz also consulted with one of New York City’s well-known lobbying firms, Capalino and Company, where he advised real estate developers, investors and institutions in their multifamily, affordable housing, and student housing projects and community facility use and zoning requirements.

He has participated in faith-based real estate related projects, such as joint ventures, leasing transactions and acquisitions between religious institutions, himself and third-party real estate investors, using his experience of working with clergy, trustees, board members and parishioners. With colleagues, Mr. Panitz helped raise over 1 million dollars in a single event for Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and its autism program for children.

Born in Queens, NY, he attended Holy Cross High School and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Morehead State University, where he was awarded a full division 1 athletic scholarship. He earned a Master’s Degree from the New School for Social Research Graduate Faculty in New York.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Executive Vice President of The New York Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Potasnik is the Executive Vice President of The New York Board of Rabbis, the largest interdenominational rabbinic body in the world.

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Rabbi Potasnik is the Executive Vice President of The New York Board of Rabbis, the largest interdenominational rabbinic body in the world. Since 1972, he has been the spiritual and educational leader of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights, New York, and is presently Rabbi Emeritus. He has served as Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department since 1999. Rabbi Potasnik maintained a high profile, helping many families cope with the disaster of September 11th, 2001. Rabbi Potasnik co-hosts The Rev and The Rabbi on WABC Talk Radio 77 in New York together with Rev. AR Bernard, since 2018. He is the host of the TV program Faith to Faith on Jewish Broadcasting Service (“JBS”), which is seen around the country and invites people of all faiths to participate in meaningful conversation. He is an Honorary President of Religions for Peace International.

Bishop Angelo M. Rosario

Bishop Angelo M. Rosario

CEO of the Bronx Clergy Task Force

The youngest member of Assembly of Christian Churches ordained at the age of 20. Studied at Mizpa University in PR, and professor of religious studies at Assembly of Christian Churches.

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Received an Honorary Doctorate from the Latin University of Theology. He is a military veteran from the U.S. Army stationed in Vietnam and Korea. Bishop Rosario and his wife Bishop Nancy Rosario are founders of the independent faith-based house of Worship – Church of God’s Children, Inc. in Co-op City since 1990. He is CEO of the Bronx Clergy Task Force an arm of the Bx. Boro President’s Office of Faith-based Initiatives since 2004. He has been successful in creating a task force of all faiths and denominations.

With the Bx. Task Force, he has sponsored numerous job, health, college fairs and the Annual Interfaith Peace & Health Breakfast, honoring other faith leaders and civil leaders for their work, commitment and dedication to their communities. A member of the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council, Jewish Community Relations Council and American Clergy Leadership Conference. Bishop Rosario and wife are speakers throughout various states and countries, including Korea, Israel, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia. They have been labeled as the ‘Dynamic Duo’. Bishop Rosario has been an advocate for at-risk youth, domestic violence, poverty areas and women’s rights. He believes in One Race – The Human Race. He is the advisor to the National Community Peacebuilding Commission. Has received numerous citations from public officials. In addition to his pastoral duties, he retired from Riverbay Corporation, the largest housing Co-op in the U.S. as Director of the Restoration/Construction Dept. and now serves on the 15-member Board of Directors of the Riverbay Corp. He is blessed with a family of 8 girls, 2 boys (5 of them are pastors); 24 grandchildren-the first grandchild recently ordained; and 25 great-grandchildren.  


Ira Schuman

Ira Schuman

Executive Vice President and Director

Ira Schuman is an executive vice president and director at Savills. Since joining in 1978 (then Studley), he has represented countless clients in a number of industries while specializing in the legal, nonprofit and educational sectors.

