New York, NEW YORK — The Educational Alliance is proud to announce the appointment of Alan van Capelle as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Educational Alliance. A veteran administrator, advocate and major figure in New York City’s progressive political landscape, Mr. van Capelle will succeed Robin Bernstein, who is stepping down after serving the Alliance for 26 years, on March 3, 2014. 

Through 124 years of service to New Yorkers of all walks of life, the Educational Alliance has built a deep relationship with the downtown Manhattan community. Mr. van Capelle will be joining the Alliance as it looks to expand on the programs and services that so many New Yorkers rely on, including the organization’s new Manny Cantor Center on the Lower East Side which opens in February. At the same time, Mr. van Capelle will look for opportunities to expand the Alliance’s role as an advocate on behalf of its thousands of constituents in the citywide policy debate around education and social services.

Mr. van Capelle brings to the Alliance a longtime passion for advocacy, social justice and the City of New York, having formerly served as CEO of the national advocacy group Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for JusticeDeputy Comptroller for the City of New York and Executive Director of Empire State Pride Agenda. He will use his decades of experience in advocacy, organizing and government to help the Educational Alliance strengthen and grow its core service mission during a time of rapid change in New York government. Like his great grandmother did, Mr. van Capelle lives in the Lower East Side neighborhood and his son attends the Educational Alliance Preschool.

“The Alliance is a part of the fabric of New York, as indispensable as subways and hot dogs,” says van Capelle. “It’s a jewel of the Jewish immigrant story in New York, one of our best contributions to a city that’s welcomed so many of us. I have always been in awe of all that they do for this city. As someone who loves championing this city, I am honored to have the opportunity to lead an organization that represents New York at its best.”

“We are very excited to announce the appointment of Alan as our new President and CEO,” says Russell Makowsky, Chair of the Board of Trustees.  “After a national search, it turned out that the leader we were searching for lived in our own neighborhood. He’s an impressive young man and will be a strong, passionate and articulate chief executive for the agency at a particularly transformational time in our history.”

Makowsky continues, “Alan will succeed Robin Bernstein, who has been a visionary leader of the Educational Alliance and who in her 26 years at the agency – the past 15 as its President and CEO – mobilized the community in the midst of the recession to build a state of the art $55 million flagship building, the new Manny Cantor Center, and has created new and innovative programs like our successful College Prep program for high school students and our groundbreaking College Access and Success program, which is helping parents of our Head Start children get a college education and break generational cycles of poverty.  Of equal significance, Robin has been pivotal in recruiting a first rate management team and a dedicated Board of Trustees.”

Robin Bernstein states, “It has been a privilege for me to lead this historic organization, working with our dedicated staff and board to strengthen the Educational Alliance’s capacity to serve the diverse communities of the Lower East Side. I’m thrilled that I’m leaving the agency in Alan’s capable hands. He brings a deep understanding of the people and community the Alliance serves.” 

“This is an amazing time in New York, full of exciting potential but also great risk for the underprivileged,” says Mr. van Capelle.  “The Educational Alliance serves an important, diverse cross-section of New Yorkers that should not just be part of the debate, but defining it.”

 Mr. van Capelle is a nationally recognized civil rights leader who has been named to the “Forward 50” by the Jewish Daily Forward, the New York Observer’s top “power gays”, the National Leadership Council’s “40 under 40” list and has served on the transition committees for Governor Eliot Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.  




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