Board of Directors

In photo from L to R starting at the top: Gordon N. Litwin, John Wroclawski, David R. Jones, Miles Rapoport, Amy Bergtold, Susanna Bergtold, Marcia Thompson (deceased), and Karen R. Sollins | Not shown: Rini Banerjee, Miriam Buhl, Hillary Brown, Steve Choi, Marianna Schaffer, and Peter Sollins

Karen R. Sollins, Chair

Dr. Sollins is a Principal Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where her research has focused on computer networks and network architecture. Although the majority of her professional experience in the grants process continues to be as an applicant for and recipient of grants, as part of her mission to understand grant making from both sides, she spent two years as a senior program director at the National Science Foundation running the Network Research grant program and making grants with a total budget of about $40M. In addition, she led the Network and Communications component of the Information Technology Research program, overseeing another $20M in grants. In these programs, grants range in size from $50K to $5M. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Swarthmore College and Master’s and PhD in Computer Science from MIT. Although she has broad philanthropic interests, well matched to those of the Foundation, her special interests are in the environment, and human and civil rights. She is a daughter of Axel and Katharine Rosin and granddaughter of Harry and Bernardine Scherman. She served as a board member to the Scherman Foundation for many years before becoming Chair of the Board.

Susanna Bergtold, Secretary

Susanna Bergtold is a sculptor and printmaker based in New Jersey.  Her works, primarily in wood, often feature animals.  She has taught at the Printmaking Council of New Jersey, the Newark Museum Arts Workshop, and Manhattan Graphics Center.  She helped administer Manhattan Graphics Center, was on the Board for many years and served as President for four years and also as secretary.  She is now secretary for an organization called Sculpture for Leonia, whose mission is to exhibit outdoor sculpture.  It recently received an award from the Bergen County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs government called “Award of Artistic Excellence.”  Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, libraries.   Bergtold artworks are included in the collections of the Newark Museum and Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art Library, the New York Public Library, and the Noyes Museum, among others.  She attended The Rhode Island School of Design and The Art Student’s League of New York, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.  She is a daughter of Axel and Katharine Rosin and granddaughter of Harry and Bernadine Scherman.

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Rini Banerjee

Rini Banerjee is currently President of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and has two decades of experience in philanthropy. An Integrated Capital Fellow at RSF Social Finance, she has served as Executive Director at Foundation for a Just Society, Program Officer at the Overbrook Foundation, and Program Director at the New York Women’s Foundation. She is a trustee of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and Board member of Funders for Reproductive Equity, and has co-created or served on groups including the NYC-based Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, the Groundswell Fund, and the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She was a past Board Chair of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and past Board member of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!). She holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a BSc in finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Amy Bergtold 

Amy Bergtold is currently taking care of her 3 young children and is an active member of their public school’s Parent Teacher Association. She regularly volunteers her time to tutor at risk students in math and is on the school’s wellness council which focuses on promoting healthy eating and exercise habits for young children. She has recently joined the grant writing committee at her children’s school as well. Formerly she was a scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and before that a PhD candidate at Columbia University. She has published extensively in the fields of immunology and molecular biology. Amy is the daughter of Susanna Bergtold and the granddaughter of Axel and Katharine Rosin.

Hillary Brown, FAIA

Hillary Brown, Professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York, directs CCNY’s interdisciplinary masters program: Sustainability in the Urban Environment, developed with the Grove School of Engineering and CCNY’s Division of Science. Currently serving on the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE), a unit of the National Research Council of the National Academies, Hillary is also Principal of the firm New Civic Works, which consults with governments and institutions on sustainability planning for buildings and infrastructure. As a former New York City Assistant Commissioner, she was the 1996 founding director of its Office of Sustainable Design. Hillary is a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute, a former Fellow at Second Nature, a Robert Bosch Public Policy Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design from 1998 to 2000.

Miriam Buhl, Esq.   

Miriam Buhl is Pro Bono Counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP and has coordinated the firm’s worldwide pro bono program since 2005. In 2011, Weil’s 1,200 attorneys performed nearly 80,000 hours of pro bono work on a wide range of issues including human rights, economic development, corporate governance, political asylum, and environmental protection. Ms. Buhl was named Pro Bono Counsel of the Year by The Legal Aid Society in 2006, and in 2010 she received the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee’s first Public Advocacy Award. Ms. Buhl has extensive administrative experience in the field of philanthropy having served as state director for the Greater New York Chapter of the March of Dimes; executive director of The New York Women’s Foundation; and founding director of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Public Service Network. She also served as executive director of the fair housing agency Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc. and was staff attorney for The Legal Aid Society’s Civil Division, Brooklyn Neighborhood Office. She is a member of the board of directors for the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee and is a member of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, the Innocence Project’s Development Committee, the PILnet Pro Bono Council as well as that organization’s Planning Committee for the Annual European Pro Bono Forum, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Public Service Council. She also co-teaches the Externship on Pro Bono Program and Design at Columbia University Law School. Ms. Buhl is a graduate of Brown University and Fordham University School of Law.

