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About


The Center for an Urban Future is a NYC-based think tank dedicated to highlighting the critical opportunities and challenges facing New York and other cities, and providing fresh ideas and workable solutions to policymakers. The Center’s primary focus is on growing and diversifying the local economy, expanding economic opportunity and targeting problems facing low-income and working-class neighborhoods. We consistently elevate important, but long overlooked, issues onto the radar of public officials—and we push policymakers to think differently about economic and workforce development.

The Center does this through publishing fact-based research reports that are accessible to a wide audience and holding high-profile policy forums.

Center for an Urban Future’s parent organization is City Futures, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3). EIN: 13-3185114.


Staff


Jonathan Bowles  |  Executive Director  |  212.479.3347 |  jbowles@nycfuture.org

Jonathan Bowles is the Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future, a Manhattan-based think tank dedicated to independent research about key policy issues facing New York and other cities. During his 12 years at the Center, he has been the architect of the policy agenda for the Center and is responsible for making it one of New York's most innovative and influential organizations and one in which its policy ideas are well-respected and widely used by policymakers, business leaders, and nonprofit practitioners.

At the Center, Jonathan has authored more than two-dozen reports, including a widely acclaimed 2007 study about the significant impact immigrant entrepreneurs are having on cities' economies, an influential study about New York City's innovation economy and a report about how to retain and grow New York's middle class. He has been asked to be a guest contributor for the New York Times, the Daily News and The Council on Foreign Relations on a range of urban issues including New York City's need to diversify its economy and immigrant entrepreneurs. His research about key economic trends facing New York and its five boroughs, the value of small businesses to cities, and the economic impact of industries ranging from air cargo to biotechnology has been covered in publications ranging from the New York Times and USA Today to The Economist. Jonathan is a frequent moderator and speaker at conferences and panel discussions on urban policy in New York and nationally.

In November 2008, the New York Times' City Room blog featured him in their "Ask the Expert" column, in which he fielded questions from readers for one week about the challenges facing immigrant entrepreneurs. He served on Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's Small Business Task Force in 2008 to examine the threats facing mom and pop retailers in the borough. In 2006, City Hall News named him one of 35 "Rising Stars Under 40" and in 2005, Time Out New York named him "New York's Finest Troublemaker."

Before joining the Center, he worked as research director for former New York State Senator Franz Leichter and spent time as a freelance journalist.

 


 

Ahmad Dowla  |  Deputy Director  |  212.479.3319 |  adowla@nycfuture.org

Ahmad Dowla has been with the Center for an Urban Future since 2006 and now serves as its Deputy Director. In this role, he manages the Center's various projects and oversees development, communications and implementation of organizational strategies, policies and practices. He is also the developer behind the Center's website and the designer behind Center publications and materials. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and CUNY Hunter. Ahmad currently lives in Queens.

 


 

Jeanette Estima  |  Research Associate  |  212.479.3351 |  jestima@nycfuture.org

Jeanette Estima is a Research Associate for the Center for an Urban Future. She comes to the Center with a diverse background that is tied together by her love of analysis and interest in social justice. She previously worked as the Morgan Stanley/ANHD Community Development Fellow based at WHEDco in the South Bronx, where she did research and pre-development planning on affordable housing for elder musicians as well as research on the Bronx Music Heritage Center and access to healthy food. While completing her MS in Urban Policy Analysis and Management at The New School, she directed her studies with client-based projects in community and economic development and social policy. Prior to that, she wrote proposals and managed grants at Amnesty International USA, and managed membership for Lambda Legal. Before joining the non-profit sector, Jeanette completed graduate work in Philosophy at the University of Virginia, where she researched and taught in the areas of consciousness and ethics. Jeanette received her BA in Philosophy from Bard College. She lives in Brooklyn, where there is usually something growing on the fire escape and something cooking in the kitchen.

 


 

David Jason Fischer  |  Senior Fellow, Workforce Development  | dfischer@nycfuture.org

David Fischer is Senior Workforce Fellow at the Center for an Urban Future, returning to CUF after four years in city government. Most recently, he served three years with the NYC Department of Education, managing a portfolio of over 400 career and technical education programs preparing students for postsecondary education and employment in virtually every sector of the local economy. At DOE, he designed and implemented new program models blending education and work experience, strengthened linkages between classroom and workplace, and tied development of new CTE schools and programs to current and projected labor market demand. He previously served at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, where he led development of the “One System for One City” reports, helped design workforce collaboration projects including the CTE-focused “Scholars at Work” partnership between SBS and DOE, and co-led a strategic revamp of SBS training investments. From 2000 through 2010, David was CUF’s director of workforce development and social policy, authoring reports on the demographic transformation of the NYC workforce, ongoing reforms to city job training and placement initiatives, local and state policies that impact working poor New Yorkers, and the potential of CTE to prepare students for careers in high-demand sectors, among other subjects. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two large cats.

