Susan Stern, Commission Chair
Susan Stern was appointed as Chair of the New York State Commission on National
& Community Service in 2008 and oversees service and civic engagement initiatives
for the State on behalf of the Office of the Governor. Susan is a community activist
and political advocate locally in New York and nationally. She served as the chairman
of the National Council of Civic Leaders for the presidential campaign of Hillary
Clinton. She is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of UJA- Federation of New
York the nation’s largest local philanthropy where she also served as Campaign Chair.
Nationally Susan is the immediate Past President of National Women’s Philanthropy
of United Jewish Communities serving over 155 local federations around the country.
She was the secretary of United Jewish Communities and past Chair of the Young Leadership
Cabinet of United Jewish Appeal. Additionally, Susan serves on the Executive Committee
of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and has served on the Board
of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel. She is a Trustee of the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy and was a member of the Women’s Leadership Forum
of the Democratic Party. At the University of Michigan, she serves on the LSA Dean’s
Advisory Committee and the Organizational Studies Advisory Group. At Hebrew Union
College she serves on the President’s Advisory Board. Susan was selected as a Wexner
Heritage Foundation Fellow and currently serves on the Foundation’s Alumni Council.
Prior to her involvement in philanthropic causes, Susan served as Director of Quality
Assurance at the American Dental Association, where she authored a book on Quality
Assurance in Dentistry and lectured extensively on the subject.
Theresa A. Bischoff, Vice Chair
Theresa (Terry) Bischoff was appointed in January 2004 as Chief Executive Officer
of the American Red Cross in Greater New York. It is the largest chapter in the
country, covering the five boroughs of New York City as well as Putnam, Rockland,
Orange and Sullivan Counties. As a disaster response and preparedness organization
providing immediate humanitarian support, it serves more than 9 million people in
the Greater New York area. A staff of 150 employees working in partnership with
over 6,600 adult and 700 youth volunteers help more than 200,000 New Yorkers annually
who have been affected by fires, blizzards, floods, blackouts and other emergencies,
responding to 7 to 9 disasters or emergencies a day. The Chapter also trains 130,000
New Yorkers in preparedness and life saving skills each year. In July 2007, Terry
was also given oversight responsibilities for the Red Cross Chapters in Westchester,
Nassau, Suffolk, Shelter Island and Greenwich, Connecticut.
Previously, she was at NYU Medical Center from 1984 to 2004 where she served as
President for the last six years of her tenure. An advocate of healthcare on the
national, state and local levels, she has held many other positions including: Chair
of the Greater New York Hospital Association and Chair of the Association of American
Medical Colleges which represents 125 accredited medical schools and 400 major teaching
She serves on the Board of Mutual of America Capital Management Corporation, New
York Building Congress, Human Services Council and is Vice Chair of the New York
State Commission on National and Community Service.
Ms. Bischoff is a graduate of the University of Connecticut where she earned a B.S.
in Accounting. She also holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of
Business and is a CPA.
Gay B. Molnar, Secretary
Gay, along with fellow Commission member, Dr. William Murabito, has served as a
member of the NYS Commission on National & Community Service since its inception
in 1994. During these years she has served as the vice chair and now holds the position
of Secretary. Currently a member of the Orthotic and
Prosthetic Assistance Fund’s Board of Directors, she brings to them her
expertise in the not-for-profit world and development. Gay is the immediate Past
President of the National Rural Education Association which is the leading National
organization that maintains the vitality of all rural schools across the country.
In 1991, Gay was selected by then First Lady Matilda Cuomo to be the first and only
Western Region Coordinator for the New York State Mentoring Program. Gay held this
position until the program was dissolved. Gay takes great pride in knowing that
she made a difference with at-risk children during this time with the mentoring
program and still is aware that the majority of the programs she started are still
in existence and growing. For the last twelve years she has held the position of
Director of Development along with PR/Marketing for the
Aquarium of Niagara in Niagara Falls, New York. Her personal strengths include
a positive attitude, strong organizational skills and she is family and people-oriented.
