Group of people smile at camera while standing in a conference room.
Members of the 2023 Neighborhood Council met on February 15, 2023 for their first meeting of the year.

Introducing our 2023 Neighborhood Council Members

Trinity's Neighborhood Support team is thrilled to announce the 2023 class of its Neighborhood Council, an advisory group comprised of 20 nonprofit leaders, community organizers, policymakers, residents, and other stakeholders across Lower Manhattan. Together with the Council, the Neighborhood Support team continues to center community voices in its programmatic endeavors. 

Learn more about their work with Neighborhood Support here.

2023 Neighborhood Council

Alejandro Epifanio

Alejandro Epifanio

Executive Director, Loisaida Inc.

Alejandro Epifanio’s extensive expertise as a cultural worker and organizer embodies his deep commitment to civic engagement; the preservation of Puerto Rican culture, arts, and creativity; and social justice, reflecting his work ethic over his more than a decade-long career. He oversees Loisaida Inc.'s technology and media programs, web development, image and branding, and the annual Loisaida Festival. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Epifanio is a multifaceted artist who graduated from the School of Visual Arts and is a current resident of the Lower East Side.

Alison Overseth

Alison Overseth smiles at the camera. She has blonde hair in a ponytail and wears a black v-neck blouse with a grey cardigan and a delicate gold necklace.

CEO, Partnership for After School Education 

Alison Overseth is the Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership for After School Education (PASE), a nonprofit that works with hundreds of community-based organizations, higher education institutions, and corporate partners to improve the quality of opportunities available to young people living in poverty in New York City. With over 30 years of experience in the youth-serving profession, Overseth directed a management initiative for the Fund for the City of New York to strengthen the non-profit agencies that provide community support for young people, and served as the founding President of the Board of Directors of PASE for 12 years. Overseth is a graduate of Smith College and Columbia Business School.

Barbara DiGangi

Barbara DiGangi smiles at the camera. She has blue eyes, long dark hair center-parted, and red lipstick. She wears a black mock neck top, marled grey blazer, and gold necklace.

Director, Families Thriving, University Settlement 

Barbara DiGangi is a licensed social worker and serves as the Director of Community Wellness Initiatives at University Settlement, America’s first settlement house. Barbara’s mission and passion lives at the intersection of community mental health and equity. She holds a master's degree in social work with a concentration in advanced social policy from New York University. DiGangi's multi-passionate spirit has embodied several roles from practitioner and activist to leader, writer, and social impact strategist. She has spent 16 years working in, overseeing, and reimagining community-based mental health programming in service of at-risk communities. 

Cecilia Scott-Croff

Cecilia Scott-Croff smiles, wearing black glasses, a black patterned headband, and her hair in a bun. She wears a neutral beaded neckace and white collarless jacket with black trim.

Executive Director, the Early Childhood Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC)

Cecilia Scott-Croff, Ed.D, SAS, SDA, CPAC, is the Executive Director of the Early Childhood Center and an Adjunct Faculty member at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). She is an experienced leader with a background in early childhood, special education, administration, and advocacy. A published author and Leadership Fellow at BMCC, she is also a member of Reimagining Our Work (ROW), an early childhood leadership group focused on equity, beloved community, and social justice for young children. She is the President-elect for the New York Association for the Education of Young Children (NYAEYC).

Chui Man Lai

Chui Man Lai looks at the camera, wearing red glasses, a red lanyard around her neck, and a black shirt with red accents. She is of East Asian descent and has freckles.

Manager, Community Affairs, NYP-Lower Manhattan Hospital

Chui Man Lai joined the staff of New York Downtown Hospital in 2001. Following her mother-in-law’s hospitalization, Lai brought her deep awareness of the critical importance of communication between patients and their healthcare providers to her position as a Patient Advocate and Medical Interpreter for Chinese patients with limited English proficiency. In 2009, she was named Assistant Vice President for Patient Services, Community Outreach, and Provider Relations. Following the hospital’s merger with New York Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital, Lai was appointed Manager of Community Affairs for both the Chinese and American communities. In her new role, she is deeply invested in the Hospital’s efforts to improve patient experience and to promote public awareness of the Hospital’s mission to provide high-quality care for each of its patients.

