Previously published by The Campus
On January 16, President Boudreau named Dee Dee Mozeleski as Executive Director of the combined foundations at CCNY, a position she has held for the past two years on an Interim basis. In a letter to the members of the merging foundations, Boudreau stated that this decision acts as an “affirmation of the college’s confidence in her accomplishments, leadership, and vision,” according to CCNY’s news section on their website.
Her first job? Continuing to facilitate the merging of CCNY’s main philanthropy based organizations. On January 18 of 2018, President Vincent Boudreau, 21st Century Foundation Chair Martin Cohen, and The City College Fund President Stephen R. Karafiol addressed a letter to the CCNY community to announce the combination. It read, “The new Foundation will build on the historic legacies of both organizations, each of which have worked for decades to strengthen and advance the mission of the City College of New York.” In essence, the new Foundation combines philanthropic funds received by the the two separately. In doing so, their efforts would be doubled and centered around a single, unified vision.
Mozeleski explained, “We are currently working on a consolidation plan to bring together the 21st Century Foundation and the City College Fund into one, unified foundation for the College.” One of her short term goals is to utilize this consolidation to foster relationships between the two organizations’ workers. “This may be hard to believe, but many members of the two organizations had never worked together before and this gives them time to see where their work both complements and moves forward the goals of the two organizations in support of the college,” she shared.
Mozeleski is a women of not one, but many interests. As her Twitter bio explains, she is at once a flyfisher, rescue diver, and triathlete. Even more, she has spent the last 25 years of her professional career working for organizations centered around social justice – both local and global. Directly prior to her new position, she worked with The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership for four years. When recalling this long list of accomplishments, she attested, “The one thing that places all of my past experiences together is that I have always been mentored by people who were passionate, thoughtful, and invested in my professional growth.”
Mozeleski continued, “Those mentors have been with me my entire career and they have also helped me see the work of development as advocacy work. That is what has prepared me to work at a place whose entire mission is the redress of social disparity.” No stranger to the inner workings of CCNY, Mozeleski is prepared and eager to continue in this role. The question then becomes, what changed overnight when the “Interim” was dropped from her title?
In the interim period, Mozeleski has developed and fostered relationships with organizations willing to support the historic mission at The City University of New York’s flagship campus. The main difference between the permanent and temporary title regards others’ willingness to engage in long term discussions about planning, as it is unclear who will be holding down the office when those decisions come to fruition.
Nevertheless, Mozeleski looked back fondly on the two-year period. “I would not change these last two years as they have brought me a tremendous understanding of the College and its place within CUNY and the state,” she said. Yet, the Executive Director acknowledged, “I also know that the simple act of removing ‘Interim’ has given me a new set of responsibilities to act on in support of our history.”
Now that Mozeleski is able to both plan and enact long term statutes, she is wasting no time. Moving forward, the office is hoping to transition from explaining the new singular Foundation, and focus largely on building relationships that invest in the united fund. Additionally, Mozeleski described innovative steps already going into action: “One of the most important moves we made […] was to bring communications and development into one department – allowing us to not only tell the story of the College in a new way, but to bring a consistent voice back to our alumni and friends around the world.”
Although this large scale funding foundation may seem distant from the day to day lives of students, they are actually deeply interconnected. At its core, these philanthropic efforts are meant to strengthen and expand the experiences of students. Mozeleski expounded, “From the very first scholarship awarded to a CCNY student, to the named schools, endowed professorships, study abroad opportunities and professional development awards – the work of the 21st Century Foundation and the City College Fund has been, and will continue to be, to support the College in its mission of providing access to excellence.”
In numbers, Mozeleski and the foundation estimated that this past year the 21st Century Foundation alone contributed over $5 million in philanthropy back to the campus in scholarships, internship support, study abroad awards, faculty and staff support, and infrastructure maintenance.
As the new position sinks in, Mozeleski noted, “I believe we are a college that is on the edge of great new financial successes in the area of philanthropy and I see my role as being the steward of that conversation.”
Design by Loretta Violante