College Foundation

Founded in 2015, the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College Foundation is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 educational foundation dedicated to finding friends and supporters for the College.  The foundation is governed by an independent group of trustees who have a wide range of expertise and interests, as well as shared passion for public higher education and Guttman’s innovative model.

Please review the Foundation’s Annual Report 2018-2019 for more information.

All gifts to the foundation are used to support the College’s mission and are deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Board Chair

Andre D. White

Andre D. White is the Executive Director & CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods. Andre has been recognized as a national leader in the field of youth employment and brings nearly two decades of public service, experience, and accomplishments to this role. As Deputy Commissioner of Youth Workforce Development at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), Andre managed $220 million in annual public and private funding for youth employment, internships, training, and high school dropout prevention services. He oversaw the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)—the nation’s largest summer jobs initiative—and was instrumental in the program’s innovative redesign and the building of strategic partnerships that have enhanced the program experience for New York City’s young people. Andre’s role in the development of innovative programs for opportunity youth has been recognized by advocates, elected leaders, and the communities he serves. He led the design and launch of Advance & Earn, a new career pathways training and employment program model that helps opportunity youth further their educational and career goals through comprehensive High School Equivalency (HSE) test preparation, employer-recognized training, credentials and certifications, and paid internships.

Prior to joining DYCD in 2008, Andre was a Policy Analyst for the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, serving as a liaison to elected officials, community-based organizations, government agencies, and constituents. He played a lead role in developing needs assessments, and strategies and conducting research targeting social, health, and economic development issues specifically impacting Brooklyn youth. Andre began his public service career as the Program Coordinator for Project Reach Youth where he connected young people to career and higher education opportunities through job fairs, college workshops, and work readiness training.

Andre served on numerous Citywide task forces and currently sits on the advisory board of Samaschool and Genesys Works New York. His educational background includes a BA in Political Science and an MA in Political Science, Urban Policy, and Administration from the City University of New York at Brooklyn College.”

Board Directors

Susan Butler Plum (Secretary)

Susan Butler Plum is the founding director of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, which awards two-year grants to 28 public interest attorneys per year. The foundation was estab­lished in April 1988 and has made grants to 733 attorneys who provide civil legal services to the poor.

Prior to joining Skadden, Ms. Butler Plum was the director of the Botwinick-Wolfensohn Foundation and program director of the Booth Ferris Foundation. She also was the associate director for the Environmental Defense Fund. She is a graduate of the University of Miami.

Among her board affiliations are trusteeships of the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation and of Deaf We Can, which was founded by a former Skadden fellow. Ms. Butler Plum is also a board member of Justice Labs, a Hong Kong-based public interest legal organization. She also is a member of the Selection Committee of the Frederick P. Rose Architectural Fellowship; the International Advisory Council of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative; the Harvard Law School Venture Fund Advisory Group; and the North Star Fund Leadership Campaign Committee.

In 2008, she received the annual North Star Award, Honoring New Yorkers Committed to Social Justice.  In 2013, she received a special Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Law Journal shared with the Skadden Fellowship Foundation.  In 2015, Ms. Butler Plum was selected as one of 50 Inspiring Change Makers worldwide by the Harvard Law and International Development Society and the Harvard Women’s Law Association.

Jim Cochran

Jim is the head of global recruiting for JP Morgan Chase. He oversees a team of several hundred recruiters and is responsible for the sourcing and hiring of talent at all levels in multiple global locations. He has been with the bank for almost his entire career. He began his career with the Chase Manhattan Bank in 1987 and has held a variety of leadership positions across Operations, Auditing, Marketing, Sales, and Segment Management. The merger with Bank One in 2004 brought Jim into the world of recruiting, which ultimately led to their current role as the firm’s head of recruiting.

Jim played a central role in the creation of the Guttman-Chase Part-Time Teller Pathway program. He has a special interest in ensuring that young talent, once acquired, can grow and develop within the ranks of JP Morgan Chase.

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Jim received his undergraduate education at Nassau Community College and Manhattan College. He completed his MBA at Saint John’s University.

Dr. Eva M. Fernández

Eva is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mercy College. Before beginning her tenure at Mercy, Dr. Fernández spent over two decades at CUNY, where she served as a member of the faculty and took on progressively more complex administrative roles, culminating in Associate Provost for Innovation and Student Success at Queens College (2019-2021) and Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Guttman Community College (2021-2022).