Steven K. Choi

Steve Choi is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, a coalition of over 200-member groups that represents New York State’s immigrant communities. He has tripled the organizational budget and doubled the size of the organization’s staff since joining in 2013, now overseeing the nation’s largest state immigrant rights coalition and serving as the chief advocate on immigrant rights, education, civic participation, and health care access on the Federal, state and local levels.

From 2009 to 2013, Steve was the Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, which represents the Korean and Asian community in New York. Prior to that, he was Director of the Korean Workers Project at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF). His previous experience includes working for the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center in Boston, Greater Boston Legal Services, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Los Angeles.

Steve received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a M.A. from the University of Hawaii, and a B.A. from Stanford University in History with Honors. He is the recipient of the 2013 New York Law Journal’s “Rising Stars” Award, the 2012 NAPABA Best Lawyers Under 40 Award, the Korean American Association “Man of the Year” Award, the Skadden Fellowship, the Wasserstein Fellowship, the Skirnick Public Interest Fellowship, and the Harvard Law School Asian Pacific American Alumni Award. He also currently serves on the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

David R. Jones, Esq.

David R. Jones has been President and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that promotes economic advancement and full civic participation for low-income New Yorkers, since 1986. Prior to joining CSS, Mr. Jones served as Executive Director of the New York City Youth Bureau and, from 1979 to 1983, as Special Advisor to Mayor Ed Koch.  Mr. Jones has served on the transition committees of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He was recently confirmed to fill a seat on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board and appointed to a blue-ribbon commission advising the mayor on structural changes to NYC Health + Hospitals. He served for five years as Chairman of the Board of Carver Federal Savings Bank, the largest African-American managed bank in the nation.  He is currently Chair of the Board of the Nation Institute, a member of the Advisory Council of the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and board member of the Center for Community Change. While receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University Mr. Jones interned for the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Washington, D.C.  He received a Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School, afterwards clerking for Judge Constance Baker Motley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Prior to his nonprofit and public service careers, he specialized in corporate antitrust cases and contract litigation at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Gordon Litwin, Esq.

Gordon Litwin is a partner in the New Jersey firm of Litwin & Provence, LLC, specializing in environmental and land use. Mr. Litwin is co-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hackensack Meridian Health, a thirteen hospital integrated health system located in New Jersey.  He is Chairman of AllSpire Health Partners, an alliance of five health care systems that serve patients in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.  He is a Trustee of the Mary Owen Borden Foundation in Princeton, NJ and Chairman of the Board of Coastal Insurance Company headquartered in Bermuda. Mr. Litwin is a former director of the New Jersey Hospital Association.  He has been active in numerous civic activities and was formerly Mayor of Little Silver and Chairman of the Board of Brookdale Community College and of the Riverview Medical Center, all in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and Harvard Law School.

Miles Rapoport

Miles Rapoport, a longtime organizer, policy advocate, and elected official, is a Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center, bringing four decades of experience working to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in the United States. Prior to his appointment to the Ash Center, Rapoport was most recently president of the independent grassroots organization Common Cause. For 13 years, he headed the public policy center Demos.

Rapoport previously served as Connecticut’s Secretary of the State and a state legislator for ten years in Hartford. He has written, spoken, and organized widely on issues of American democracy. He was a member of the Harvard class of 1971.

Rapoport is the first fellow appointed as part of the Ash Center’s new Senior Practice Fellowship in American Democracy, which seeks to deepen the Center’s engagement on fundamental issues of democratic practice. This new fellowship is also intended to expand the connections between scholarship and the field of practice of people and organizations working to defend and improve our public institutions.

Miles Rapoport

Miles Rapoport, a longtime organizer, policy advocate, and elected official, is a Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center, bringing four decades of experience working to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in the United States. Prior to his appointment to the Ash Center, Rapoport was most recently president of the independent grassroots organization Common Cause. For 13 years, he headed the public policy center Demos.

Rapoport previously served as Connecticut’s Secretary of the State and a state legislator for ten years in Hartford. He has written, spoken, and organized widely on issues of American democracy. He was a member of the Harvard class of 1971.

Rapoport is the first fellow appointed as part of the Ash Center’s new Senior Practice Fellowship in American Democracy, which seeks to deepen the Center’s engagement on fundamental issues of democratic practice. This new fellowship is also intended to expand the connections between scholarship and the field of practice of people and organizations working to defend and improve our public institutions.

Marianna Schaffer

As Director of Artist Initiatives, Marianna Schaffer serves a key role in cultivating and creating relationships, strategies, outreach, and programs to serve the needs of artists. She has spent over a decade as a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors in support of American artists and arts institutions dedicated to positive social change. After working as a member of David Rockefeller’s philanthropic team for 11 years, Marianna served as a Program Officer at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. There, she helped to empower individual artists and small arts organizations working across the country at the intersection of arts and social justice, primarily through pioneering initiatives such as the Artist as Activist Fellowship and SEED program. She is a Master of International Education from New York University, a B.A. in Social & Global Studies from Antioch College and is an active member of her Harlem community.


Axel G. Rosin, Chair and Director Emeritus (deceased March 27, 2007)

Katharine S. Rosin, Director Emeritus (deceased December 11, 2009)

Anthony M. Schulte, Director (deceased June 17, 2012)

Marcia Thompson, Director (deceased March 29, 2018)