 


 

Adam Forman  |  Research & Communications Associate  |  212.479.3352 |  aforman@nycfuture.org

Adam Forman is a Research and Communications Associate for the Center for an Urban Future. He has interned at the Public Advocate’s Office and worked in tax and trade consulting and as a freelance writer. His work has been published in the New York Daily News, New York Post and an assortment of internet blogs. He received his BA from Colgate University in economics and an MA in political science from the University of Washington. He specializes in economic development and urban planning. Adam currently lives in Brooklyn.

 


 

David Giles  |  Research Director  |  212.479.3353 |  dgiles@nycfuture.org

David Giles is the Center for an Urban Future's Research Director. During his four years at the Center, Giles has written extensively on a variety of public policy issues including transportation, technology and the arts. As a part of the Center's continuing research on the need for a more diverse local economy, he has researched New York's health information technology and applied arts sectors and written about the problems many small businesses are having accessing energy efficiency incentives. As the author of a widely covered report on transportation, he has also written about the growing challenges many New York City commuters are having in accessing jobs in the boroughs outside of Manhattan. His reports and op-eds have appeared in local and national media outlets including The New York Times, New York Daily News, National Public Radio and NY1. He has a BA from Boston College and an MA from the University of Chicago. He lives in Queens with his wife and two children.

 


 

Christian González-Rivera  |  Research Associate  |  212.479.3341 |  cgr@nycfuture.org

Christian González-Rivera is a research associate at the Center for an Urban Future, where he primarily works on workforce development policy, and has authored a study on older immigrants in New York City. Before coming to CUF he worked at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, and spent four years as the research manager at the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley, California, where he authored and supported research on housing, philanthropy, diversity in the healthcare workforce, access to financial services, consumer protection, and the green economy. His work has been covered in both English- and Spanish-language media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, Next City, La Opinión, Univision, NY1, WNYC, KPFA, and others. He holds a BA in urban studies from Columbia University and a masters in urban planning from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He lives in Manhattan, and together with his partner Aleks he likes to go hiking and camping in America's most beautiful places.

 


 

Tom Hilliard  |  Senior Fellow   |   thilliard@nycfuture.org

Tom Hilliard is a Senior Fellow with the Center for an Urban Future. He has analyzed several critically important aspects of workforce policy for the Center, including the economic value of community college completion, barriers to foster youth success in the workforce, and declining support for English-language instruction. His reports have appeared in local and national media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, WNYC, NY1 and the New York Daily News. He previously served as Senior Policy Associate at the Albany-based Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, where he launched an initiative to expand postsecondary opportunities for low-income adults. Tom has also served as Director of Health Policy to New York City Public Advocate Mark Green and Assistant Director of Medicine at Gouverneur Healthcare Services, a freestanding clinic on the Lower East Side.


Board


Gifford Miller, Miller Strategies (Chairman)

Michael Connor, Open Mic (Vice-Chair)

Monisha Nariani, Citigroup (Treasurer)

Blake Foote (Secretary)

John H. Alschuler, HR&A Advisors

Margaret Anadu, Goldman Sachs

Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future

Gerrard Bushell, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts

Jonathan Butler, Brownstoner and Brooklyn Flea

Russell Dubner, Edelman Public Relations

Lisa Gomez, L+M Development Partners

Jalak Jobanputra, FuturePerfect Ventures

David Lebenstein, Cassidy Turley

Eric S. Lee, Bennett Midland, LLC

Andrew Reicher, UHAB

John Siegal, Baker & Hostetler LLP

Stephen Sigmund, Global Strategy Group

Thomas Vecchione, Gensler

Robert Zimmerman, Zimmerman/Edelson Inc


Jobs


Research Associate

The Center for an Urban Future, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, seeks a Research Associate with strong writing skills and experience in reporting on or researching urban policy issues. Research associates at the Center are the lead researchers and authors of our policy studies about economic and workforce development issues in New York City, and they also assist our senior staff members with research, analysis and managing our Policy Research interns.

