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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 25 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  |   [email protected]

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  |   [email protected]

Eli Dvorkin is the Editorial & Policy Director at 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, and his policy recommendations have inspired new initiatives from the mayor of New York City, the City Council speaker, and many other elected officials and policymakers. Eli has presented at local and national conferences on issues that reflect his wide-ranging research expertise: building stronger pathways into technology careers, boosting student success at New York's public colleges, supporting cultural equity, expanding support for underresourced entrepreneurs, 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 TimesWall Street JournalCrain's New York BusinessNew York Daily News, City & State NYGotham 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. He was named to the 2023 40 Under 40 list by Crain's New York Business and was selected as a 2023-2024 Coro Leadership New York Fellow. He graduated from Columbia University and lives with his family in Richmond Hill, Queens. 


Stephanie Arevalo  |   Events and Operations Manager  |   (212) 479-3351  |   [email protected]

Stephanie Arevalo is the Events and Operations Manager at the Center for an Urban Future, where she coordinates and executes CUF's slate of high-profile public events, oversees CUF's daily operations, manages day-to-day finances, and assists with the organization's development activities. Before joining the Center, she graduated with a BA in Political Science from Pace University, where she spent time working with City Council, on local campaigns, at a clean energy nonprofit, and as a CUF intern(!). These days, you can also find her hosting a weekly trivia night at her local bar. Born in Colombia and raised in Connecticut, she most closely identifies with all things New York.


Melissa Lent  |   Researcher & Multimedia Specialist  |   (212) 479-3341  |   [email protected]

Melissa Lent is the Researcher and Multimedia Specialist at the Center for an Urban Future. She is a researcher, project manager, and mentor determined to uplift and provide greater economic opportunity to marginalized groups. At the Center, her work focuses on connecting low-income students underrepresented in certain jobs to well-paid and growing fields; expanding economic opportunity for New Yorkers with disabilities; and helping more students from the City University of New York graduate from college. Prior to joining CUF, Melissa was a journalist, a podcaster, and also a lecturer for her alma mater CUNY Hunter College. In her free time, she also volunteers at a local animal shelter, mentors students, and helps women- and minority-owned small businesses manage projects. 


Rachel Neches  |   Data Researcher  |   (212) 479-3344  |   [email protected]

Rachel Neches is the Data Researcher at the Center for an Urban Future.  She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies (Economics) from Barnard College, where she researched urban resilience, economic democracy and public-private partnerships.  Prior to joining the Center, Rachel served as the Manager of Government Affairs and Research at the Times Square Alliance, where she led advocacy efforts on behalf of the BID and evaluated Times Square's economic recovery from the pandemic.  Rachel grew up in Sacramento, California, and loves to run and explore the diverse neighborhoods of New York City.


Dorian Block  |   Senior Editor  |   (212) 479-3344  |   [email protected]

Dorian Block is the senior editor of Center for an Urban Future. Dori comes to CUF with 20 years of experience as a writer, editor, and project director for non-profit and news organizations. She has devoted her career to listening to and amplifying people's stories to inform decision makers and the public. 

Dori began her career in journalism at the Boston Globe, the Eagle-Tribune, and the New York Daily News. While at the New York Daily News, her investigation into extraordinary delays in the Bronx court system led to systematic change and was recognized by an award from the Society of the Silurians. At the New York Academy of Medicine, Dori was the project manager of the Age-friendly New York City initiative, which became a model for cities around the world. At Columbia University, Dori directed Exceeding Expectations, a multimedia digital narrative project focused on older New Yorkers, featured in the Washington Post and many other publications. Most recently, Dori was a writer and editor at Vital Strategies, a global health organization. Dori has interviewed thousands of New Yorkers, written 1,000+ articles, and has been a speaker at 50+ local, national and international conferences and events.

Dori earned her M.S. degree in Journalism from the Columbia Journalism School where she was a Stabile Fellow in Investigative Journalism, and she has a B.A. in American Studies from Brandeis University. Dori lives with her husband and two daughters in Manhattan.



Research Fellows


Sarah Amandolare   |   Research Fellow   |   (212) 479-3344   |   [email protected]

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.


David Fischer   |   Senior Fellow   |   (212) 479-3344   |   [email protected]

David Fischer is a Senior Fellow at the Center for an Urban Future and Principal at Altior Policy Solutions, a public policy consultancy based in New York City. From 2015-2022, David was the executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment (MOYE), created in 2015 as the Center for Youth Employment. At MOYE, David led a team that created New York City’s first comprehensive strategy for career readiness through the “public talent pipeline” of K-12 schools, publicly funded higher education, and publicly administered youth workforce programs. Under David’s leadership, MOYE helped design groundbreaking program models to connect paid summer work with year-round education, connect new college graduates to civil service careers, and provide job retention services to low-wage young adult workers with limited employment experience, among other initiatives. 