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In addition to serving as vice chairman and a member of the firm’s board of directors, Ira is also co-branch manager of the firm’s New York office. Ira is a frequent speaker at real estate forums and has contributed articles to various real estate publications. He has also spoken at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Dirt Lawyers’ Luncheon on real estate leasing. He has been featured in several articles including The Commercial Observer's Power Broker column entitled "The Inventor: Studley Legend's Knack for Tinkering Transfers to Game-Changers" as well as in Real Estate Weekly for winning REBNY's ‘Most Ingenious Deal of the Year’ award. In fact, Ira has won the coveted award three times in the past 10 years.

Rev. Dr. Bill Shillady

Rev. Dr. Bill Shillady

Pastor

Bill is on the Mayor’s Faith leaders advisory council. He is the former executive of the United Methodist City Society.

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Rev. Dr. Bill Shillady has been a pastor of three churches in the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He served at Asbury Crestwood UMC in Yonkers, NY, the Mamaroneck UMC on the Sound Shore, and the Park Avenue UMC in NYC. He is the former executive of the United Methodist City Society, a multi-faceted mission program agency of the United Methodist Church in the metro area. Their programs range from children and youth, social service agencies, addiction recovery services, affordable housing, and managing a cemetery. The agency covers from cradle to grave.  

Bill has held many offices and served on many boards. He is on the Mayor’s Faith leaders advisory council. He is a member of the Bricks and Mortals Board of Directors, an agency helping churches to utilize their properties in creative ways. He is the treasurer of the Council of Churches of the City of New York. He has been a pastor to the Clinton family since 2002.   

Egbert Stolk

Egbert Stolk

Director of Diocesan Property Services at The Episcopal Diocese of New York

Egbert Stolk is Director of Diocesan Property Services at The Episcopal Diocese of New York. In this role he advises and assists all congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of New York (EDNY) regarding the management, repair, and maintenance of their real properties.

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Egbert Stolk is Director of Diocesan Property Services at The Episcopal Diocese of New York. In this role he advises and assists all congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of New York (EDNY) regarding the management, repair, and maintenance of their real properties. Egbert advises the Bishop’s Staff, and the Real Estate Committee of all real estate transactions, including selling, development, and leases of properties owned by or transferred to the Diocese. He conducts building inspections, draft condition reports and requests for proposals, select contractors, architects, and engineers, and provide oversight and quality control for the construction and repair work of Diocesan properties. Egbert assists the Diocese with the financial planning of the management, maintenance, and development of Diocesan real property, and oversees and manages the day-to-day operations of the Diocesan Property Support Grant and Loan Program and the fund for Repair & Restoration Grant Program. Additionally, he advises the Property Support Committee on implementation of their policies and provides all members with any grant and financial documentation; reviews grant and loan proposals, conducts site visits, and assists Parish Leaders in the grant application process; and organizes workshops and presentations for congregations on best practices for parish property management.

Previously, Egbert worked for four years at the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Egbert received an MA from University of Vermont in Historic Preservation, an MA in Military History from the University of Amsterdam, and a BA in History from Utrecht University.

Rev. Mieke Vandersall

Rev. Mieke Vandersall

Owner and Principal Consultant of Vandersall Consultants

Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Owner and Principal Consultant of Vandersall Consultants, has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in the religious nonprofit arena.

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Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Owner and Principal Consultant of Vandersall Consultants, has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in the religious nonprofit arena. She is a detail-oriented project manager and brings extensive development, fundraising, administrative, strategic planning, and supervisory knowledge. Prior to founding Vandersall Collective, she got her start as a consultant by housing many of her initial clients at Wingo, NYC, a boutique fundraising design studio.

Mieke's work with clients is comprised of the creation and implementation of capital campaigns, major donor programs, online crowdsourcing campaigns, grant-writing and grant-making procedures, website writing and development, communication strategies, board development, event planning, worship planning, and organizational capacity-building. In addition, Mieke encourages nonprofits, congregations and religious leaders as they work to fund their ministries; this work comes out of a deep knowledge of the particular exhilaration and stress of working for long-term structural change and beginning and sustaining programs.