We are looking for an entrepreneurial individual with exceptional writing skills; experience doing on-the-ground research, conducting interviews and analyzing data; a track record of authoring published articles or policy reports; ability to synthesize ideas clearly, concisely and accessibly; experience with public data sources like the US Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics; knowledge of NYC policymaking process; and a strong interest in the New York City policy landscape especially with regards to economic development, urban planning, workforce development or human capital development issues. Ideal candidates should have at least one year of work experience in public policy, journalism or government; a graduate degree in public policy, urban planning, journalism, economics, government, social science or a related field; excellent organization skills with strong attention to detail; ability to prioritize and capacity to handle multiple tasks simultaneously; excellent communication skills; strong collaborative skills and the ability to interact with other office staff at all levels; expert level of experience with Microsoft Office programs, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook; ability to make independent decisions regarding planning, organizing and scheduling work; and a willingness to learn new skills/programs.

Responsibilities

  • Author policy reports, policy briefs, op-eds, press releases, surveys and other materials
  • Conduct in-person and phone interviews
  • Extensive background research
  • Gather and analyze economic and demographic data
  • Assist senior staff with planning policy forums
  • Communicate with press on research issues as-needed
  • Manage and mentor Policy Research interns

How to Apply

The Center for an Urban Future is a NYC-based think tank dedicated to highlighting the critical opportunities and challenges facing New York and other cities, and providing fresh ideas and workable solutions to policymakers. The Center’s primary focus is on growing and diversifying the local economy, expanding economic opportunity and targeting problems facing low-income and working-class neighborhoods. The position is full time and the salary is commensurate with experience. Additionally, the Center provides a generous benefits package. Send resume, cover letter and at least one writing sample to jobs+research@nycfuture.org. No phone calls please. The Center is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes resumes from all qualified applicants. We encourage people of all ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities, creeds and sexual orientations to apply.


Internships


The Center is seeking applications for the fall 2014 cohort. Placements are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is an independent nonprofit public policy research think-tank that produces innovative analysis on economic development and workforce development issues in New York City, with a focus on promoting economic diversity while creating opportunities for disadvantaged populations and lower-skill workers. 

Our work seeks to highlight issues within our fields of focus that tend to fly under the radar in mainstream policy discussions.  In recent years, CUF’s research has shined a spotlight on the role of immigrant entrepreneurs as economic engines for many outer-borough neighborhoods, the rise of the design and tech fields in the city, the role of public libraries as human capital institutions, and how community colleges are a crucial and underleveraged element in the city’s workforce development system.

The Center seeks interns with experience in journalism or public policy research to support our work.  Responsibilities can include extensive phone interviews, Web research, data analysis, and writing. Other duties include coordinating meetings with government officials and attending policy meetings.

Skills and attributes we seek are:

  • Strong writing and oral communications skills
  • Ability to synthesize ideas clearly and concisely
  • Ability to conduct effective interviews over the phone and in person
  • High level of competency in using Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • At least some experience with public data sources like the US Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • An interest in economic development, urban planning, workforce development, and higher education issues

We prefer current graduate students or those with advanced degrees in public policy, urban planning, journalism, economics, government, social science, or related fields, though we will also consider accomplished undergraduate students. Our internship program is very competitive and attracts talented undergraduate and graduate students from across the country and around the world.

You must be able to commit to at least 20 hours a week.  This is an unpaid internship that can be used for college credit where applicable. Send resume with cover letter to intern@nycfuture.org.

We encourage people of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, creeds, and sexual orientations to apply.


Supporters


The Center for an Urban Future gratefully acknowledges the support of the following foundations:

FY12
July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012

ABNY Foundation
Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation
Charles H. Revson Foundation
Child Welfare Fund
Citi
ConEdison
F. B. Heron Foundation
Fund for the City of New York
IBM Foundation
Ira W. DeCamp Foundation
JPMorgan Chase Foundation
JobsFirstNYC
Kauffman Foundation
Met-Life
Pinkerton Foundation
UU Veatch Program
Working Poor Families Project

FY11
July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011

Child Welfare Fund
Ira W. DeCamp Foundation
Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
Fund for the City of New York
Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation
IBM Foundation
Pinkerton Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
Staten Island Economic Development Corp.
UU Veatch Program
Working Poor Families Project