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;
  • Helping more people develop the skills and credentials needed to access careers that put them on the path to the middle class; and
  • 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. For nearly 20 years, Jonathan has been the architect of the organization's policy agenda and is responsible for making the Center one of New York's most innovative and influential organizations, with ideas and recommendations that are widely respected and frequently adopted 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 advances CUF's research and recommendations on the critical policy challenges facing the city and state. Eli is the author of numerous CUF reports and commentaries, including Plugging In: Building NYC’s Tech Education & Training Ecosystem—the first major study of New York City’s skills-building infrastructure for tech careers. Eli has presented at local and national conferences on issues that reflect his wide-ranging research expertise: building strongther pathways into technology careers, boosting student success in community college, supporting DIY music culture, strengthening public parks infrastructure, and making New York a more livable city for people of all ages and abilities. His work has been featured in the New York TimesNew York Daily NewsWall Street JournalGotham Gazette, and on WNYC.

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. Eli was previously 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 and lives with his family in Richmond Hill, Queens.


Laird Gallagher  |   Associate Editor  |   (212) 479-3344  |   lgallagher@nycfuture.org

Laird Gallagher is the Associate Editor at the Center for an Urban Future, where he provides comprehensive editorial, research, and production support for the Center's publications. Prior to joining CUF, Laird spent five years in the editorial department of the literary book publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where he edited a diverse range of fiction, nonfiction, and works in translation. He’s also worked as an events organizer, photo researcher, writing tutor, and college squash coach. He graduated from Wesleyan University and lives in Chinatown, Manhattan.


Stephanie Arevalo  |   Events and Operations Manager  |   (212) 479-3351  |   sarevalo@nycfuture.org

Stephanie Arevalo is the Events and Operations Manager at the Center for an Urban Future, where she oversees CUF’s daily operations and coordinates their high-profile policy events. Stephanie graduated with a BA in Political Science from Pace University, where she studied and wrote policy reports on the FARC disarmament and reintegration processes in Colombia. Born in Colombia and raised in Connecticut, she most closely identifies with all things New York.


Charles Shaviro  |   Data Researcher   |   (212) 479-3352  |   cshaviro@nycfuture.org

Charles Shaviro is the Data Researcher at the Center for an Urban Future. He graduated with a BA in Computer Science & Economics from Pomona College, where he researched changing IPO and M&A markets, local crime data, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Charles grew up in New York, and he enjoys playing basketball and when his cats quit fighting.


Melissa Lent  |   Researcher & Multimedia Specialist  |   (212) 479-3344  |   mlent@nycfuture.org

Melissa Lent is a journalist and content strategist determined to tell the invisible stories. Prior to joining CUF, Melissa was an apprentice for the Shelter in Place podcast, a fellow for the Watson Foundation, and also reported for Gotham Gazette on topics such as race and identity, education, and business. Currently she also works as a lecturer for her alma mater CUNY Hunter College. She graduated with one BA in Media Studies and another in English. A Queens native, Melissa is interested in investigative news, multimedia production, and local stories.



Research Fellows


Sarah Amandolare   |   Research Fellow   |   (212) 479-3344   |   samendolare@nycfuture.org

Sarah Amandolare has been working in media and journalism for over a decade. She often writes about science and the environment, including the effects of climate change in overlooked places. She has also covered education in central California and Los Angeles, and written travel articles exploring the evolution of storytelling in Ireland, dark-sky tourism in Joshua Tree National Park, and the tech-startup scene in Tel Aviv. Her work has appeared in Science, The New York Times, High Country News, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She also edits work by new writers for the blog of New Women New Yorkers, a nonprofit that provides free workforce development programs for young immigrant women in New York City. Sarah is a graduate of the Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY, where she focused on health and science reporting.


Lisa Armstrong   |   Research Fellow   |   (212) 479-3344   |   cuf@nycfuture.org

Lisa Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with credits in The New York Times, The Intercept, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone, USA Today, The New Yorker, and several other publications and websites. She is currently a Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow focused on COVID-19 in correctional facilities and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for an Urban Future, where she’s leading new research on expanding pathways to economic opportunity for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. She has been heralded for her investigative reporting on subjects from the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti to forced sterilization of women in North Carolina. Armstrong is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Writing and a 2018 Justice Reporting Fellow for the John Jay/Langeloth Foundation Fellowship on Reinventing Solitary Confinement.


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.


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)

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

Thomas Vecchione, Vocon


CUF’s Integrity & Independence Policy


The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to independent research that meets a high standard of integrity. CUF’s reports are grounded in data, evidence, and rigorous qualitative research, and CUF staff alone has final say over all aspects of our research products. CUF’s ability to fulfil its mission and generate policy change is a direct reflection of its earned reputation for independence. To safeguard this reputation, CUF leadership and staff commit to a research process free of ideological bias or predetermined notions of outcome. CUF regularly engages with stakeholders across government, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and the private sector in the course of conducting research; however, CUF’s conclusions and recommendations are those of the organization alone.

CUF maintains a conflict-of-interest policy that guides all project funding decisions, including the following provisions: CUF only accepts grant funding for projects that align with the organization’s mission, strategic plan, and research agenda; CUF will not accept grant support where the funder stands to gain financially or materially from the outcomes of the research; CUF does not accept funding from government; and CUF makes public the funding sources for all its research projects and initiatives. CUF is strictly nonpartisan and does not endorse elected officials or candidates. In addition, CUF staff may not engage in lobbying, partisan political activity, or any other activities if and to the extent those activities could undermine the organization’s independence and objectivity.

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.


Development and Communications 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 to help produce high-profile events, research new development opportunities, and assist with communications logistics.

Skills and attributes we seek are:

  • Attention to detail. He/she must be detail-oriented. Exactitude and precision must be shown when maintaining databases of contacts, proof-reading communications to the public and the press, and liaising with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Time management and multi-tasking. This role will require managing several tasks, prioritizing them based on a variety of timelines and pivoting to different tasks as deadlines are modified.
  • Willingness to learn. He/she must be willing to learn new skills, approaches and tactics.
  • Goal-oriented perspective. The Communications/Events Intern must be able to grasp the broader organizational goals and think strategically about how to accomplish them through individual assignments.

We prefer recent college graduates and current graduate 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 with "Development and Communications Internship (cohort)" in the subject line.

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


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 hourly paid internship. 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.