In addition to consulting, she is currently the Founding Pastor of Not So Churchy, a progressive, arts-based, queer led, new worshiping community.

Prior to her consulting work she was the Executive Director of Parity, where she founded a program for LGBTQ Future Pastors, as well as Not So Churchy. This post spanned from 2003-2014. Mieke and the Future Pastors Program is a feature of the documentary film, Out of Order and she continues as the Pastor for Not So Churchy.

Alex Weis

Alex Weis

Principal of Matter Real Estate

Alex Weis has 15 years of real estate experience and currently serves as Principal of Matter Real Estate. Alex provides strategic advice and leadership to NYC-based clients by successfully planning, overseeing, and executive complex real estate projects.

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Alex Weis has 15 years of real estate experience and currently serves as Principal of Matter Real Estate. Alex provides strategic advice and leadership to NYC-based clients by successfully planning, overseeing, and executive complex real estate projects. Alex founded Matter Real Estate in 2017 to develop a new model of collaboration between like-minded architects, engineers, builders, and others. Since establishing the firm, Alex has successfully provided real estate advisory and owner’s representative services to a multitude of clients based in NYC. Notable clients include Goodwill, Brennan Real Estate, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, and Manhattan Bible Church.

From 2013 to 2017, Alex led the real estate work for Uncommon School in Brooklyn, Rochester, and Troy, NY. Alex managed acquisitions and leases, consistently meeting affordability goals and programmatic needs. From 2009 to 2013, Alex worked at U3 Advisors managing large-scale real estate projects from conception through pre-development on behalf of not-for-profits, universities, and commercial developers.

Former Board Members

Meet the people who made it happen

Success Stories!

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

Pastor at Orient Congregational Church

Pastor at Orient Congregational Church, associate professor for religious leadership at Hartford Seminary, former Senior Minister for Judson Memorial Church, and author of 38 books, most recently REMOVE THE PEWS

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The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, formerly of Judson Memorial Church and before that Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami , and Yale University. She was the Senior Minister for Judson Memorial Church on the corner of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, New York City from 2005 until May 2021. She is associate professor for religious leadership at Hartford Seminary and author of 38 books, most recently REMOVE THE PEWS.

Peter Cook

Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches

Rev. Peter Cook serves as Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches which represents 7,000 congregations across the state of New York.

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Rev. Peter Cook serves as Executive Director of the New York State Council of Churches which represents 7,000 congregations across the state of New York. In his pastoral roles, he has been a strong advocate for the development of affordable housing. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Interfaith Affordable Housing Collaborative and is directing the Council’s Who is My Neighbor Community Development Initiative to help faith institutions use their property to better serve their town. The Council is also part of the Faith-Based Affordable Housing and Community Development Partnership recently funded by Trinity Church Wall Street. The Partnership helps congregations in New York use their property to build affordable housing and promote more just housing policies.

Marc Greenberg

Executive Director, Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness

Marc Greenberg is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and housing.

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Marc Greenberg is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and housing. Since the Assembly’s establishment in 1985, Marc has been addressing homelessness through advocating public policy solutions and other strategies in partnership with an ever broadening network of faith communities, other advocates, housing and service providers, elected officials and those who have experienced homelessness.

Gianfranco Grande

Executive Vice President of Partners for Sacred Places

Gianfranco Grande brings over 25 years of experience in management of nonprofit organizations and capital campaign fundraising to his role as Executive Vice President of Partners for Sacred Places.

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Gianfranco Grande brings over 25 years of experience in management of nonprofit organizations and capital campaign fundraising to his role as Executive Vice President of Partners for Sacred Places. Educated at the Vatican Seminary, Gianfranco has worked with more than 1,000 community-serving urban congregations and built strategic relationships with local faith leaders, lay leaders, community leaders, universities, seminaries, public officials, foundations, and philanthropists since joining Partners in 2008. In 2012, he was awarded the Richard Nickel Award from the Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois, recognizing his dedication to the principles of livable communities through grassroots initiatives, and over the last 20 years, he has successfully helped to raise over $80 million. In 2014, Gianfranco was inducted into the Board of Sponsors of Martin Luther King, Jr. College of Ministers and Laity of Morehouse College. He has served as Board Chairman of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, IN, as well as member of the Board of Trustees of Preservation Action and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.  