Suzanne Gaba Aisenberg
Suzanne Aisenberg is a consultant to nonprofit organizations and provides guidance
to her clients on a range of organizational issues. Prior to launching her independent
practice in 2003, Ms. Aisenberg was a program officer with
The Atlantic Philanthropies where she was responsible for grants primarily
in the areas of philanthropy, volunteering, civic engagement and nonprofit sector
infrastructure. She was a founding board member of the Grantmaker Forum for National
and Community Service, now called PACE,
and was a national board member of the Hands
Michael Burgess was appointed by former Governor Eliot Spitzer, and confirmed by
the New York State Senate, to serve as the Director of the New York State Office
for the Aging in February 2007. He was reappointed by Governor David A. Patterson
on April 2008. As Director of the State Office for the Aging, Mr. Burgess oversees
the administration of federal and state funded programs designed to assist the more
than 3.2 million elderly residents in the state, as well as programs that assist
family members and others involved with helping elderly residents that are in need
of greater levels of assistance. The Office for the Aging assists older New Yorkers
to be as independent as possible, for as long as possible, through advocacy, and
the development and delivery of programs and services which support and empower
the elderly and their families, in partnership with the network of public and private
organizations which serve them.
Prior to joining the Office for Aging, Mr. Burgess was the Executive Director of
the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, and for several years prior to
that, was the Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council.
In those positions, he played a major role in the passage of landmark state legislation,
including the EPIC prescription drug program and subsequent expansion of the EPIC
program. Earlier in his career, Mr. Burgess served as the Executive Director of
the Non-Profit Resource Center, an organization which worked to strengthen the capacity
of smaller non-profit agencies so that they could better serve their constituents.
He also served as the Executive Director for the Statewide Emergency Network for
Social and Economic Security.
He is the author of “To the Last Breath,” a book that chronicles the life and times
of Rose Kryzak, a leader and role model who was involved in the Senior Action Movement
for many years.
Mr. Burgess began his career in Watertown, NY, his childhood home, working for the
local anti-poverty community assistance program as Director of the Energy and Weatherization
Mr. Burgess was born in Massena, New York and is a graduate of St. Lawrence University.
He resides in Albany, with his wife Kathleen and they have two children.
Dr. Elizabeth Cappella
Dr. Cappella is a Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Educational
Foundations at Buffalo
State College as well as Co-Director of
Project FLIGHT a family Literacy Program. The Governor has recently
reappointed her to a five-year term as a New York State Commissioner for National
and Community Service. She has pioneered literacy programs and research in this
area through Project FLIGHT locally, statewide and nationally. Former President
Clinton, Governor Pataki and former Governor Cuomo have honored her for her work
on the behalf of children and their families during the past 18 years, Project FLIGHT
has generated over $35,000,000 in money and in-kind donations. Dr Cappella teaches
courses in Research, Statistics, Family Literacy, Parenting, Family Violence, and
As a former Vice President of Congressional Relations for AT&T, Rita DiMartino
assisted in AT&T’s relations with the administration, congress and with state
In 1982 President Ronald Reagan appointed DiMartino as U.S. Representative to the
UNICEF Executive Board. Her work as U.S. Representative included increasing UNICEF’s
financial support and accelerating the program’s assistance in the areas of child
health, nutrition, water supply, sanitation and education.
DiMartino was appointed in February 2002 as the Principal U.S. Delegate to the Inter-American
Commission of Women, and also, the Principal Representative to the Inter-American
Children’s Institute. She was also appointed to the J. William Fulbright Foreign
Scholarship Board by President George W. Bush.
In 2005, DiMartino was appointed by Secretary Elaine Chao to the U.S. Department
of Labor National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships, and served as a Commissioner
on the Commission on Federal Election reform with former President Jimmy Carter,
and former Secretary of State, James Baker. DiMartino has also served on twelve
International Electoral Observation Missions.
Active at all levels of Republican politics, DiMartino was elected Delegate/Delegate-at-Large/Alternate
Delegate to ten Republican National Conventions, served on the 1992 Platform Committee,
and was elected Executive Vice-Chair of the New York Republican State Committee
in 1987. DiMartino is Chairman of the Board of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, a
member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of Trustees
of the National Endowment for Democracy; the City University of New York; the National
Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; the Inter-American Foundation
Advisory Board and the Cuban American National Council.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she received her B.A. from the College of
Staten Island and her M.P.A. from Long Island University. She currently holds an
Honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Dowling College, and completed Business Leadership
Training Programs at Harvard Business School and Executive Management Programs at
the University of California at Berkeley.
Stanley S. Hansen, Jr.
Stanley S. Hansen, Jr. is the Executive Coordinator for the Office of
K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs for the New York State Education Department.
The Office serves to improve college graduation rates for ethnic, cultural and other
underrepresented and or disadvantaged students as well as close the gap for students
in need of academic intervention services to meet Regents graduation requirements.
