Leadership

Board of Directors


Julie Appel

Julie Appel is the Director of Project Impact, a new and innovative program at the Borough of Manhattan Community College designed to meet the needs of students who have been impacted by the justice system. Project Impact’s goal is to support these student’s academic success to graduation and beyond by providing them the tools, credentials and pathways necessary for them to become liberated from their justice involved history.

Julie is a lawyer and a social worker, author and executive coach.  She is the co-author of the best-selling children’s book series “Touch The Art”.  She has also written Flavia Finds Her Feelings with Dr. Robin Stern for the not-for profit- Think Equal. Think Equal educates preschoolers in emotional learning.

Prior to becoming Director of Project Impact Julie was an executive coach for medical professionals at the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and Yale’s Smilow Cancer Center. Earlier in her career she was a partner in a New York City Law Firm.

Julie holds an MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, a Juris Doctor from Hofstra Law School and a B.A. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis.  She is also certified as a mediator by the New York City Bar Association. She has served on the Board of Directors of Tickled Pink, The Clearpool School and the Educational Alliance.


Robert L. Hughes

Robert L. Hughes is director of K-12 Education in the United States Program at the Gates Foundation, ensuring that all students are prepared for success in college and career.

Before joining the Foundation in 2016, Bob was president of New Visions for Public Schools, a New York City school network of 70 district schools serving approximately 45,000 students. Under his leadership, New Visions created 99 district and seven charter public schools, provided mentoring services to hundreds of new principals, developed school-based certification programs for teachers and principals, and created suites of data and system tools to streamline school operations and track student progress toward graduation and college.

Bob joined the Community Opportunity Fund Board in January 2019. Prior board affiliations include Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Advocates for Children of New York, Fund For Teachers, and Projects in Education, the nonprofit publisher of Education Week.


Dan Nissenbaum

Daniel A. Nissenbaum is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF). LIIF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that has invested $2.3 billion in community projects. LIIF’s investments have leveraged $11.3 billion in private capital for poor communities in 30 states across the U.S. and generated $60 billion in benefits for families and society.

Established more than 30 years ago, LIIF has served more than 2 million low-income people by providing capital for 75,000 affordable homes for families and children, 269,000 spaces of childcare and 94,000 spaces in schools. LIIF targets the poorest of the poor and builds bridges out of poverty for low-income people and their communities. LIIF is a national CDFI with staff and offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

Prior to LIIF, Mr. Nissenbaum was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, where he oversaw Community Reinvestment Act compliance for the firm’s Urban Investment Group and capital investment for the 10,000 Small Businesses program. Previously, he also held real estate and community development finance positions at Chemical Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank Community Development Corporation (CDC), JPMorgan CDC and HSBC Bank. In addition, Mr. Nissenbaum served as an Investment Officer with the Merrill Lynch Community Development Company, where he was actively involved in debt financings, including construction lending, revolving credit facilities and other community development financings to for-profit and non-profit intermediaries.

He holds positions on several boards including the Community Restoration Corporation. Mr. Nissenbaum was Chairman of the Board of Governors and a Trustee for the National Housing Conference and served as a Member of the Advisory Boards of UV Partners, Center for Housing Policy, The Center for NYC Neighborhoods and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Foundation.

Mr. Nissenbaum earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Grinnell College and a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia Business School.


Shola Olatoye

Shola Olatoye is an experienced real estate and management executive with more than twenty years of experience launching and managing public-private partnerships Most recently, Shola served as Vice President of Business Development for Suffolk Construction, a national construction management firm. Prior to joining Suffolk, Shola served as Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Housing Authority, the largest public housing authority in the nation. As a Mayoral appointee, Shola worked with the administration, residents and industry leaders to launch NextGeneration NYCHA, the agency’s 10-year turnaround plan. She led her team to balance the $3.1 billion operating budget for three consecutive years, launched a major real estate development program and founded a social impact nonprofit, the Fund for Public Housing.

Prior to her entering public service, Ms. Olatoye spent more than 18 years in the private and nonprofit sectors. From 2009-2014, Shola served in leadership roles at Enterprise Community Partners, a national affordable housing organization. She was New York’s Vice President & Market Leader and led the market’s 60-person team and invested more than $150M annually in equity, debt and grants in New York’s neighborhoods. Before Enterprise, Shola was the Vice President and Community Development Manager for South Florida and the District of Columbia for HSBC Bank, N.A., where she directed regional community development investing and lending activities, as well as, managed philanthropic relationships. Before relocating to South Florida, Shola worked at HR&Advisors (formerly HR&A), a private NYC-based a real estate advisory firm. She specialized in urban public/private partnerships with universities, parks, and redeveloping neighborhood development organizations. Before focusing on housing and real estate, Shola worked for a number of NYC education reform nonprofits focused on equity and access.

