Press Mentions

Featured Press Mention

Format: 2020-09-22
Format: 2020-09-22
The following is a conversation between Dr. Rahsaan Harris, Chief Executive Officer of the Citizens Committee for New York City, and Denver Frederick, the Host of the Business of Giving.
Denver: The mission of the Citizens Committee for New York City is to help New Yorkers, especially those in low-income areas, come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. That’s a big mission in the best of times, and these are not the best of times. And here to discuss his work with us and what they’re doing now in the midst of this pandemic is Dr. Rahsaan Harris, the CEO of the Citizens Committee for New York. 
How One Nonprofit Has Pivoted to Meet Neighborhood Needs During Pandemic
Denver Frederick
August 26, 2020

Dr. Rahsaan Harris sees "poetry" in the beginning of his tenure as new CEO of the Citizens Committee for New York City (CitizensNYC).

CitizensNYC was founded in 1975 during a crisis in New York. Sound familiar? The city was facing cutbacks and citywide poverty; thus, the organization was forged to give New Yorkers a tangible way to improve their neighborhoods and build community.

How a New York Organization Stepped Up to Help Those Most Affected by COVID-19
TD Bank
August 20, 2020

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Rahsaan Harris, new CEO of Citizens Committee for New York City, as I serve on the Young Citizens Committee. Watch or listen to the full interview, or read how Rahsaan uplifts voices, builds community, and stays motivated.

CivicList: Building Community with Rahsaan Harris
July 27, 2020

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Gun violence has erupted on New York City streets this summer — in ways not seen in nearly three decades — and Brooklyn communities are bracing for the possibility of more shootings as the hot, humid weather causes tempers to flare.

With Gun Violence Plaguing Streets, Churches Look for Ways to Help
Paula Katinas
July 22, 2020

On the season finale of Sick Empire you’ll hear from three women whose voices are leading a new type of political movement, one that requires less politics and more movement. The Coronavirus has exposed the evidence of New York's political failures and those exposures will surely drive a new surge of candidates who are sick of witnessing the disease of power infect our government and pollute our people. This episode features an eclectic mix of women who all fight for the underdog to gain a seat at the political table. 

Women on the Future of Community and Political Power in New York City
Branden Janese
July 21, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic two residents of Kew Gardens – Carol Lacks and Tony Mavilia — asked the question: “What can two people do to lift the spirits of their neighbors, help the area’s struggling shop owners, and showcase the incredibly talented residents who live here?” 

Kew Gardens outdoor art exhibition brings hope to community
Carlotta Mohamed
July 17, 2020


More Press Mentions

Eleven Manhattan small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will receive $93,000 in relief money for rent, employee pay and more from a nonprofit grant program.

Family-owned Silom Thai in Chelsea will get $10,000 to help stay open after the restaurant offered free meals to health care workers. Enoch's Bike shop in Hell’s Kitchen will also get $10,000 to pay for new infrastructure for social distancing, better ventilation and sanitation.

Tutoring company BOK Solutions, which works with the city to provide public school students programing, will use a $10,000 grant to pay for their instructors’ and teachers’ wages after all in-person sessions were canceled, putting a big hole in the businesses’ income. Family-owned Garber Hardware will get a $10,000 grant after a sharp decrease in sales.

Consulting, design and development agency Van West Group – which creates campaigns for small and mid-sized businesses -- will get $10,000 to pay employees and rent and continue to help drive traffic to their clients.

Immigrant-owned Yours Spa on 18th Street will also get a $10,000 grant to help cover operating costs after coronavirus shut down the store, making them unable to pay bills, wages and rent.

Alfredo Ray Salon in Chelsea will get $8,500, will get $8,000, interior design firm Garcia / Maldonado will get $6,500 and Massage Beyond will get $5,000. Daniel Cooney Fine Art will use a $5,000 grant to create a new website so customers can still buy pieces online.

The West Side Small Business Grants were created to help struggling stores and organizations cover operating costs and other spending so they can stay in business despite declines in sales from coronavirus restrictions.

The grant program was launched by the West Side Community Fund in partnership with the Citizens Committee for New York City and was seeded by funding from Google.

Latest coronavirus updates: Click here for our roundup of the most important developments from NYC and around the world.

Manhattan small businesses get coronavirus relief from grants by West Side Community Fund
Anna Sanders
May 27, 2020

To read the whole article: please click here. 

Dear friend and fellow New Yorker,
As you know, Citizens Committee for New York City has been conducting a survey of our grantees and grassroots community groups to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you and your community, and what your needs and challenges are at this time.

We are humbled by the overwhelming number of responses that we have received so far. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to amplify your voice.  We're pleased to share some preliminary results of the survey:

-More than 800 respondents, representing all five boroughs of New York City

-The majority of respondents identified as black (47.5%) and Latino/a/x (24%)

-15.3% of respondents are older adults 

-7.7% of respondents identify as LGBTQ+

We've heard from so many New Yorkers in the last two weeks about how they are responding to the current crisis—even in the face of struggle. Groups are instituting daily check-ins, delivering food to senior citizens, initiating platforms for addressing mental health needs, sewing masks for healthcare workers on the front lines, and much more.  Here's just a sampling of the resilience we're hearing about across the city:

Washington Heights (Manhattan):
"Residents in our co-op set up a volunteer group to provide services to our home-bound and/or elderly residents, including delivery from a local bakery that had a 90% drop in demand, personalized book selection and delivery from the co-op's used-book 'library,' elevator button Cloroxing after the porters go home, kitchen-scrap pickup, grocery shopping, etc."