Additionally, Mr. Hansen is the New York State At-Risk Youth Coordinator, and has
been a mediator and arbitrator for the American Arbitration
Catherine was born and raised in Albany, New York. Catherine is a magna cum laude
graduate of Union College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political
Science with Department Honors in 1996. After college Catherine pursued a career
in government relations on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, when she decided to return
to her hometown to attend law school. Catherine received her Juris Doctorate degree
from Albany Law School in 2000 where she was an associate editor of The Albany Law
Review and was awarded the Dominick Gabrielli award for excellence in Appellate
Moot Court. Since graduation, Catherine has practiced in several of New York’s prestigious
In 2004, Catherine’s love and passion for her hometown and the Capital Region led
her to found GenNEXT, a business council of the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce
for business professional ages 23-40. As chair of the council, she focused on preventing
the Capital Region’s “brain drain” and on providing meaningful networking and business
opportunities for young professionals.
In January of 2007, Ms. Hedgeman started her own law firm, the Law Firm of Catherine
M. Hedgeman which is located in Albany. She specializes in Real Estate, Land Use/Development
& Zoning, Commercial Law, Corporate Law and Government Relations. In September of
2008 Ms. Hedgeman also founded the Stakeholders. The Mission of Stakeholders is
to cultivate an informed and active creative class dedicated to building diverse
and sustainable communities throughout New York’s Capital Region through educational,
capacity-building and philanthropy programs. The Stakeholders Get On Board program
matches volunteers with volunteer opportunities in the Capital Region.
In 2008, Ms. Hedgeman was appointed to the New York State Young Leaders congress
to advise the administration and the Empire State Development Corporation on issues
pertaining to the attraction and retention of young people in New York, and how
to build sustainable communities. Ms. Hedgeman was also featured in the March 2008
edition of Success Magazine, and in November of 2008 Ms. Hedgeman appeared in O
Magazine as one of 80 Women who received a Women’s Leadership Award from the White
House Project and O Magazine, The Oprah Magazine for her work on economic development
issues, philanthropy and volunteerism, Ms. Hedgeman is also the recipient of the
2008 Woman of Distinction Award: Junior Trailblazer from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern
New York, the 2005 Capital District Business Review 40 Under 40 Award and the 2005
Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce Women of Excellence Award for the Emerging
Jill Iscol is the president of the IF Hummingbird Foundation, a family foundation
created in 1989 to support domestic and global efforts that strengthen democracy
and reduce the social justice, economic and educational inequities that threaten
it. Dr. Iscol, a philanthropic leader, formerly served as a trustee of numerous
boards, including, Bank Street College of Education and Facing History and Ourselves.
She was Founding Co-Chair of City Year New York and currently serves on its Board
of Advisors as well as on the President’s Council of Teachers College at Columbia
University, the Advisory Boards of the Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development
at Cornell University, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Fine Arts at Cornell University,
and the Acumen Fund, a global philanthropic organization. Jill is a Trustee of Vital
Voices Global Partnership and is currently chairing its newly launched New York
Leadership Council. She has recently joined the Board of Trustees of Horizons National
and the Advisory Board of the Center for New American Security in Washington, DC.
From 1997-2001, Jill served as the Chairperson of the Annual Family Re-Union Conference
which was initiated and moderated by Vice President Al Gore and Tipper Gore and
also planned and participated in the White House Conference on Partnerships and
Philanthropy in 2000. Jill received her doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia
University, and a Master of Philosophy in Sociology from Yale.
Senator Kenneth LaValle
Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, (R-C-I, Port Jefferson) was first elected to the Senate
in 1976. In 1979, he was appointed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education
and, for 30 years, has played a key role in shaping New York State’s higher education
His work with education leaders at the State University of New York, City University
of New York, and the independent sector, has earned Senator LaValle the respect
of the academic community.
As chairman, he established state policy dealing with the financing of our public
institutions, student financial aid issues and capital construction funds. The landmark
Truth-in-Testing Law, College Tax Deduction Program, and College Savings Program,
are but a few of the key programs the Senator initiated.
Senator LaValle established legislative policy linking higher education and business
technology. He wrote the report “Marriage of Higher Education and Business,” which
examined the foundation for New York’s public policy in developing high technology
industries statewide. Some of the programs he worked to advance include the Centers
of Advanced Technology (CAT), the High Technology business Incubator Program, and
Jobs 2000 which established the New York State Office of Science, Technology and
Academic Research (NYSTAR). In developing these programs, Senator LaValle worked
with education leaders from both the public and private sectors along with business
leaders from across the state.
In 2007, Senator LaValle was appointed to the New York State Commission on Higher
Education. The commission was charged with identifying ways of improving the quality
of higher education in New York State. In addition, Senator LaValle was asked to
serve on the National Council of State Legislatures’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher
Education. The goal of the commission was to create awareness among state Legislatures
of their roles in providing accessible and affordable public higher education.