Darren Bloch

Darren Bloch smiles at the camera wearing a light blue button down and navy Land's End vest. He has dark brown hair cut short with a widow's peak, and light blue eyes.

Executive Director, Greenwich House 

Darren Bloch has had a distinguished career leading organizations and teams across government, non-profit, media, and corporate sectors. With over nearly two decades in the public and private sectors, he has built a career valuing and elevating civic innovation and engagement, consensus building, and entrepreneurial problem-solving to address critical social challenges. Most recently, he was Senior Advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. He has also served as the Executive Director of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Vice President of Public Affairs for the New York Law School, the Publisher/Executive Director of Capitol Publishing – City & State, and Executive Vice President for Empire State Development Corp. He is a member of the LiveOn Executive Leadership Council and co-chair of the HSC Priority and Strategy Council.

David Garza

David Garza wears a white oxford, black sweater, and grey quilted jacket. He has grey and white hair, with a white beard and mustache.

President and CEO, Henry Street Settlement 

David Garza has been President and CEO of Henry Street Settlement since July 2010. He joined Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center in 2001 and was promoted to its chief administrator in 2005. Prior to Henry Street, Garza worked as a retail management executive and an independent producer for film, television, and corporate marketing projects. Garza is a graduate of Harvard College and the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at Columbia Business School. He serves on the executive committee of the board of directors for the New York City Employment and Training Coalition, on the external advisory board of the Dalio Center for Health Justice of New York-Presbyterian, and on the boards of the Betances Health Center and Citizens Committee for Children. In 2019, he was appointed as a member of the NYC Regional Economic Development Council and was named by City & State New York to the inaugural Nonprofit Power 50 list.

David McCorkle

David McCorkle wears clear-framed glasses, a striped blue collarless shirt over a blue undershirt, topped with a navy collared jacket. He is a Caucasian man with light blue eyes, balding white hair, and a mustache.

Social Worker and Congregation Member of St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery

David McCorkle, LCSW, has been in private practice in New York City for 30 years. He has worked extensively in the field of loss and trauma, starting with founding a group for families and friends of people with HIV at the beginning of the AIDS pandemic. He has trained individuals and organizations internationally on the Sanctuary Model of Trauma-Informed Care and is the co-founder of the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities at Crossnore and Children’s Home in western North Carolina. McCorkle is the author of many publications and has taught courses at Fordham University and The Columbia School of Public Health. He is an active member of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery.

Don Hong

Don Hong smiles at the camera, wearing an orange tee under a blue collared shirt. He is of East Asian descent, with greying hair and a mustache.

President and CEO, UA3

Don Hong is a born-and-bred New Yorker who loves his city. He is a proud graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Buffalo. He started his career as an Exxon Petroleum Engineer. Today, he is a successful real estate developer with 25 years of experience. Volunteering is part of Hong's lifeblood; he has been involved in community volunteer activities for more than 45 years, which include a ten-year tenure as President of the Chinese American Planning Council, a fifteen-year tenure as President of Hong Ning Senior Citizen Housing, and serving as the New York City Districting Commissioner in 2003. His current involvement includes his 16 years as President of 384 Grand St. HDFC and the President and CEO of UA3.

Ebonie Simpson

Ebonie Simpson smiles at the camera, wearing a khaki long-sleeved tee under a navy blouse. She is a dark-skinned Black woman with dark brown braids, wearing silver hoop earrings.

Co-Executive Director, LES Girls Club 

Ebonie Simpson came to the Lower East Side (LES) Girls Club in 2010 as a college intern and later volunteered as a mentor and Junior Board Member. She is a graduate of Duke University and a recipient of the University Distinguished Leadership and Service Award. She was a 2012–2013 NYC Urban Fellow and Associate Director at the Mayor’s Office. In 2018, Simpson created LES Girls Club’s city-wide civic leadership initiative, New Girl City: Agents of Change NYC, and spearheaded its newest expansion initiative, the Center for Wellbeing and Happiness.

Eva Wong

Eva Wong smiles at the camera, freckled cheeks rosy and pink lipstick. She wears a tonal black polka dot blouse with a bow at the collar under a black blazer. Eva is of East Asian descent with burgundy tinted hair, swept to the side and worn down.