Ms. Olatoye served on the board of the Council for Large Public Housing Authorities. She was the founding board chair of the Fund for Public Housing; a board member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and an alumni-elected trustee and current President’s Council member of Wesleyan University. Currently, she is a board member of the Community Opportunity Fund, a national affordable housing organization. Shola is also a life-long member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a historic public service organization. She is also a member of the Church of the Heavenly Rest, and the current co-chair of “Explore,” a five-year strategic planning process.

Ms. Olatoye has received numerous awards including the 2018 NAACP Public Service Award, 2018 Roger Starr Citizens Housing and Planning Commission award, the 2017 Coalition for Queens public service award, the 2016 Boys and Girls Club of Harlem M.L. Wilson Award for Public Service, the 2016 New York Housing Conference public service award, the Institute for Public Architecture and the 2017 Wesleyan University Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2014, Crain’s named Ms. Olatoye to its “40 under 40” list of New York’s “most talented, driven, and dynamic” young professionals.

Ms. Olatoye grew up in Connecticut and graduated with a B.A. with honors in history and African American studies from Wesleyan University. Shola also earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU, where she currently serves as a Visiting Scholar teaching in the Master of Urban Planning program on management and leadership. She lives in Harlem, New York, with her husband and their three children.


Susan Plum

Susan Butler Plum is the founding director of the Skadden Foundation, which awards two-year grants to 28 public interest attorneys per year. The foundation was established in April 1988 and has made grants to 820 attorneys who provide civil legal services to the poor.

Prior to joining Skadden, Ms. Butler Plum was the director of the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Foundation and program director of the Booth Ferris Foundation. She also was the associate director for the Environmental Defense Fund. She is a graduate of the University of Miami.

Among her board affiliations are trusteeships of the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation, where she is president, and of the Community Opportunity Fund. She is also a board member of Deaf Legal Advocacy Worldwide, which was founded by a former Skadden Fellow. Ms. Butler Plum is also a board member of Justice Labs, a Hong Kong-based public interest legal organization, and of Partners for Justice.

She also is a member of:

  • the Foundation Board of Stella and Charles Guttman Community College of CUNY;
  • the International Advisory Council of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative;
  • the Harvard Law School Venture Fund Advisory Group; and
  • the New York Weill Cornell Council.

In 2008, she received the annual North Star Award, Honoring New Yorkers Committed to Social Justice.

In 2013, she received a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Law Journal shared with the Skadden Fellowship Foundation.

In 2015, Ms. Butler Plum was selected as one of 50 Inspiring Change Makers worldwide by the Harvard Law and International Development Society and the Harvard Women’s Law Association.

In 2017, Ms. Butler Plum was honored by the Center for Popular Democracy.


Jonathan F.P. Rose

Jonathan F.P. Rose’s business, public policy and not-for-profit work focus on creating a more environmentally, socially and economically responsible world. In 1989, Mr. Rose founded Jonathan Rose Companies LLC, a multi-disciplinary real estate development, planning, consulting and investment firm.  The firm has completed $2.3 billion of transformational work, in close collaboration with cities and not-for-profits. Mr. Rose is a thought leader in a wide range of urban issues, and the development of communities of opportunity. He has received the MIT’s Visionary Leadership Award, The Urban Land Institute’s global award for Excellence and many other awards for his work.

Mr. Rose’s book on how to create resilient cities, The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Behavior Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life, was published by Harper Wave in 2016, and won the 2017 PROSE Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work by a Trade Publisher.

Mr. Rose is a Trustee of Enterprise Community Partners and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects and Honorary Trustee of the American Museum of Natural History and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mr. Rose plays bass and blues harp.

Mr. Rose and his wife Diana Calthorpe Rose are the co-founders of the Garrison Institute and serve on its Board. The Institute connects inner transformation with outer solutions to relieve suffering in the fields of trauma, education and the environment.

Mr.Rose graduated from Yale University in 1974 with a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy, and received a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980.