In recognition of his outstanding dedication to higher education, Senator LaValle
as presented with the Medallion of the University from the State University of New
York at Albany and the University Medal from Stony Brook University. Both awards
are the highest honor accorded by the universities.
Extremely proud of his Italian heritage, Senator LaValle was privileged to receive
the honorary title “Cavaliere al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” from the Italian
Government for his work in education and promotion of cultural exchange.
Born on Brooklyn, Senator LaValle graduated from Hempstead High School on Long Island.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Adelphia College, a degree in Education at
the State University College at New Paltz, and a J.D. Degree at Touro College Jacob
D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Senator LaValle has completed extensive graduate study
in Government and International Relations at New York University and received an
Honorary Doctor of Civil Law Degree from Dowling College. He is a practicing attorney.
Senator LaValle is the father of two grown children, James and Lisa, and the proud
grandfather of Jessica Katherine and Elvis William LaValle, and Joshua Eric and
Justin David Russ. He resides in Port Jefferson with his wife Penny.
In addition to his standing committee assignments, Senator LaValle is Chairman of
the Senate Minority Conference.
Standing Committee Assignments: Higher Education (Ranking Member), Aging, Education,
Finance, Insurance, Judiciary, Rules. Senator LaValle also serves as a member of
the New York State Commission on National and Community Service.
Visit Senator Kenneth LaValle's website at
Dr. William Murabito
Dr. William Murabito has served as a member of the New York State Commission on
National Community Service since its establishment in 1994. His volunteer service
has spanned over forty years with membership on numerous agencies, including the
chair of Albany’s Promise, for which he received the Albany Volunteer of the Year
Award. He has long been involved in the field of higher education, in which he has
held positions at several SUNY schools. Dr. Murabito is currently the Interim President
at Sullivan Community College.
David M. Sable
With an advertising career spanning more than 30 years, David Sable’s roots are
in creativity. As a college student, he wrote copy and designed ads for a local
newspaper, and also sold creative to a local ad agency. As his career progressed,
he joined Young & Rubicam where he expanded his knowledge of the agency world, and
then honed his craft at Wells Rich Greene, handling his first Fortune 500 client:
Procter & Gamble.
Today, as vice chairman and chief operating officer of Wunderman, David is responsible
for managing the agency’s global marketing services network—among the largest in
the world. He oversees operations, is responsible for the successful execution of
the agency’s long term vision and strategic plan, and he serves as senior counselor
to some of our largest global clients, including Microsoft, Citibank and Nokia.
David is a frequent speaker at various industry events and his views are regularly
featured in Advertising Age, ADWEEK, Campaign Magazine and his own blog:
In 2009, David was selected as the president of the Cannes Lions Direct jury, the
industry’s premier creative competition. He also began a three-year term as Director
at-Large of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and continues to serve
as chair of the Mail Industry Task Force for the United States Postal Service and
chairman of the Independent Mailing Industry CEO Task Force.
In 2005, the Mayor of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg appointed him a
member of the Cultural Advisory Committee of the New York City Department of Cultural
Affairs. David is also a Board member of the New York chapter of the United Jewish
Federation (UJA) and chairman of its Marketing committee. David is marketing advisor
to a number of charitable organizations and universities and is a Board member of
a prominent New York City private school.
Mark J.F. Schroeder
Mark J.F. Schroeder brings 25 years of private sector experience to the City of
Buffalo Comptroller’s Office, in addition to a decade as an elected official, a
role in which he earned a reputation as an independent, tireless voice for his constituents
in the state capitol and county hall. Schroeder, a former state assemblyman and
county legislator, also served as vice president of two large corporations before
his career in government. Schroeder grew up in South Buffalo, attending St. Thomas
Aquinas School before graduating from Public School #72 and Bishop Timon High School.