Before coming to MOYE, David worked from 2011 to 2014 at the NYC Department of Education as Senior Director for Career and Technical Education (CTE). In that role, he helped launch over a dozen new CTE high schools and close to 50 new programs, and led an unprecedented effort to secure state approval for hundreds of existing CTE programs. David began his policy career as  a researcher with CUF from 2000-2010, authoring reports and policy briefs on demographic change in the workforce, working poor families, and CTE reform in New York City, among many other subjects.


Kendra Hurley   |   Research Fellow   |   (212) 479-3344   |   [email protected]

Kendra Hurley writes about cities, policy, families, and care work. Her reporting has appeared in publications including Bloomberg CityLab, The New York Times, and The Atlantic. It has received support from New America's Better Life Lab and recognition from the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families. For over a decade, Kendra was editor and researcher for the families and poverty project at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School. Her reports and policy briefs helped fuel reform and shape policy in subsidized child care, child welfare, and homeless services. Prior to that, she co-edited Represent, a magazine written by and for teenagers living in foster care. While mentoring the young writers, she received a PASEsetter award for New York City's notable after school workers.


Judith Messina   |   Senior Fellow for Small Business and Entrepreneurship   |   (212) 479-3344   |   [email protected]

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.


Eric Raimondi   |   Associate Research Fellow   |   (347) 803-2161   |   [email protected]

Eric is an Associate Research Fellow at the Center for an Urban Future. He graduated with a BA from Bard College and an MA from New York University, where he researched migration to Europe and the United States, the border regime on the Greek islands, and infrastructures of mobility and incarceration. Eric has reported from and worked in Morocco, Greece, and Turkey, where he focused on newly arrived migrant populations. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner and can often find him riding his bicycle and exploring the local food scene. 


John Surico   |   Senior Fellow for Climate & Opportunity   |   (212) 479-3344   |   [email protected]

John Surico is a journalist and researcher who focuses on sustainability and open space. His past work for Center for an Urban Future has sparked policy changes and new investment from City Hall. His report on the city's parks infrastructure, A New Leaf, led to a historic injection of funds for parks maintenance. Additionally, a segment of the Economic Opportunity Lab series he authored was the basis for CUNY Reconnect, the city's first-ever program to help older students re-enroll and graduate.

John teaches cities-focused reporting at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and his writing can regularly be found in The New York Times, Bloomberg CityLab, and elsewhere. Previously, he served as the first-ever Scholar-in-Residence at the Central Park Conservancy. He holds a MSc in Transport and City Planning from University College London. In Queens, where he lives, he organizes for a more livable city, as the chair of the 31st Ave Open Street Collective and a co-author of the Western Queens Public Realm Agenda. He writes about cities and how they're changing in his monthly newsletter, Streetbeat.



Board


Gifford Miller, Signature Urban Properties (Chairman)

Margaret Anadu, The Vistria Group

Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future

Rafael E. Cestero, The Community Preservation Corporation

Russell Dubner, Boston Consulting Group

Garnesha Ezediaro, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Susan Fine, Fine Development Partners 

Kyle Kimball, NYU 

Katy Knight, Siegel Family Endowment

Jessie Lazarus, MTA

David Lebenstein, Cushman & Wakefield

Eric S. Lee, Bennett Midland, LLC

Monisha Nariani, U.S. Bank

Max Neukirchen, JPMorgan Chase 

Andrew Reicher, UHAB

John Siegal, Baker & Hostetler LLP

Thomas Vecchione, Vocon

Sherry Wang, Goldman Sachs UIG

Kate Wittels, HR&A Advisors


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.


Policy Research Internship

The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is a public policy research think tank that is focused on creating a stronger and more equitable economy in NYC. Our research methods combine journalism with traditional policy analysis to publish accessible, fact-based reports. We elevate critical and often overlooked issues onto the radar of public officials and spur policy changes to expand economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Over the years, CUF has put forth concrete ideas for city and state policymakers that have influenced policies on helping New York’s college students achieve college and career success, supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, preparing for the green economy, bolstering public libraries, expanding apprenticeships and tech training programs, scaling up small businesses, strengthening human services organizations, sustaining artists, closing racial disparities in the city’s economy, improving services for older New Yorkers, and more.

