logo

About


The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is a catalyst for smart and sustainable policies that reduce inequality, increase economic mobility, and grow the economy in New York City. An independent, nonpartisan policy organization, CUF uses fact-based research to elevate important and often overlooked issues onto the radar of policymakers and advance practical solutions that strengthen New York and help all New Yorkers participate in the city’s rising prosperity.

For 20 years, CUF has consistently shaped the policy debate around economic opportunity in New York by publishing reports that are widely covered in the media, highly readable and anchored in rigorous research rather than preconceived notions about outcome.

CUF’s efforts to create a more prosperous, equitable and inclusive New York span many topics and policy areas, and are unified by three common aims:

  • Growing New York City’s economy and boosting the number of middle income jobs; and
  • Helping more people develop the skills and credentials needed to access careers that put them on the path to the middle class;
  • Making New York City—and its many and diverse neighborhoods—a better place to live.

City Futures, Inc. d.b.a. Center for an Urban Future is a non-profit 501(c)(3) with 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 think tank that serves as a catalyst for smart and sustainable policies to reduce inequality, increase economic mobility, and grow the economy in New York City.. During his 19 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 a guest contributor for the New York Times, the Daily News, and the Council on Foreign Relations on a range of urban issues including the need to diversify New York City's economy and the importance of 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.


Eli Dvorkin   |   Editorial & Policy Director   |   (212) 479-3319   |   edvorkin@nycfuture.org

Eli Dvorkin is the Editorial & Policy Director of the Center for an Urban Future, where he oversees the development of all publications and guides CUF's numerous research initiatives on the major policy challenges facing New York City. Prior to joining the Center, he served as a staff editor at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), editing and producing books, reports, and digital projects by CFR fellows and other experts on the most pressing issues in U.S. foreign policy. His work has been featured in the New York TimesNew York Daily News, Wall Street Journal, Gotham Gazette, and on WNYC, and he has presented at MoMA PS1, TransitCenter, and Flux Factory on subjects as diverse as DIY music culture, the commuting challenges facing New York's healthcare workers, and Russian-Turkish relations in the Syrian Civil War.

Eli has been an editor and journalist for more than a decade, including stints at Kickstarter and Flavorpill in New York, and the Hurriyet Daily News in Istanbul. He is also a passionate arts organizer and founding member of Silent Barn, a multidisciplinary community arts space based in Bushwick from 2012 to 2018. Earlier in his career, Eli served as operations manager for the Sketchbook Project, a traveling library of artists’ sketchbooks from around the world, where he led two nationwide touring exhibitions. He graduated from Columbia University. Eli lives with his wife, Hillary, in Ridgewood, Queens.


Cara Eisenpress   |   Research Fellow   |   (212) 479-3344   |   ceisenpress@nycfuture.org

Cara Eisenpress is a journalist and professor who has lived in New York City her entire life. Cara is a regular contributor to Crain’s New York Business where she covers the intersection of food and business—trends in the economics restaurants, the consequences of regulation and policy on the sector, and the future of the food manufacturing’s local resurgence. Beyond food, she has written about the New York tech industry, state policy’s effect on inequality, and the minimum wage. Cara is a graduate of Harvard College and the Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY. She currently teaches graduate students in the urban reporting concentration about New York City’s economy and undergrads in the journalism major at Lehman College.


Christian González-Rivera   |   Senior Researcher   |   (212) 479-3341   |   cgr@nycfuture.org

Christian González-Rivera is a Senior Researcher at the Center for an Urban Future, where he focuses on workforce development policy and the issues facing immigrants and older adults in New York City. Before coming to CUF, Christian researched housing policy 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. In 2016 City and State named Christian one of New York City's 40 Under 40 Rising Stars. 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 NewsNext CityCity and State, Gotham Gazette, 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 the world's most beautiful places.


Bora Lee   |   Associate Director of Events and Operations   |   (212) 479-3344   |   blee@nycfuture.org

Bora Lee is the Associate Director of Events & Operations at the Center for an Urban Future, where she oversees the event management, fundraising strategy, day-to-day operations, and finances of the organization. Prior to joining the Center, she led the operations department and oversaw the capital renovation project at the Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCS) as the Assistant Director of Operations. Previously, she served as KCS’ Executive Administrator and Development Coordinator where she led all fundraising events and campaigns, served as the board liaison, managed internal and external communications, and led special projects. Through her leadership, KCS was able to expand its immigration and youth services to the community.

