Dear Friend,

This month at Riseboro, we’re very excited to be celebrating Women’s History Month by acknowledging the women of RiseBoro, highlighting their stories, and celebrating their accomplishments.

Senior leadership at RiseBoro has also undertaken the task to read, reflect, and discuss The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates for our book club this month. Last month, the senior leadership team had read Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabelle Wilkerson, followed by lively and fruitful discussions on our current state of racial injustice in this country and how it is very much connected to the past and who we are within this current system.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention the efforts of the RiseBoro frontline women employees who have been providing service to our most vulnerable communities since the beginning of the pandemic. Because of their efforts we did and continue to do the necessary work. You can read more about the Inspiring Women of RiseBoro below.

Being a woman of color in a leadership position means that my gender and race have not been impediments—if anything, they’ve been an advantage. My experiences as a lower-income woman of color, an immigrant for whom English was a second language, who grew up in NYC, and whose young life was shaped by the impact of disinvestment, inadequate housing, and lack of resources—have led me to and kept me on this path.

My goal in life was and is to help people like me reach success. Success means different things to different people. To me, touching someone’s life in a positive way is the embodiment of success. Connecting people to the breadth of services provided by RiseBoro has given me the opportunity to accomplish my goal.

In Partnership,

— Maria Viera, Vice President, Community Affairs


Enrollment is still open for SISTER S.A.G.E.

Sister S.A.G.E. is specifically geared toward the needs of girls in Bushwick. Through multicultural activities, S.A.G.E. members are provided with knowledge that will help them successfully resist historical, social, and cultural assumptions made about girls and women of color. Our forums of mutual support provide an emotionally safe space for girls to experience personal development. Sister S.A.G.E. is a community-conscious, action-oriented group of girls and women who actively participate in changing the world in which they live.

For girls in Brooklyn aged 10-18, 5th-12th grades.

For more information email Jamie McKaie at [email protected].


“My Voice Theatre is an issue-based youth theatre company, and since February of 1996 we have provided a home, a space where the youth of Bushwick and the surrounding community can come together to tell the stories of the community through poems, monologues, scenes and songs that reflect their concerns, their outrage, their desires and their joys. They raise awareness about the issues that affect them, in the hope that those watching will recognize that they are not alone, and that we are in this together.

Up until about a week before the summer program started, we weren’t sure if we would have a program, let alone be able to have the experience in person, but we trusted the process and made it happen. The 8 company members, Jae Aiken, Noah Fowler, Thea King, Jennifer Moreno, Zayvon Paul, Gabriela Pena, Andre Perez and Gwendalyn Rosa, most of whom volunteered for the 25 plus hours a week, showed up every day ready to do the work. “QuaranScenes-My COVID Life” is the result of their labor and offers glimpses of lives framed by the Corona Pandemic and the on-going demand for racial equity and social justice. Because we are living in different times, this won’t be your typical My Voice performance, but we are equally as proud of this show as any other.”
—Francis Blacklock, Founder & Artistic Director

Directed by Francis Blacklock.
Written, rehearsed and filmed at the RiseBoro Youth Center

Watch “QuaranScenes—My COVID Life” now.


RiseBoro is currently in a legal battle with AIG/SunAmerica for property rights to Stockholm Manor, our affordable housing complex located on 420 Stockholm Street in Brooklyn.

Please consider the following ways to support RiseBoro in our efforts to show our collective strength and prevent predatory corporations from becoming further emboldened to test the financial limits of their nonprofit partners:

  • Sign this letter of support.
  • Donate a gift of $50 to help get us closer to covering the costs of this fight on behalf of the entire affordable housing community. We are projecting expenses will run to at least $300,000, but we could easily find ourselves exceeding this amount given SunAmerica’s deep pockets and relentless pursuit to capitalize on our flourishing community.


At RiseBoro, our mission is to unleash the power of communities to thrive, no matter the odds. But we can’t do it alone. We need brave and determined volunteers like you, to help us make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.

Interested in embarking on your journey as a RiseBoro volunteer?
Email [email protected] to get started!


“The facility recently had a male resident admitted to us from a nursing home. He arrived with a small bag of toiletries, but no clothes except what he was wearing nor any other belongings. Generally in a situation like this, the facility would purchase the items needed by a resident for them, but a few days after the resident was admitted, Maria Curet, who is a Home Health Aide at Moffat, came to my office to tell me that when she saw that the resident did not have any clothes, she and her husband went out and bought a few full sets of clothes and a pair of shoes for him. When she told me this, I thanked her and offered to have the facility reimburse her, but she refused, saying that she and her husband were happy to help our new resident.