Director, Mayor's Office of Community Mental Health

Eva Wong currently serves as a ParentCorps Unit Supervisor at the Center for Early Childhood Health and Development at NYU Langone Health. Wong leads the clinical direction of programming that reaches more than 450 pre-K programs in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and 70,000 families in New York City alone. Previously, Wong devoted a decade to University Settlement, where she held several leadership roles. As the Director of Programs and Engagement, Wong designed and increased access to strength-based and holistic programs for specialized populations, including older adults and youth with developmental disabilities. Under her strategic leadership as Director of Project Hope in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Wong helped deliver mental health prevention and interventions to over 40,000 New Yorkers.

Frank Gonzalez

Frank Gonzalez smiles at the camera, wearing a tan cap, round glasses, plaid shirt, and brown jacket.

Founder and Principal Broker, Loisaida Realty and Resident of Lower Manhattan

Founder and Principal Broker Frank Gonzalez is a New York City native and lifetime resident of the Lower East Side/East Village/Loisaida. His firm Loisaida Realty specializes in rentals, sales, and commercial real estate in New York City's most desirable downtown neighborhoods. Gonzalez is a New York State Chaplain, community leader, activist, father, and first responder. He regularly volunteers his time in local community service, having founded the Loisaida Community Refrigerator. Gonzalez also founded a small business alliance by the name of LES.sba (Lower East Side Small Business Alliance) and co-founded the Loisaida Wellness Collective and the grassroots nonprofit Lower East Side Community Concerns (LESCC19).

Gisele Castro

Gisele Castro smiles at the camera, wearing a kelly green blazer over a black boatneck blouse. Her highlighted hair is cut in a bob and she wears rectangular gold earrings with cut outs and a long gold necklace.

Executive Director, exalt 

"Steadfast advocate," "visionary," and "transformational leader" are just a few words most often used to describe Gisele Castro. With over two decades of experience and expertise in the criminal justice system, Castro has served as the Executive Director of exalt since 2016. Through sheer determination and commitment to transformational change, Castro has been laser-focused on transforming young people’s lives through education, employment opportunities, and criminal justice reform. She began her journey in the organization with an operating budget of $950,000 and grew it to over $6 million. Always assessing risks and opportunities, she has carefully modeled, tested, and implemented policies and procedures that have resulted in moving the organization from a startup model to a highly functioning, well-established one, with our youth at the center of everything she does. 

Jaime Inclán

Jaime Inclán smiles at the camera, wearing a wire-framed glasses and grey vest over a blue button-down shirt. He has white hair and mustache.

Founder, Roberto Clemente Center

Jaime Inclán, PhD. is the Founder and Director of the Roberto Clemente Center (RCC) in New York City, and a Clinical Associate Professor in Psychiatry at New York University. Born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, he received his B.S. in Psychology at Georgetown University in 1971 and his doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1979. RCC, founded in 1982, is a public community clinic that models integrated medical and mental health care in a community setting, largely serving immigrant and urban poor families. It was the first mental health program in New York State to propose that culture is an essential component of mental health treatment. RCC maintains a fully bilingual and bicultural staff and houses a large clinician training program in family therapy. The clinic has come to be considered a model for training in community systems-oriented treatment and an oasis for immigrant and urban poor families.

Jenna Chrisphonte

Jenna Chrisphone smiles at the camera, wearing a black turtleneck, yellow coat, and burgundy lipstick. She is a Black woman with medium brown skin and hair in twists, worn half up and half down.

Director of Civic Alliances, The PAC — Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center

Jenna Chrisphonte is a government affairs and public policy professional based in New York. Before joining The PAC, Chrisphonte served as Director of Community Engagement at the Dramatists Guild of America and The Lillys. She previously worked on municipal issues as Assistant District Manager of Manhattan Community Board 4 and international issues as a Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Services Officer at the Consulate General of Canada in New York. Chrisphonte holds a bachelor's and juris doctor from the University at Buffalo. She lives in Queens.

Mary Cannon

Mary Cannon softly smiles at the camera, wearing a cream cable knit scoop-neck top and small metal hoop earrings. She is a Black woman with short curly hair.

