Former ACLU lawyer Jennifer McAllister-Nevins is a busy mother of three and currently starting her own small business. She has served on MRNY’s Board of Directors since 2009 and is now the Fundraising Chair.
Where do you live and what are your favorite places to go in NYC?
We live in TriBeCa, and it’s like a small town in itself. I don’t leave my house without running into someone I know and, in a big city, that sense of community is incredibly important to me. I go where the good food is: New Amsterdam Market, Duane Park Patisserie, Murray’s Cheese, Russ & Daughters. Also, I love love love the West Side drive and all the great parks that form the Hudson River Park.
You went to law school at NYU with MRNY’s founders, Andrew Friedman and Oona Chatterjee. What was that like?
Andrew and Oona were an inseparable twosome who were cooking up really impressive plans of action to further social justice, whether in the law school community or beyond. By our final year, when many of us students were still figuring out our next steps, these two were boldly building a brand new community organization, and I knew it was something I would want to support.
Why is education important to you?
You can’t address inequality without addressing education, and ensuring that folks have access to higher education is essential to that. Yes, the early years matter, but if students face a ceiling at high school, you will be forever creating an underclass.
Many of us take it for granted that our children will go to college, and yet the nuts and bolts of applying – deciding which and how many schools to apply to, how to fill out a financial aid form with all its bureaucratic complexities when your parents don’t speak English well – these are real and sometimes insurmountable roadblocks.
What inspired you to give to MRNY?
I love that MRNY sets and achieves its agenda by drawing on and developing the strength of the community. There aren’t a lot of groups working to effect change that have both grandmothers and their granddaughters on the same leadership team. Rather than setting policy from the top down, they design and strategize from the bottom up. This grassroots approach means they have unique insight both as to what needs fixing in the community and how to do it.
Why did you decide to become a member of our board and specifically, the Fundraising Chair?
A lot of people don’t like fundraising, but I like that I am offering people the valuable opportunity to make a difference on an issue that means a lot to them. Being able to share MRNY, which accomplishes so much for so many people on so little budget, is a pleasure. I find people aren’t annoyed to be asked, they are happy to learn about a good place to support.
As a donor, I’m always looking for a good return on investment. I’ve worked at and supported a lot of nonprofits and, quite simply, no one does as much on as little budget as MRNY. Every meeting, every mailing, every email is filled with policy victories. Big wins that are making New York a better place for everyone. In my experience, that’s very rare even for the largest organizations out there.
Please join Jennifer in making a one-time donation or becoming a monthly sustainer today:
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