Pelham Gardens (Bronx):"A bunch [of] neighbors got together to move forward with our vision to turn a derelict yard into a thriving garden. We managed to practice social distancing while cleaning up the space. It felt normal and surreal at the same time. Other neighbors looked perplexed, and some were eager to join. It was a beautiful way to get through this unfolding reality."

COVID-19 Survey Results Reveal New Yorkers’ Most Urgent Needs
April 02, 2020

New York, NY (March 23, 2020)—Citizens Committee for New York City (Citizens Committee) has announced the appointment of its new CEO, Dr. Rahsaan Harris, effective March 16. Harris replaces Peter H. Kostmayer, who is retiring after 15 years.
Harris, who has more than 20 years of experience leading nonprofits and international grantmaking, partnering with communities to make local investments, and promoting community organizing, is Citizens Committee’s first black CEO in the organization’s 45-year history. He is a transformative leader and role model who has been a New York City public school teacher, board member of various Harlem-based organizations, devoted Big Brothers Big Sister mentor, and Peace Corps environmental education volunteer in South America.

“Rahsaan is a proven leader and experienced CEO, and is well-positioned to lead our organization into a new era of transformation,” said Chris Ruggeri, chair of the Board of Directors for Citizens Commitee. “We are excited for this new chapter as Citizens Committee helps New Yorkers—especially those in low-income areas—come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.”

Harris comes to Citizens Committee from the Emma Bowen Foundation—a New York-based organization dedicated to diversifying the media and technology industries by recruiting promising students of color and placing them in paid internships at the nation’s leading companies. As Emma Bowen’s President and CEO, Harris set a new strategic direction that resulted in increased grant revenue and a highly engaged network of students, alumni and influential corporate partners. Harris raised the foundation’s public profile through key speaking and television appearances on outlets such as WABC New York, Fox 5 New York, and Yahoo Finance. Last month, he appeared on CNN to discuss the legacy of Emma L. Bowen, the Harlem community activist who fought to make media inclusive more than 50 years ago.

“I’m honored to be joining Citizens Committee as CEO,” Harris said. “Back in the ’70s, our founders—Sen. Jacob Javits, a Republican, and Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Osborn Elliott, a Democrat—envisioned a better future for all New Yorkers. In the spirit of that bipartisanship—and the beautiful fruits of that labor—we need to remind each other during challenging times that it’s only when we work together that we can achieve real change. And we need each other as never before.”

Harris is no stranger to Javits’s efforts. Emma Bowen worked with Javits in the 1960s and ’70s to end the unwritten policy of preventing black youth from being pages in the U.S. Senate. “Emma Bowen fought so young people of color could have access to the same opportunities as their white counterparts,” Harris said. “As a Harlemite and block association member, I know that positive change happens when New Yorkers work together, not just to improve our neighborhoods and our quality of life—but to create lasting social change.”

Prior to his role at the Emma Bowen Foundation, Harris served as Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), and a program officer at the Atlantic Philanthropies. Harris received his doctorate in Public and Urban Policy from the New School, where his dissertation addressed understanding how socio-economic diversity in the African-American community affects their philanthropic interests. He also holds master’s degrees in Management and High School Science Education from New York University and Columbia, respectively, and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University. Harris is a board member of Exponent Philanthropy and is co-class agent for Princeton University Class of 1995 Annual Giving. He resides in Harlem, in a Spanish-speaking household, with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Avery.

Kostmayer, whose tenure ends effective March 27, served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in the late ’70s and early ’80s. “Peter has played a critical role in the development and success of Citizens Committee for New York City, and we are grateful for his service,” said Ruggeri. “We will miss his leadership, but we wish him all the best in his retirement and future ventures.”

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, Citizens Committee, under Harris’ leadership, has developed a survey to better understand its grantees’ challenges and needs during this time of uncertainty. The survey can be found at, and Citizens Committee is urging all grantees to respond as soon as possible. The organization plans to analyze the results of the survey and share key insights with elected officials and donors. In addition, Citizens Committee has compiled a list of key COVID-19 resources for New Yorkers.

About Citizens Committee for New York City
Citizens Committee for New York City’s mission is to help New Yorkers – especially those in low-income areas – come together and improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Residents are uniquely situated to define and act on the issues affecting their communities. When provided with modest support, neighborhood and school groups can effectively mobilize with the assistance of grants, skills-building workshops, project planning assistance and an equipment share library. In 2019, we provided 596 projects with $2.3 million in grants and services, impacting more than 130,000 residents in 164 different neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Since 1975, we have promoted the spirit of volunteerism, local engagement, and social justice that drives our work. Go to to learn more.

Citizens Committee for New York City Names Dr. Rahsaan Harris as New CEO Amid COVID-19 Crisis
March 22, 2020