Commission on National and Community Serivce
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.
Gay B. Molnar
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
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.
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.