Aren LeeKong

Founding Consumer Advisory Committee members with their families at The Family Center’s first Holiday Party

The Founder’s Award
Founding Consumer Advisory Committee

Since the founding of The Family Center twenty-five years ago, the Consumer Advisory Committee has guided our work. The Consumer Advisory Committee is comprised of New Yorkers who receive our services and are willing to provide input and feedback on agency programs and emerging needs in the communities we serve. The Family Center has always deeply valued our consumers’ voice.

While the members of the Consumer Advisory Committee have changed over time, the group’s purpose has remained the same. The Family Center first opened an office in Brooklyn at the recommendation of our Consumer Advisory Committee. Members felt we needed a stronger presence in Central Brooklyn, where so many consumer families reside. The Family Center also made the decision to open The LeeKong Institute for Health & Wellness with this group’s advice and encouragement: members shared with us that the local mental health clinics had extensive wait-lists and their children were not receiving care fast enough.

The Family Center is delighted to honor our Founding Consumer Advisory Committee at our 25th Anniversary Gala. These consumers graciously welcomed us into their lives and homes at a time when The Family Center was a new agency. They were integral to the founding of The Family Center twenty-five years ago. On September 26th, it will be our privilege to present the very first members of this group with The Founder’s Award.

Leadership Council and Zeynep

The Family Center Leadership Council celebrating at the 2017 Harvest Ball.  Zeynep is front, right wearing the orange dress.

The Advocate’s Award
Zeynep Imre

Zeynep Imre started volunteering for The Family Center in 2011 as a mentor to a child.  In 2012, she became a member of the Leadership Council (LC), and from 2016 to 2017, she served as this dynamic group’s Fundraising Chair.  Based on her own life experiences, she was acutely aware of how scarcity of income and stress negatively affect Family Center client families.  In 2015, Zeynep pitched The Family Center her idea for a client-focused Financial Literacy program teaching the fundamentals of money management.  With critical support and guidance from Family Center leadership, Zeynep and the LC developed and evolved the structure and core content for the “FinLit” program.  In 2016, the first set of modules and classes were launched with great success.  Funding followed and the program became a formalized service offering as part of the Economic Justice Project.  In 2017, the LC team secured additional funding through a partnership with BlackRock.  In 2018, the Economic Justice Project hosted 58 classes and 382 families, and covered topics like Budgeting, Credit Cards, Fraud, and Student Loans.

Zeynep has worked at S&P Global with the Capital IQ Investments Management team since 2009.  Previously, she worked for Rydex Funds and Janus Capital Group.  She also volunteered at Denver public schools, where she taught money management basics to teens.

Leadership Council and Zeynep

The Sustainer’s Award
Smart Choice Communications

The Family Center is thrilled to honor Smart Choice Communications, a leading provider of technology business solutions and communications based in New York City. As your technology partner, they will work hand in hand with you to support everything from consultation to implementation with customized solutions tailored to your specific business needs. They develop, enhance, and manage single-source, end-to-end solutions for your voice, data, and security networks backed by 24 x 7 x 365 U.S. support. Their mission is to advance, customize, and ultimately revolutionize your technological experience with One Provider, One Bill and One Smart Cloud Solution.

SCC has been a proud partner of the Family Center for over 15 years, and in recent years has become a vital contributor to our annual Toy Drive. The support of companies such as SCC helps us to make a real difference in people’s lives. Smart Choice is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper, offering funding and critical resources. Their initiative focuses on social responsibility; delivering technology solutions while truly caring about all aspects of your business. Year after year, local schools, churches, sports organizations, and over 80,000 households across New York City will benefit from Smart Choice Communication’s philanthropic activities. The Family Center is fortunate that so many of their employees share our commitment to give back and support our charity.

Mike Muse

Master of Ceremonies
Lauren Glassberg

Lauren is an Emmy-award winning journalist who has been a member of the Eyewitness News Team since 2000. Before joining WABC TV, she anchored and reported at stations in Akron, Little Rock and Minneapolis. She actually got her start in journalism as a teenager, reporting for the Main Street Wire, the newspaper on Roosevelt Island, NY. It was always her dream to cover her hometown of New York City. She is primarily WABC TV’s feature and lifestyle reporter. You can watch her restaurant features, called Neighborhood Eats, most Fridays during Eyewitness News at 5 p.m. She is also a frequent substitute anchor. Lauren is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She lives in Manhattan.

Lauren served on The Family Center Board of Directors from 2010 through 2012. She has graciously served as Master of Ceremonies for previous agency events and we are delighted to welcome her back for our 25th Anniversary Gala!

Live Auctioneer
Kenny Polcari
CNBC Contributor & Managing Principal, ButcherJoseph Asset Management

Kenny Polcari is a Managing Principal at Butcher Joseph Asset Management – an investment advisor providing successful individuals and families with tools and strategies to help them achieve the most from their wealth.

He came to Wall Street as a summer intern on the New York Stock Exchange during the summers of ’80, ’81 & ’82 and upon graduation moved from Boston, Mass. to New York City where he began his career on the trading floor.  He became a member of the New York Stock Exchange in August 1985 and remained a member for 38 years representing the interests of institutional asset managers that needed to access global equity markets.

His 30 years of experience has taken him from the birth of the greatest bull market, to the crash of ’87, the roaring ’90’s, the .com implosion, decimalization, 9/11, Regulation NMS, the merger between the NYSE / ARCA, then NYSE/Euronext, then NYSE/ICE, automation, HFT, and fragmentation.

He writes a daily “Morning Thoughts” missive which looks at global markets and provides insight into the day’s action. He is a board member of NOIP (National Organization of Investment Professionals) and a board member of the Headstrong Project – a Veterans philanthropic organization helping our 9/11 combat veterans suffering from PTS.