Rev. Dr. Damaris Whitaker

United Church of Christ (UCC) Minister

She is the first woman to serve Fort Washington Collegiate Church and the first Latina to serve The Collegiate Churches of New York in their 400 year history.

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Rev. Dr. Damaris D. Whittaker is a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister. She is the first woman to serve Fort Washington Collegiate Church and the first Latina to serve The Collegiate Churches of New York in their 400 year history. Her personal faith journey has been diverse. She has a spirit-led style of preaching and leads worship services that are reflective of the cultural diversity of her congregations. Dr. Whittaker is a public theologian deeply passionate about social justice advocating for racial justice, LGBTQ equality, immigration reform, women’s leadership, universal healthcare, and affordable housing. She is a prolific writer and has published numerous articles. Dr. Whittaker believes she has been called to break down silos and sees intersectionality of faith as a place she can affect change. When not in church, she loves reading, dancing, gardening, kayaking and walking/jogging. Dr. Whittaker is originally from Humacao, Puerto Rico.

Rev. Dr. Audley Donaldson

Priest

Rev. Dr. Audley Donaldson founded the Lena and Lester Donaldson Memorial Scholarship.

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Rev. Dr. Audley Donaldson is an ordained Episcopal Priest who preached his first sermon when he was only fourteen years old. His religious formation began at St. Mary’s Church in Negril, Jamaica where as an Acolyte he honed his skills as a leader and public speaker. After graduating from Manning’s School in June 1975, he was accepted at the United Theological College of the West Indies and in September 1976 started his theological training. He then received a Bachelor’s Degree with second class honors from the University of the West Indies in 1980 and was ordained to the Priesthood in July 1980. He migrated to the United States in 1984 after accepting a scholarship from Yale School of Medicine and Yale Divinity School. At Yale University, he completed a one year residency in Clinical Pastoral Education and a Master's of Sacred Theology. And in 1992, he completed a Doctor of Ministry program at New York Theological Seminary. 


In the United States, Rev. Dr. Donaldson served as College Chaplain at Voorhees College, South Carolina and Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. As the Director of Constituency Building at the Family Resource Coalition of America, he was largely responsible for designing a series of National conferences and symposiums with diverse communities in the United States. He has provided technical assistance to Federal, State and community based organizations in over forty states. Presently Rev. Dr. Donaldson is the Rector at St. Stephen and St. Martin Episcopal Church, before being the Priest in Charge there and at the Church of the Redeemer both located in Brooklyn. His proudest accomplishment is the establishment of the Lena and Lester Donaldson Memorial Scholarship. In addition, following a partnership with Notias Construction, Rev. Dr. Donaldson oversaw the construction of the new St. Stephen and St. Martins Episcopal church. This multi million, state of the art church sits at the corner of Patchen Ave and Jefferson Ave in Brooklyn.

Gilford T Monrose

Faith Advisor - NYC Office of the Mayor

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Gilford T Monrose, a native of the US Virgin Islands, founder of Brooklyn Center of Quality Life, moved to New York in 1999 to pursue his studies in the form of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Bible Studies at Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, and to marry the love of his life, Dianne Thomas.

Gilford always had a lifelong dream of serving the church, especially the youths, and as such functioned as Youth Director for five years, developing programs for our young people at the now historic Mt. Zion Church of God 7th Day.  He worked at their level, demonstrated that he understood their struggles, and worked tirelessly with them to enhance their spiritual maturity.  In this capacity, Gilford flourished , and became a ministerial and visionary trailblazer, and spiritual shepherd to many.  In May 2005, Gilford was ordained to the ministry as Pastor, where he continues to show great and unyielding love for his church and its members.