He earned an Associate’s degree from Erie Community College and a Bachelor’s degree
from Empire State College. After serving as a top executive in the corporate world,
Schroeder left the private sector to serve as a county legislator in 2002. Upon
taking office, he immediately founded the South Buffalo Education Center, which
offers free G.E.D. classes and computer and vocational training. More than 500 students
have earned their G.E.D since the school first opened its doors ten years ago. Throughout
his career in government, Schroeder has advocated that more resources and attention
be devoted to adult education across the state. The same year he opened the school,
Schroeder also created The Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, which now
has more than 300 members and holds several annual community events. Schroeder was
elected to the state Assembly in 2004, where he was widely known as an independent
voice who would speak out on their behalf of his constituents, no matter what the
consequences. During his time in the Assembly, Schroeder wrote “Amanda’s Law,” which
requires carbon monoxide detectors in all homes. The law was named after a teen
in his district, Amanda Hansen, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while at
a sleepover at a friend’s house. Schroeder also sponsored legislation banning text
messaging while driving, a law safeguarding children from sexual predators, and
a plan that would take the redistricting process out of the hands of politicians
and give it to an independent panel. He also hosted an annual health fair in his
district that offers free flu shots, blood pressure screening, wellness tests, and
other health care services. Schroeder was also the chairman of the Assembly Subcommittee
on Autism, and created an inclusive panel of mental health professionals, autism
advocates, and concerned parents with the mission of providing for better care for
those afflicted with the disorder. During his time in the county legislature and
the Assembly, Schroeder spearheaded major capital projects in his district. He teamed
up with the Valley Community Association to construct a spectacular waterfront attraction,
the Buffalo Riverfest Park, which opened last year in the city's historical Old
First Ward neighborhood. The Seneca Street Redevelopment Project made major physical
upgrades, including new street lights, benches, waste receptacles, and paving, to
the streetscape on one of Buffalo’s major commercial thoroughfares. He teamed up
with the civic organization Can U Dig It to create the Irish Heritage District on
Abbott Road, which celebrates the Celtic culture of the South Buffalo neighborhood
with Irish language street signs and gateway signage. Since his election to public
office, Schroeder has earned a reputation as someone his constituents can turn to
when they have a problem, whether it be minor or major. He has also worked to ensure
that veterans, young and old, get the care and assistance that they deserve. Schroeder
, a lifelong City of Buffalo resident, has three children – Matthew, Michael, and
Allison – with his wife Kate Horan Schroeder.
Donna M. Smith
Donna M. Smith is the State Program Director for the Corporation for National and
Community Service’s (CNCS) Field Office in Albany. She has worked with CNCS and
its predecessor agency ACTION since 1975 primarily with its Senior Corps and VISTA
programs. In 1998 she assumed the State Director position with management oversight
of all Senior Corps, VISTA and special initiative programs in New York. Donna currently
serves as a member of the Hudson Valley Community College Dental Hygiene Advisory
Betty Cotton serves on the boards of The Westchester Community College Foundation,
the America Jewish Committee Board of Governors, Project Interchange and the Jewish
Council of Public Affairs. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Westchester
Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit and is chairperson of the Greyston Foundation Wisdom
Betty is a former President of the Westchester American Jewish Committee and is
currently Vice President of the New York Region AJC. She was honored by the Women’s
Campaign Board in 2005. Betty also served on the National Finance Committee for
Hillary Clinton and currently serves on the Finance Committee for Senator Kirsten
Professionally, Betty has worked as a consultant to not for profit organizations
for many years. She received a BA from George Washington University and an MS in
Urban Affairs from Hunter College.
Hillarie Logan-Dechene has made her career working in the not-for-profit sector
and primarily in museums. She is the Director of Philanthropy at The Wild Center
in Tupper Lake, New York. In this position she is responsible for all membership
and development activities for the young vibrant science museum. Logan-Dechene has
spent her entire professional career strengthening non-profit and educational institutions
in the North Country.
After studying at The American College in Paris and earning her BA from the State
University of New York at Albany, she joined the Development Department at the Adirondack
Museum in Blue Mountain Lake where she worked for over sixteen years. In a period
of five years, she progressed from Development Assistant to the Director of Institutional
Advancement. Upon leaving the Adirondack Museum in 2006, Logan-Dechene became the
Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Paul Smith’s College, a private
college in the Adirondacks. After nearly four years, Logan-Dechene left the college
in 2010 to accept her current position at The Wild Center.
Logan-Dechene is an active board member of the Adirondack Health Foundation, Museumwise
(a New York State museum service organization), and the Long Lake Central School
District Board of Education. She is finishing a Master’s program in non-profit leadership
at Skidmore College. She grew up on the North shore of Long Island and spent her
childhood summers at Long Lake where she makes her home with her husband Richard
and their two daughters.
Dr. Matthew Johnson
Dr. Mathew Johnson earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis University and is
a Siena College alumnus. He has been a college/university faculty member and administrator
in Maine. Dr. Johnson is a 2009 Campus Compact Emerging Scholar, a member of the
2011 U.S. Department of Education Roundtable on the Civic Mission of Higher Education
facilitated by AACU, and is currently the co-director of the AACU and Bonner Foundation
national project: The High Impact Initiative. At Siena College Dr. Johnson serves
the Office of the President as the Director of Academic Community Engagement in
addition to being an Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies
at Siena College.