Dr. Fernández has led projects and programs designed to advance faculty expertise in teaching in order to improve learning, deepen learning through experiential education, strengthen shared governance, and support the college’s mission by connecting to the community. Through her administrative work, she has developed expertise in matters related to teaching and learning, particularly regarding how faculty development, institutionalized course redesign, informal learning, experiential education, and peer mentoring influence student learning. Dr. Fernández has received funding for conducting and evaluating evidence-based institutional interventions from federal agencies and private foundations, including the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, Petrie Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, and NYC Department of Small Business Services.

Jeffrey Gu

Jeffrey Gu is the Co-Founder and Policy Director of Make Us Visible (MUV), an organization that establishes preventative measures against anti-Asian American violence by activating and empowering local communities to advocate for the inclusion of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) history in the K-12 curriculum at state and local levels. MUV has passed 5 laws in 3 states in 1 year and consists of 12 active state chapters. At MUV, Jeffrey has established messaging guidelines to shape the organization’s external reputation. He is responsible for creating and executing legislative strategies across states in addition to managing relationships with legislative leaders as well as rank-and-file legislators. Jeffrey leads advocacy and personal narrative workshops for his field and manages policy and research fellows. Legislative accomplishments include the passage of HB 6619 (SB 1202) and HB 5282 (SB 1) in CT; SB 4021 & A 6100 in NJ; and H 7272 in RI.

Jeffrey serves as the Policy Director of the New York GOP’s Asian American Caucus and is a member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York’s Anti-Asian Violence Taskforce. Jeffrey previously worked as the Legislative Director at the Every Voice Coalition CT where he spearheaded the unanimous passage of a bill lowering the barriers to reporting for student survivors of sexual misconduct.

Jeffrey has managed teams on local and state-wide political campaigns, interned for the RSLC in Washington, DC, and conducted research on the prevalence of AAPI history in K-12 curricula for the Committee of 100.

Vik Gupta (Treasurer)

Vik Gupta is a consulting director of finance for a number of non-profits. He devises and implements robust financial systems, strengthens internal controls, and is responsible for overall financial strategy. He advises start-up non-profits on risk and compliance matters as well as the role of finance in effective mission delivery.

Dr. Larry Johnson, Jr. (Ex Officio)

Dr. Larry D. Johnson, Jr. is an equity-minded student advocate with nearly 20 years of higher education experience. Selected by the CUNY Board of Trustees on February 1, 2021, to be the College’s second president, he assumed the presidency on July 1, 2021.

Johnson is a bold, creative, and experienced academic leader. In July 2018, he was appointed the sixth president of Phoenix College (a Maricopa Community College) and the first African-American in its 100-year history. The college served more than 20,000 credit and non-credit students. As President, he launched the President’s Promise, a comprehensive plan to reengage community and workforce leaders; improve employee satisfaction and engagement; implement best practices that will lead to an increase in student retention, completion, and transfer; and cultivate an environment that embraces diverse perspectives. Under Johnson’s leadership, Phoenix College increased enrollment by establishing the Neighborhood College, a partnership with the City of Phoenix that provides incumbent workers with onsite educational opportunities that lead to associate degrees. The College has also received approximately $5M from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a Title V Department of Education (DOE) grant to support initiatives that center on experiential learning programs and undergraduate research in STEM.

Marc La Vorgna

Marc served as the press secretary to Mayor Bloomberg, and he subsequently was named the Communications Director of Bloomberg Media Group. He now operates his own media communications company.

Alejandra Soto

A skilled media and communications professional, Alejandra Soto has over fifteen years of experience in front of and behind the camera. Alejandra joined Stu Loeser & Co. after serving as Director of Communications at the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence during the Bloomberg administration, where, among other duties, she advised on awareness strategies that influenced policy-making in several cities around the country and abroad.

Formerly, Alejandra was a national spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute representing the property/casualty sector and managing crisis communications during natural and man-made disasters.

Alejandra also has extensive experience as a journalist, having worked for NY1 News/Noticias, CNN en Español, NBC’s Telemundo 47, and United Nations Radio. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Alejandra has covered breaking news and feature stories, anchored live newscasts, and presented and produced political debate and analysis shows.