Pastor Gil's need to give in a capacity beyond himself, goes beyond the four walls of the church, and has motivated him to serve locally and beyond, to create, as well as partner with many organizations.  He has established the Catch The Vision (CTV) Youth Conferences, which has empowered youths, leaders, and marriages, and has attracted youths and adults alike from around the world since 2002.  He also initiated the Unity Gospel Fest at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center to bring together spiritual and physical wellness.  Pastor Gil was instrumental in the establishment and development of the East Flatbush Ready When the Time Comes Disaster Team, which through the American Red Cross in Greater New York, provides disaster-relief training to volunteer teams from local community groups.  Gilford serves as Team Leader for the local East Flatbush team.

Gilford's life of service is further portrayed through his work as Chaplain for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Serving as Director of the Faith Based and Clergy Initiative at the Brooklyn Borough President's Office, Pastor Gil proves that not only is there a thin gap between church and state, but that this gap can be bridged.  He currently serves as a Board member for the Flatbush YMCA, and on the Advisory Board for Boys Town.  Gilford, a man who puts no limits, or restrictions on his life of service, currently Chairs the Community Leadership Council of the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.

Pastor Gil has exhibited great interest in social justice and love for community work, and is an Alumni Chair for We Are All Brooklyn, an organization that brings diverse leaders together to solve quality of life issues affecting their communities.  He served as a board member of Community Board #17, on the Community Advisory Board for the Brooklyn Healthcare Improvement Project, as an Advisory Board Member for Explore Charter School, and on the Advisory Board for Kings County Behavior Health Community Council.  Pastor Gil also served as Team Leader for the Neighborhood Housing Services Invest in Brooklyn Initiative, and Chaired the Caribbean Tourism Organization's Inter-Faith Celebration.

Furthermore, Pastor Gil served as Vice President of various organizations; The St. Lucia House Foundation, Church of God 7th Day Pastor's Network, Inc., and, Churches United to Save and Heal.  Pastor Gil's dedication to save youth from gun violence and gangs prompted him to become the founding President of the 67th Precinct Clergy Council, which serves as a liaison between the police and the community.  He is a graduate of the New York Police Department Citizen Academy, as well as the FBI Citizen Academy.  Mr. Monrose has travelled extensively across the United States, and has partnered with groups across the Caribbean. Africa, Brazil, Moscow, England, and Israel, as a guest speaker to youth, and likewise adults, empowering them to become active in their communities, and to be responsible citizens of the world.  Locally, Pastor Gil works with various elected officials and community leaders as a moral voice and spiritual counsel on issues affecting the community at large.  As the loving husband of wife Dianne, and father to Gianne and Joshua, Gilford is a passionate advocate for families and children.  Mr. Monrose and his family live in Weeksville, Brooklyn.

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."  Henry Wodsworth Longfellow.

Rev Joseph H. Holland

Attorney

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Rev. Joseph H. Holland is an attorney, entrepreneur, government official, writer and ordained minister with over thirty-five years of experience of serving the community. Holland began his government career as Director and General Counsel to the New York State Senate Committee on Housing and Community Development and subsequently served as New York State Housing Commissioner where he managed over 1,500 employees and orchestrated the planning and funding of thousands of units of affordable housing in various locations across New York State. Holland operated a Harlem-based real estate law practice and used his management skills to build commercial enterprises and expand employment opportunities in Harlem. Holland’s new book - “The Vigorous Virtues: Daily Success Principles From Diverse American Founders” was released in November 2019. A graduate of Cornell University, where he earned a B.A. and M.A. and was an All-American and Academic All-American football player, Holland has served as a member of the University's Board of Trustees since 1988. He holds his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. 