Bora has dedicated her career to public service, beginning as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the MinKwon Center for Community Action and AmeriCorps VISTA Leader at the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. She holds a BA in sociology and urban studies from CUNY Queens College and a master's in public administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Bora is a born and bred New Yorker currently living with her husband, Daniel, in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


Judith Messina   |   Senior Fellow for Small Business and Entrepreneurship   |   (212) 479-3344   |   jmessina@nycfuture.org

Judith Messina is Senior Fellow for Small Business and Entrepreneurship at the Center for an Urban Future. Judith is an award-winning journalist with extensive experience covering business, technology, healthcare, higher education, and real estate. She launched Crain's technology coverage at the beginning of the first Internet boom and served as a senior reporter for more than a decade.

Judith's work has appeared in Crain's New York Business, Advertising Age, Business Insurance, Investment News, Workforce, The Real Deal, CNBC.com and various Health Monitor Network magazines. Judith has authored several studies for the Center, including Breaking Through (2016), a groundbreaking report on women entrepreneurs. She earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Graduate School of Business and an MS with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.


Angela Sabblah   |   Events and Operations Assistant   |   (212) 479-3352   |   asabblah@nycfuture.org

Angela Sabblah is the Events and Operations Assistant for the Center for an Urban Future, where she supports the organization’s operations, fundraising, events, and communications efforts. Prior to joining the team, Angela served in the United States Peace Corps, where she lived in Namibia for two years, teaching English to students in her community. She enjoyed building relationships with the locals, learning the language, and integrating into Namibian culture.

Angela is passionate about local and international development. During her time in college, she saw firsthand how non-profit organizations can be a voice for underserved communities across the globe. She is a native New Yorker and graduate of Hunter College.


Naomi Sharp   |   Researcher   |   (212) 479-3338   |   nsharp@nycfuture.org

Naomi Sharp is a Researcher at the Center for an Urban Future. She has worked as an editorial fellow at The Atlantic and a freelance fact-checker for NPR, VICE, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Atlas Obscura. Her reporting on the refugee crisis was published in The Telegraph and IRIN News. Naomi graduated from Columbia University with a BA in English.


John Surico   |   Research Fellow   |   (212) 479-3344   |   jsurico@nycfuture.org

John Surico is a journalist and researcher based in Queens, New York. He is a frequent contributor to the Metro desk at the New York Times, and covers transit for outlets like VICE and the Atlantic's CityLab. He currently teaches undergraduate journalism at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. For the Center, John was the lead author and researcher of the 2018 report entitled A New Leaf: Revitalizing New York City's Aging Parks Infrastructure, which was widely covered in the media and led to a series of policy changes that are strengthening the city's parks system. He hails from Long Island, New York, and outside of work, he's usually taking the subway somewhere to eat and explore.
 



Board


Gifford Miller, Miller Strategies (Chairman)

John H. Alschuler, HR&A Advisors

Margaret Anadu, Goldman Sachs

Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future

Michael Connor, Open Mic 

Russell Dubner, Edelman US

Lisa Gomez, L+M Development Partners

Jalak Jobanputra, FuturePerfect Ventures

Kyle Kimball, Con Edison

David Lebenstein, Cushman & Wakefield

Eric S. Lee, Bennett Midland, LLC

Monisha Nariani, Citigroup

Max Neukirchen, JPMorgan Chase 

Andrew Reicher, UHAB

John Siegal, Baker & Hostetler LLP

Stephen Sigmund, Global Gateway Alliance

Thomas Vecchione, Gensler

Robert Zimmerman, Zimmerman/Edelson Inc


Jobs


Director of Communications & Strategy

The Center for an Urban Future (CUF), an independent, nonprofit policy organization focused on the critical issues affecting New York City’s future, seeks a Director of Communications & Strategy to help drive the policy debate in New York. The ideal candidate will have exceptional writing skills, strong instincts on the issues of the day, significant experience navigating the New York City policy and media landscapes, and the hustle required to gain attention for our important work.

CUF is a catalyst for smart and sustainable policies that reduce inequality, increase economic mobility, and grow the economy in New York City. We use fact-based research to elevate important and often overlooked issues onto the radar of policymakers and advance practical solutions that strengthen New York and help all New Yorkers participate in the city’s rising prosperity.