Resident and Community Volunteer, Jacob Riis Houses

Mary Cannon is a very active mother, grandmother, activist, and first responder to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Jacob Riis water crisis. She is a regular volunteer in her Lower East Side community. Cannon is the first Vice President of the Riis Houses Tenant Association and engages in homeless outreach and other volunteer efforts, including supporting the LES Sports youth basketball summer program. She has lived in the community for over 21 years and has spent the last 3 years volunteering in the biweekly community food pantry.

Samara Karasyk

Samara Karasyk smiles, wearing a red top and long gold chain necklace. She is a white woman with salt and pepper curly hair worn down at shoulder length.

President and CEO, Hudson Square Business Improvement District (BID)

Samara Karasyk brings her passion for New York City and energy and enthusiasm for policy and planning to her role as President and CEO of the Hudson Square BID. She is excited about streetscapes, a vibrant retail environment, pedestrian safety, and innovative traffic management. Karasyk builds upon the BID’s strong foundation through community engagement, private/public partnerships, and experimentation with new ideas and projects that elevate the neighborhood and showcase how to create dynamic, people-focused urban spaces. Karasyk has more than two decades of experience in private/public partnerships, diverse team management, communications, public affairs, intergovernmental relations, policy-making, and project management.

Thomas Armstrong

Thomas Armstrong, an older white man, smiles into the camera. He has white hair and is clean-shaven, and is wearing a black tee under a grey half-zip sweater with striped accents on the collar.

Resident, Lower Manhattan and Congregation Member of Trinity Church Wall Street

Thomas Armstrong is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Samford University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1976 with a master’s degree in Education. Additionally, he holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Business, Manderson Graduate School of Business. Armstrong served for fifteen years in counseling, social service, and healthcare administration settings. He joined Merrill Lynch in March 1989 and serves as Assistant Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager. He is part of the Woodke, Donnell, Wilder, Buchan & Armstrong team for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Bank of America.

Tiffany Winbush

Tiffany Winbush smiles at the camera, wearing red lipstick, a matching red blouse, and black and white houndstooth cardigan. She is a Black woman wearing her hair braided in the front with her natural hair out mid-crown.

Community Advocate, Digital Marketing Exec, and Resident of Lower Manhattan 

Tiffany Winbush, a digital marketing executive and community volunteer, has called Lower Manhattan home for 18 years. Winbush previously served three terms on Manhattan Community Board 1 (CB1), has led parent-teacher-student groups that built up the local Peck Slip School, mentored Black girls and young women on leadership and empowerment, co-hosted fundraisers for Democratic candidates, and supported local farmers through the Financial District’s local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Fulton Stall Market. Most recently, she partnered with a group of local downtown moms to launch Friends of FiDi, an organization that focuses on ensuring our community is inclusive to a diverse group of people. Winbush has also volunteered with Friend of a Friend NYC to deliver weekly meals to those who are unhoused and food insecure in Lower Manhattan. Winbush previously ran to represent Lower Manhattan on the New York City Council, fueled by her commitment to serve the diverse communities that comprise District 1. She believes people should “be the change you want to see.”

Wellington Chen

Wellington Chen smiles widely, wearing two-toned glasses, a red and white striped tie, blue checkered button-down, blue vest, and grey checked blazer. He is an elderly East Asian man with freckles and grey short-cropped hair.

President and CEO, Chinatown BID/Chinatown Partnership LDC

Wellington Chen is the Executive Director of the Chinatown Partnership. The Partnership is currently working with the NYC Department of Transportation to design a wayfinding pilot project, expected to have its first trial test prototype installed in the ground within 12 months. As the Executive Director, he aims to create transformative projects while creating a thriving infrastructure that can sustain meaningful results for the Partnership. Chen has a long record of community service and civic engagement. As a young volunteer and student studying architecture and environmental studies, he began to see his neighborhood worsening—inspiring a lifelong interest and pursuit of community resuscitation and rejuvenation. In the process, Chen became the first Chinese American to serve on a community board and local development corporation in Queens and was eventually recruited to serve on the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals. He has led numerous initiatives and co-founded a number of organizations, including a firm to offer strategic advice and insights to help shape and guide public/private policies. His work as Landmark Committee Chair helped to preserve and restore Flushing Town Hall. Chen also designed the structure that now houses the Tonga Mission to the United Nations.