Neil Steinkamp

Managing Director

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Neil is a recognized expert and consultant on a broad range of strategic, corporate, and financial issues to business and community leaders and their advisors. He has led a wide range of pro bono and social justice projects, including analyses impacting NYC’s historic right-to-counsel initiative for low-income tenants and eviction right to counsel cost-benefits studies contributing to groundbreaking legislation and programs in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Los Angeles. He also currently serves as the Evaluator of the Cleveland Eviction Right to Counsel which launched on July 1, 2020. In addition, earlier this year Neil developed innovative analyses of renter household instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  He currently serves as consultant to the New York Permanent Commission on Access to Justice. He assisted that Commission in the development of a Strategic Action Plan to provide effective assistance to all low-income New Yorkers in matters affecting the essentials of life and is now assisting the Commission in the implementation of that Strategic Action Plan. He has also been recognized for his contributions and commitment to access to justice and the application of pro bono financial and economic expertise for low-income individuals.

Success Stories!

Membership

Bricks & Mortals members who help us lead the way
Taylor Aikin
Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects
The Avenue Church
Braham Berg
Impact Developer + Designer, Principal Consultant, BBB3RG LLC
Bronx Clergy Task Force
Meta Brunzema
Collective for Community, Culture and Environment
The Center at West Park
Clal
Denham Wolf
Enterprise Community Partners
Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
Fort Washington Collegiate Church
400 Foundation
Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York
Gateway Housing
Goldstein Hall
Grace Congregational Church of Harlem
Habitat for Humanity
Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
Judson Memorial Church
Muslim Community Network NY
New York Board of Rabbis
Partners for Sacred Places
Presbytery of NYC
Riseboro Community Partnership
The Riverside Church in NYC
Savills
Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Pastor, Orient Congregational Church
Society for Ethical Culture
Tenant Wise
UCC Church Building & Loan Fund
United Church of Christ, NY Conference
The United Methodist City Society
⦿ Taylor Aikin, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects
⦿ Rabbi Elan Babchuck, Glean Network, Clal
⦿ Braham Berg, Impact Developer + Designer, Principal Consultant, BBB3RG LLC
⦿Meta Brunzema, Collective for Community, Culture and Environment
⦿ Lopez-Joël Dautruche, Judson Memorial Church
⦿ Karen DiLossi, Partners for Sacred Places
⦿ Patrick Duggan, UCC Church Building & Loan Fund
⦿ Matthew Dunbar, Habitat for Humanity
⦿ Rev. Robert Foltz-Morrison, Presbytery of NYC
⦿ Marc Greenberg, Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
⦿ Rev. Joseph Holland, 400 Foundation
⦿ Breanna Hudson, Enterprise Community Partners
⦿ Jason Labate, Goldstein Hall
⦿ Roger Leaf, Presbytery of NYC
⦿ Lesley Mctague, David Stark Design & Production
⦿ Myers Mermel, Tenant Wise
⦿ Pat O'Connell, West Park Presbyterian Church
⦿ Ugochi Onyeukwu, The Riverside Church in NYC
⦿ Rev. Dr. Nigel Pearce, Grace Congregational Church of Harlem
⦿ Rev. Valerie Ross, United Church of Christ, NY Conference
⦿ Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Judson Memorial Church
⦿ Rev. Dr. William Shillady, The United Methodist City Society
⦿ Rev. Dr. Scott Stearman, Metro Baptist Church
⦿ Randall Toure, Riseboro Community Partnership
⦿ Richard Van Deusen, Ethical Culture
⦿ Rev. Schuyler Vogel, Senior Minister, Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York

Success Stories!

List of Funders

Organizations that support us
United Church of Christ Church Building and Loan Fund
City Seminary of New York
United Church of Christ
FX Collaborative
Goldstein Hall
West End Collegiate Church
Trinity Church Wall Street
The United Methodist City Society
Savills
Presbytery of New York City
New York City Council
New York Community Trust
Lilly Endowment Inc.

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