Responsibilities

The Director of Communications & Strategy will play a key role in building awareness of the organization and expanding CUF’s reach and impact to shape the policy debate around economic opportunity in New York City. This highly motivated self-starter will be responsible for developing and executing all elements of the organization’s marketing, communications, and PR strategies. Duties include drafting and editing press releases, media advisories, op-eds, marketing materials, and tailored pitches to reporters, as well as managing the organization’s social media channels and e-newsletter. The Communications Director will also be responsible for identifying opportunities for CUF to weigh in on issues that are core to the organization’s mission and advance the findings and recommendations from our policy reports. Drawing on a deep well of knowledge regarding New York City’s policymaking community, the Communications Director will help drive impact through strategic marketing of CUF’s ideas, research, and recommendations to leaders in government, the media, and the private sector.

The Director of Communications & Strategy will take on the following responsibilities:

Communications & Strategy

  • Plan and execute a comprehensive communications and marketing strategy for all of the organization’s publications, research products, and events.
  • Write press releases, media advisories, marketing materials, pitches to journalists, and CUF’s email newsletter.
  • Day-to-day management of social media channels, including a prominent Twitter handle, and develop social media strategies and assets to promote the organization and market CUF’s reports and ideas.
  • Pitch and place stories in various media outlets
  • Cultivate relationships with reporters, policymakers, nonprofit and business leaders, and other key audiences to maintain visibility of CUF’s work and drive impact.
  • Secure and manage notable speaking opportunities for CUF leaders to drive organizational visibility, recognition and thought leadership
  • Develop talking points and messaging for CUF leaders and outside spokespeople to prepare for CUF events, speaking opportunities at policy conferences, and media interviews
  • Assist in ghost writing op-eds and drafting other short-form publications.
  • Develop marketing materials for the organization, including pitch decks and one-pagers
  • Identify and promote policy impacts and other organizational achievements
  • Develop and foster partnerships—public, private, and philanthropic—that advance uptake and spread of CUF’s policy recommendations

Insights & Opportunities

  • Track daily developments in state and local government and identify opportunities to market CUF’s research and ideas.
  • Collate and share relevant news links each morning with CUF staff
  • Maintain oversight of CUF’s digital analytics, including CUF’s website, social media platforms, and e-newsletters.
  • Assist in fundraising activities, including grant writing and reporting, drafting letters of interest, and identifying new prospects and opportunities.
  • Assist in brainstorming speakers and panelists for CUF events and drafting framing language and invitations
  • Help curate a pipeline of research ideas and help select topical themes for CUF's agenda

Qualities & Qualifications

Successful candidates will have the following qualities and qualifications:

  • 5+ years experience working in a communications, marketing, or PR role in a public policy setting
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills, with significant experience writing press releases, pitches, and marketing materials
  • Proven ability to identify and craft pitches to a variety of media outlets
  • Ability to deliver complex content in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner to multiple audiences, including journalists, government officials, and business and nonprofit leaders
  • Strong and established relationships with journalists, policymakers, and local government
  • A passion for New York City’s diverse communities and a deep interest in policy issues; working knowledge of major topics in economic development and economic opportunity preferred
  • Ability to manage complex projects and exercise sound judgement
  • Fluency in Microsoft Office programs, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (Adobe Creative Suite and basic HTML/CSS a plus)
  • Experience developing content for social media preferred
  • A team player who thrives on a challenge

This is a full-time position. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Only applicants meeting minimum qualifications for the position will be considered.

How to Apply
Send resume, cover letter, and at least one writing sample to commsjob@nycfuture.org. No phone calls please. An independent, nonpartisan policy organization, the Center is an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace. We welcome applications from all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, or other factors protected by law.



Internships


We hire interns for three cohorts: Spring (January to May), Summer (May to August), and Fall (August to December). We accept applications on a rolling basis, so in the subject line of your email please indicate the cohort(s) and internship for which you would be interested in applying.


Policy Research Internship

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, but we provide a small stipend at the end of the internship to help offset travel expenses. Send resume with cover letter to intern@nycfuture.org.

We maintain a friendly and open working environment and encourage people of all backgrounds: age, race, ethnicity, gender, creed, and sexual orientation to apply.