Introducing Our New York Leadership Committee!

September 9, 2019

By Julie Gersten

New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world and home to millions of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. As the Refugee Action Fund deepens its work to respond to the global refugee crisis, I’m thrilled that we have launched our New York Leadership Committee! This Committee is comprised of dedicated individuals in the financial industry—many of whom are from immigrant families themselves. Together, they will expand our network of supporters and serve as ambassadors for the Refugee Action Fund in the New York Metropolitan area.

I hope you’ll take a minute to get to know our New York Leadership Committee members and learn why they’re responding to the refugee crisis.

Thomas Blair:  My involvement in the Refugee Action Fund continually reminds me of the human aspect of the refugee crisis and why we must learn more about people all over the world whose lives are at risk. I love that The Refugee Action Fund directly supports refugees—including women and children—by engaging professionals in the financial community to be key philanthropic partners.   

Michael Cuoco:  My family’s immigrant heritage inspired me to join the Refugee Action Fund’s Leadership Committee. It is my turn to assist those who need help today.

Russell Dyk:  Many Americans, including myself, have a personal link to someone who left the country of their birth for a better life in the United States. I’m excited to help the Refugee Action Fund change the conversation from one in which refugees are considered as an “other” to one in which they are considered as another one of “us.”

John Fallon:  My interest in the Refugee Action Fund is certainly stimulated by the news headlines, but also from my personal experience in caring for the physically and mentally disabled. I recognize that there are many people who need a voice to advocate on their behalf. Governments and individuals need to be reminded to take action to support the most vulnerable among us. I want to do my part to raise awareness.

Shaun Kempenich:  I come from a family of immigrants. I live in a country founded by immigrants. And I am excited to be a part of the Refugee Action Fund to help others with the American values of “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Kathy Kriskey:  As a child of an immigrant, I feel blessed to be raised in the United States, and I know that refugees are taking drastic measures to build a life here for themselves and their families. I believe it’s my duty to help them on their journey. Working with the Refugee Action Fund allows me to make a valuable difference.

Olga Kurovskaya:  As a former refugee, my family was fortunate to have the network in place to help us succeed and I hope to be able to pay it forward. I am excited to help make a difference in the growing global refugee crisis.

David Levi:  My father and his parents emigrated to the United States from Egypt following the Six-Day War in 1967. My father and grandmother were initially separated from my grandfather and reconnected in Marseilles the following year. The financial assistance and resettlement support that my family received, including language skills and housing assistance, was instrumental to their transition. I am looking forward to supporting others who are similarly establishing new roots in the United States.

Andrew Mugica:  I’ve joined Refugee Action Fund because I’m excited to be part of an innovative, committed team that is improving the lives of vulnerable people throughout the world.

Matthew O'Connor:  The global refugee crisis has no simple solutions. It is going to take organizations like Refugee Action Fund to help solve the complex problems that cause refugees to flee their homelands and to help integrate those refugees into their destination communities. I have joined the Refugee Action Fund Leadership Committee because I want to be part of this solution. 

Stephen Richardson:  I believe that the plight of refugees will be one of the defining issues of our time. By joining with the Refugee Action Fund, I am advancing social justice and equality for refugees and asylum seekers around the globe.

Eden Simmer:  The Refugee Action Fund champions the most basic of human rights for people who are too often ignored or forgotten. I am proud to join the Refugee Action Fund’s Leadership Committee to advance compassion, humanity, and dignity for vulnerable people.

Want to learn more about our leadership committee and how you can get involved? Contact Julie Gersten at [email protected].