McSilver Institute Honors Recipients of First Annual McSilver Awards Recognizing Those Who Assist Children and Families Living in Poverty

Six pioneering leaders of New York City's nonprofit sector have been selected to receive the first annual McSilver Awards, created by the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research to recognize New Yorkers who work tirelessly to address the needs of low-income children and families, advocate on their behalf, and expose them to the wide range of offerings the city holds.

The recipients of the new awards are: Dr. Thelma Dye, Karen Brooks Hopkins, Dr. Rosa Gil, Heather C. McGhee, Lorie A. Slutsky, and Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott. They were honored at a breakfast ceremony Thursday, May 2, at the New York University Torch Club.

"The McSilver Awards will become a tradition that will pay tribute to those people and organizations that have made great strides for the vulnerable and impoverished populations of our community," said Professor Mary McKay, director of the McSilver Institute, which is part of the NYU Silver School of Social Work. "We are so delighted to welcome these outstanding individuals to NYU to honor their contributions, which serve as an example for all of us as we continue to focus on those who are most in need."

The 2013 awardees are:

Thelma Dye, PhD, has been the executive director of the Northside Center for Child Development since 1994. One of New York's oldest and most respected mental health agencies, it serves over 1,500 children and their families each year. She has worked extensively as a clinical psychology consultant for schools, foster care agencies, mental health clinics, and hospitals. Dye is a strong advocate for young people and their families, and is a board member of Covenant House, The Coalition of Voluntary Mental Health Agencies, and the Citizen's Committee for Children of New York, Inc., among others.

Karen Brooks Hopkins has been the president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) since 1979, overseeing all facets of the Academy. She has served as chair of The Cultural Institutions Group of NYC and the Mayor's Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, and is currently on the board of NYC & Company and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. A recipient of a multitude of art management awards, she was named one of the "100 Most Influential Women in New York City Business" by Crain's in 2007. She has also served as an adjunct professor for the Brooklyn College Program for Arts Administration. She has worked extensively to make music, art, and theater accessible to all residents of New York City, including children, low-income adolescents, and senior citizens. She has published a widely-read book titled Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Institutions.

Rosa Gil, PhD, is the founder, president, and CEO of Comunilife, Inc, a multi-service non-profit organization committed to assisting vulnerable New Yorkers, including those living with HIV/AIDS and mental illness, and the homeless, to achieve self-sufficiency. Gil serves as a commissioner on the Commission of Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, and on Mayor Bloomberg's Commission on Women's Issues. She has experience consulting with a wide range of governmental task forces and panels on the city, state, and federal level and is the former chairperson of the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation. She is the former dean for Health Sciences at the City University of New York. A pioneer in the field of social work, Gil is a co-founder of several commissions on Latinos and is the co-author of The Maria Paradox, a book on self-esteem and Hispanic women.

Heather C. McGhee, JD, is the vice president of policy and outreach of Demos, a public policy organization committed to promoting democracy, diversity, and equality. She is a vocal advocate on issues of democracy reform, economic opportunity, racial equity, and financial regulation, and has provided commentary on numerous major news networks, including MSNBCFoxCNN, and National Public Radio. She is a regular contributor for "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on Current TV. She has worked extensively to alleviate poverty and utilizes public media as an avenue for social change and awareness.

Lorie A. Slutsky has been the president of New York Community Trust since 1990. She began at the Trust as a grant-writer focusing on education, housing, neighborhood revitalization, and government and urban affairs. She moved to the position of vice president in 1987, taking responsibility for strategic planning, personnel, budget management, and departmental oversight. Since becoming president, she has worked endlessly to fund nonprofits in New York City that implement programming for low-income families. In addition to her work at New York Community Trust, Slutsky serves on the Chief Judge's Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services in New York State, and is a chair on the Task Force's RFP Work Group. Additionally, she is a board member of Independent Sector and co-chairs its Panel on the Nonprofit Sector.

Dennis M. Walcott is the chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, overseeing over 1,700 schools within the NYC educational system. Utilizing Mayor Bloomberg's "Children First" reforms, he has committed himself to encouraging teacher talent, expanding individualized options for children and families in their school choices, fostering strong partnerships with parents, and preparing students for postsecondary and career success. Prior to his appointment as chancellor, Mr. Walcott served as Mayor Bloomberg's deputy mayor for education and community development, through which he collaborated with community-based organizations throughout NYC and shaped policies regarding youth programs and adult education. Walcott began his career as a kindergarten teacher, and in 1975 founded a peer mentoring program for young boys, Frederick Douglass Brother-to-Brother.


About the McSilver Institute: The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at NYU's Silver School of Social Work conducts, promotes, and disseminates interdisciplinary applied research to address root causes of, effects of, and responses to poverty.