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Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Morgan Stanley Community Development Graduate Fellows

June 26, 2020

Investing in a New Generation of Community Development Leaders

In early June, ANHD and Morgan Stanley celebrated the accomplishment of the fellows of the 2019-2020 Morgan Stanley Community Development Graduate Fellowship. Currently in the 9th year, the fellowship is a 10-month program that places nine graduate students interested in the field of community development to work with ANHD members on high-impact projects. This talent pipeline has cultivated the next generation of community development leaders entering the field and supported ANHD members with organizational capacity needs.

This year is an unprecedented one for the fellowship. We started with nine fellows pursuing their master’s degrees in urban planning. Four of them received competitive full-time job offers between the months of January and April 2020. When the global health crisis COVID-19 hit, some of our fellows pivoted their work to support COVID-19 relief efforts. With the onset and complexity of COVID-19, one fellow had to postpone the fellowship because of the travel restriction that delayed her safe return to the U.S. Our fellows have remained committed to the field of community development through their projects at the host organizations. We’re proud of all eight graduating fellows: Aishwarya Kulkarni, Marc Sapeg, Mikeala Sparks, Maya Ephrem, Elizabeth Horen, Victoria Garvey, Michael Nicolas, and Daphna Ezrachi.

Aishwarya Kulkarni was a fellow at Chhaya CDC and graduated from Pratt Institute with a master’s degree in city and regional planning. While at Chhaya, Aishwarya worked with marginalized members of the community to form lending circles and organized financial empowerment workshops and events. Aishwarya is now seeking job opportunities in urban planning in New York City.

Marc Sapeg was a fellow at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning at NYU Wagner. At Cypress Hills, Marc created a dashboard displaying key metrics for a portfolio of 400 residential units and revised the HPD/DOB violations tracker. Marc discovered his interest in asset management while at Cypress Hills LDC. This coming fall, Marc will start an exciting new position as an asset manager at New Settlement Fund. In the meantime, Marc is seeking opportunities to flex his skillsets in asset management or a related field.

Mikeala Sparks was a fellow at Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB). She graduated from NYU Wagner with a master’s degree in urban planning this May. Mikeala created an internal living document for UHAB with key takeaways and recommendations on how to cultivate and preserve affordable housing across the United States. MIkeala is interested in the intersection of planning, emergency management, and community development. As an aspiring resilience planner, Mikeala is looking for work opportunities in resilience planning and emergency management.

Maya Ephrem was a fellow at Community League of the Heights (CLOTH), and worked on the community engagement process for the NYCHA PACT Renaissance Collaborative. Maya focused on coordinating enhanced social services delivery to residents and created a social service resident survey to identify resident needs. She also supported in securing funding to renovate CLOTH’s 16 properties and analyzing data for a midway and final report. She graduated from Columbia University GSAPP with a master of science in urban planning this May. Currently home in the Bay Area, Maya is looking for job opportunities to continue her career path in urban planning, and hopes to return to New York City soon.

Elizabeth Horen was a fellow at BOC Network. During her fellowship, Elizabeth worked on devising and launching a marketing campaign that aimed to promote the Ridgewood Industrial Business Zone. Elizabeth played a critical role in researching the local real estate market and reporting on vacancies, building stock characteristics and current occupants. Beginning February, Elizabeth has started a full-time position as a program officer at Enterprise Community Partners.

Daphna Ezrachi was a fellow at West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH) where she supported a pipeline of affordable housing projects in the stages of lease-up, construction close-out, and financing. Daphna later started a full-time position as a project manager in the Division of Strategic Operations and Analytics at HPD in March.

Michael Nicolas was a fellow at Banana Kelly. Michael supported project management needs of the development team and was involved in pre-development work leading to the rehabilitation of several clusters of distressed buildings. In April, Michael was offered and accepted a position as an urban planner at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.

Vicky Garvey was a fellow at RiseBoro. Serving as a junior project manager, Vicky worked on a range of housing development deals in different stages, including predevelopment, closing, construction, marketing/leasing, and conversion. In February, Vicky was offered and started a position as an urban planner at the Queens Borough President’s Office.


Congratulations to all the fellows for their hard work and accomplishments! We would like to thank all the host organizations for participating in this year’s fellowship. Additionally, we want to thank Wendy Takahisa, Executive Director of Community Development Finance and Tahir Alberga, Community Development Finance Associate with Morgan Stanley for their continued support of this critical community development program. To date, the fellowship has increased the organizational capacity of 30 organizations and introduced more than 70 graduate students to the field of community development. Now going into the 10th year, the Morgan Stanley Community Development Graduate Fellowship continues to support the capacity needs of ANHD members. Through this talent pipeline, the Fellowship is taking a lead to build a stronger community development movement with a new generation of community development practitioners in New York City and beyond.

For anyone with urban planning leads for all the fellows, please let us know and we will connect you to them!

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