In the months ahead, CUF will step up our work outlining innovative and achievable ideas for building more equitable boroughs, keeping NYC competitive, supporting city parks and open spaces, centering CUNY as part of the city's economic development plan, and preparing NYers for jobs in the green economy.

The Center seeks Policy Research Assistants with experience or degrees in public policy, journalism, urban planning, economics, government, social science, or related fields. During this internship, interns will contribute to and learn about the research and editorial processes of a think tank and how research can help guide, inspire, and spark policy change. 

CUF interns have gone on to work in city council and the mayor’s office, news publications, urban planning firms, non-profit organizations, research institutions, and philanthropy groups. Examples include: National League of Cities, Mayor’s Office of the Chief Climate Officer, The Atlantic, NYS Office of the Inspector General, Bloomberg News, NYC Office of Management and Budget, The World Bank, and The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute. 

We encourage people with a passion for building a stronger city to apply. Applicants should have some of the following experience and skills.

Responsibilities include:  

  • Conducting background research to guide new and existing projects.
  • Writing policy memos and drafting report text.
  • Conducting phone/video interviews, and submitting memos based on findings and key themes.
  • Pulling, cleaning, and analyzing data from sources such as the US Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and American Community Survey.
  • Contributing to the report production process by proof-reading, fact-checking, and editing. 
  • Developing source lists for research outreach.
  • Keeping up to date on local city and state policy, including attending hearings and presentations.

Skills and attributes we seek are:​

  • Strong writing skills. 
  • Strong 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 Microsoft Office, with proficiency in Excel. 
  • Attention to detail. 
  • 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. They must be willing to learn new skills, approaches, and tactics, and openness to working on a variety of assignments. 
  • Goal-oriented perspective. They must be able to grasp the broader organizational goals and think strategically about how to accomplish them through individual assignments.
  • An interest in economic development, journalism, urban planning, workforce development, and higher education issues.
  • PLUS: Some experience with public data sources like the US Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Requirements:  

  • Must be able to commit to working at least 20 hours a week, within the operating hours of 9:30am to 5:30pm.
  • Must be able to come into the office at least twice a week during open office hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  • Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This is an hourly paid internship. In order to apply, please send a resume and cover letter to [email protected] with "Policy Research Internship (cohort)" in the subject line. We are currently hiring for our Summer (May to August) cohort. Applications will close on May 5—early applications are encouraged. 

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


Communications and Development Internship

The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is a public policy research think tank that is focused on creating a stronger and more equitable economy in NYC. Our research methods combine journalism with traditional policy analysis to publish accessible, fact-based reports. We elevate critical and often overlooked issues onto the radar of public officials and spur policy changes to expand economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Over the years, CUF has put forth concrete ideas for city and state policymakers that have influenced policies on helping New York’s college students achieve college and career success, supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, preparing for the green economy, bolstering public libraries, expanding apprenticeships and tech training programs, scaling up small businesses, strengthening human services organizations, sustaining artists, closing racial disparities in the city’s economy, improving services for older New Yorkers, and more.

The Center seeks a Development and Communications Assistant with experience in communications, event-planning, media, and/or development to support our work. During this internship, development and communications interns will learn about the processes of how a think tank conveys complex policy research through a streamlined communication strategy.

Responsibilities can include:

  • Helping produce high-profile events from conception to execution, including researching vendors, creating event materials, and ensuring smooth day-of logistics
  • Conducting prospect research for development opportunities
  • Assisting with the development of social media campaigns and drafting content for platforms like Twitter
  • Drafting press releases, impacts, and email blasts
  • Maintaining CUF’s databases and tracking subscriber engagement
  • Tracking email metrics, Twitter analytics, and CUF’s presence in policy discourse
  • Engaging in CUF’s media processes, including explainer video and report design

Skills and attributes we seek are:

  • Attention to detail. They must be detail-oriented. Exactitude and precision must be shown when working with CUF materials.
  • 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. They must be willing to learn new skills, approaches, and tactics, and openness to working on a variety of assignments.
  • Goal-oriented perspective. The intern must be able to grasp the broader organizational goals and think strategically about how to accomplish them through individual assignments.

Requirements:  

  • Must be able to commit to at least 20 hours a week, within the operating hours of 9:30am to 5:30pm .
  • Must be able to come into the office at least twice a week during open office hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  • Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

This is an hourly paid internship. In order to apply, please send a resume with cover letter to [email protected] with "Communications and Development Internship (cohort)" in the subject line. We are currently hiring for our Summer (May to August) cohort. Applications will close on May 5—early applications are highly encouraged. 

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