Gala 2018


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. 


Jonathan Bowles   |   Executive Director   |   (212) 479-3347   |

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.

Matt Chaban   |   Policy Director/Fisher Fellow, Middle Class Jobs Project   |   (212) 479-3353   |

Matt A.V. Chaban is the Center for an Urban Future's policy director and Fisher Fellow. He spent his first decade in New York toiling at newsrooms across the city, starting with the Canarsie Courier and Architect's Newspaper, before working his way up through the ranks at the Observer, Crain's, the Daily News, and finally The New York Times, where he served as a reporter and columnist covering real estate, development, transportation, politics, and gefilte fish. Among his greatest achievements was getting Robert De Niro to pay taxes on his upstate estate and forcing the Trump Organization to restore a bench to the atrium of Trump Tower.

Matt now brings these sames skills to the Center, with the goal of expanding the organization's ambitions and output with more frequent pieces that will not only drive the conversation but also policy. A native of Pittsburgh, he studied journalism, philosophy, and outdoor education at the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. He now calls Jersey City home, where he lives with his wife and three cats in an 1890s rowhouse. He is not sure whether his love of cities springs from growing up with Legos or his hometown's singular skyline.

Eli Dvorkin   |   Managing Editor   |   (212) 479-3319   |

Eli Dvorkin is the Managing Editor 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.

Christian González-Rivera   |   Senior Researcher   |   (212) 479-3341   |

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.

Tom Hilliard   |   Senior Fellow for Economic Opportunity   |   (212) 479-3379   |

Tom Hilliard is a Senior Researcher at the Center for an Urban Future. He has authored numerous studies and commentaries for the Center, including influential analyses of youth in foster care, career pathways, and the changing national workforce development system. He has previously conducted public policy research and development at the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, the NYC Office of Public Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, and Earthworks. He has also worked as a consultant for organizations around the country, and as a freelance journalist, with articles in the Village VoiceThe ProgressiveCanoe & PaddleNewsday, and Metroland. He received a BA from Auburn University and an MPP from Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

Hayley Kaplan   |   Communications and Operations Manager   |   (212) 479-3351   |

Hayley Kaplan is the Communications and Operations Manager of the Center for an Urban Future, where she oversees communications, fundraising, and operations strategy. Hayley has a divergent background in business development and communications, as well as in public policy, real estate, and finance. Prior to joining the Center, Hayley was the General Manager of City & State Reports, an affiliate of City & State magazine, where she planned biweekly social responsibility events and conferences, edited publications, and managed integrated partnerships. She was also Business Development Associate at Hundred Stories PR, directing all new client and partnership development.

A journalist by trade, Hayley was a reporter and freelancer at the Real DealThe Deal, and the Hollywood Reporter, breaking numerous news stories and authoring dozens of features. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and a proud resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Judith Messina   |   Senior Fellow for Small Business and Entrepreneurship   |   () -   |

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, 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   |

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   |   Research Associate   |   (212) 479-3338   |

Naomi Sharp is a Research Associate 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.


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


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

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