We’re really grateful and proud to have employees like Maria who really care about residents and who go the extra mile without being asked, to make sure that residents receive the best care and have the highest quality of life possible.”
— Peter Karrow, Assisted Living Program

“I grew up around strong Dominican women. As a child, I admired these beautiful women whose laughter and power seemed to run the world. Throughout my life, these women and many others have shown me their beauty, strength and perseverance. I am acutely aware of the generations of women before me, who have made it possible for me to walk on this path. I am from a rural town, so I imagine women with machetes in hand, clearing the way for me. To honor their sacrifices, I use my power and influence to clear the path further and make way for the next generation of women. In the words of Lauryn Hill, ‘And the ones on top, won’t make it stop. So convinced they might fall. Let’s love ourselves and we can’t fail.”
—Mirtha Santana, Chief Program Officer

“Racial equity is significant for Black girls and women because we deserve to be loved and protected. In a society that devalues both women and Black people, we are twice as likely to be marginalized. Black women should be seen, heard and cared for in the same regard as all other women. Racial equity work supports the liberation of loud, quiet, angry, joyful, quirky, and sophisticated Black women so we can be ourselves, unapologetically.
May you not only accept Black women but embrace and value us.”
—Jamaica Carter, Racial Equity Manager

“Shout out to the RB Housing Social Services staff for assisting over 100 seniors, staff, and Home Health Aides vaccinated this week! Thank you for scheduling and organizing multiple trips to Centers Urgent Care, and for managing the onsite vaccinations at two of our senior buildings. Yesenia Javier, Aidee Reyes, Jennifer Tang, Beyanca Morgan, Jovanka Cruz, Heydi M. Amonte, Jennifer Feliz, and Kristine Montañez you are STARS!!!”
—Emily Kurtz, Vice President, RB Housing

“Happy Women’s History month! I’d like to give a shout out to my coworkers: Gianina Boszeta , Joanna Melendez, and Nancy Castro at Hope Gardens! Communication is key and we have done a great job of doing so. Also, thank you as always Sandra Christian, for everything you do.”
—Keyla Rijo, Case Aide, Hope Gardens Senior Center


RiseBoro Awarded in 2nd Round of Buildings of Excellence Competition

RiseBoro was recently selected a winner in Round Two of New York State’s Buildings of Excellence Competition for the design of our low-carbon emitting multifamily building, Bethany Senior Terraces.

The Buildings of Excellence Competition, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), was launched in March 2019 and has awarded over $31 million to over three dozen exemplary new construction projects. It is the only competition of its kind, with the awarded projects becoming part of a comprehensive data collection effort that will help determine how to cost-effectively deliver superior performing buildings that will serve as an essential building block of a carbon-neutral future and advance the design and construction of multi-family buildings.

Bethany Senior Terraces was selected under Round 2 for its low carbon performance, profitability, ability to be adopted broadly, and for creating a healthy and safe living environment.


We belong here. Stop Asian Hate.

A tool kit for addressing anti-Asian bias, discrimination, and hate.

There has been a significant, troubling increase in anti-Asian hate crimes and bias incidents. In 2019 there was one reported incident; in 2020, thirty. Sixteen of the thirty were violent crimes. Between February and December of 2019, 30 bias incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and harassment were reported to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

During the same 11-month period in 2020, that number increased to 205.

This past Lunar New Year, a time when we are celebrating our diverse Asian communities, we saw a rise in harassment and violence against Asian elders. Discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, national origin, age, and disability (including having or being perceived to be exposed to COVID-19) is illegal under the New York City Human Rights Law. Since the start of COVID-19, we have seen a sharp increase in instances of hostility and harassment directed at Chinese and other Asian communities related to COVID-19 stigma and misinformation.

If you have faced harassment or discrimination in housing, at work, or in any public place, contact the NYC Commission on Human Rights by filling out this online form or by calling 212-416-0197. If you are a victim of r witness a hate crime, call 911.

There is language support if you need interpretation services.


“Struggling residents shouldn’t be punished just because a corporation only now sees value in their neighborhood. The Bushwick of today looks differently than it did in the 1980s, much like other neighborhoods that have gone through gentrification. But behind that shiny facade, 24% of residents live in poverty in Bushwick, even as the average rent skyrockets. The majority of the 34 families who reside in Stockholm Manor have lived there since it was built. We must keep Stockholm Manor affordable for existing and future families.

We’re not the first nonprofit to be bullied by a corporation over affordable housing, but we hope this case will make us the last.”

Read Vice President of RB Housing, Emily Kurtz’s full NY Daily News op-ed on RiseBoro’s legal battle with AIG/Sun America for property rights to our affordable housing complex, Stockholm Manor.