Mission & Overview

The mission of the New York State Commission on National and Community Service is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering in New York State.

The Commission was established in 1994 by an Executive Order of the Governor. Commission members are appointed by the governor. They represent a diverse, bipartisan, and statewide network of interested citizens and supporters of service. Commission members each have a strong background in community service and leadership and provide a tremendous resource to the state service and volunteer communities.

The Commission administers programs funded by the National Community Service Trust Act of 1993, as amended by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009. The Commission receives annual federal funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service and makes grants to nonprofits, faith-based organizations, local governments, and educational institutions providing outcome-based services to address community-identified needs.

The Commission serves as the lead state entity responsible for networking volunteer resources and carrying out civic engagement initiatives as identified by the governor. The Commission collaborates with local, state and national volunteer agencies, government, and other public and private entities to achieve its mission.

Membership on and composition of the Commission is governed by, a federal statute,  the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (42 USC § 178 et seq.) and by an Executive Order of Governor Mario M. Cuomo (9 CRR-NY 4.179NY-CRR) establishing the Commission in December 1993. All membership criteria are set by the federal statute and referenced in the Executive Order. Membership should consist of 15-25 voting members, appointed by the Governor without additional approval. The Serve America Act lays out a number of statutory membership requirements, including members with expertise in specified subject matter; non-voting representation from the federal government, the Commissioner of the state education department or designee; and political balance requiring that no more than 50% plus one member be from one political party. Terms are for three years, with no limit to the number of terms. Members whose terms are expired are “held over” by virtue of NYS Public Officer Law §5, which states that terms may be held over until a successor is appointed, absent a resignation or other specified events (NYS Public Officers Law §30).

At any given time, there may be vacancies as defined in the Public Officers Law. As of November 2023, the Commission has three statutory vacancies: 1) an individual with experience in promoting the involvement of older adults in service and voluntarism; 2) a representative of local labor organizations in the State; and 3) a representative of business.

This information will be updated as necessary at the time of new appointments, resignations, or other relevant events.

Per the federal statute, Commission members may not receive compensation for their service, but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and other expenses incurred to fulfill their duties

Commission Chair

Michael S. Cashman

Michael Cashman

Michael S. Cashman grew up in Massachusetts and immediately fell in love with the North Country after moving to Plattsburgh for school. He attended SUNY Plattsburgh where he first received his B.S. in Speech Communications and then his M.S. in College and Agency Counseling. Though a transplant, Michael proudly calls the Town of Plattsburgh his home along with his wife, Olivia, a veterinarian, and their dogs. 

During his college years, Michael served in a variety roles including being the only two-term Student Association President and he was tapped to be a member of the United Way’s Allocation Committee. He credits these experiences with providing him a deeper understanding of servant leadership and challenges facing rural communities. While an undergraduate, he devoted over 1,000 hours to community service. He was recognized for excellence in service with a number of distinctions including the President's Volunteer Service Award.

After graduation, he was hired by his alma mater and worked there for a decade. As the Assistant Director for the Center for Student Involvement. His portfolio included leading Project HELP - SUNY Plattsburgh’s Community Service Clearinghouse. Each academic year over 1,200 students engaged in regional volunteer opportunities. Consistently generating over 12,000 hours of service in the Greater Plattsburgh region. He also organized and led numerous Alternative Spring Break service trips around the country and established relationships in Canada. Michael worked closely with the United Way of the Adirondacks to establish a model partnership with SUNY Plattsburgh’s Project HELP. His efforts have lead to SUNY Plattsburgh’s sustained support of the Day of Caring as the region’s largest one-day volunteer program. He was recognized for community and professional service with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. 

On November 3, 2015 Michael was elected with 61% of the vote as Plattsburgh newest town supervisor. His election makes him the youngest elected Plattsburgh Town Supervisor in the history of the town and it also believed Clinton County. Currently he chair’s the Clinton County Supervisor’s Association, is a member of the Clinton Community College Foundation, and member of the CV-Tec Advisory Council. Previous leadership roles included serving as the President/Chair for the founding Board of Directors to the Adirondack Young Professionals 501 c3 group and National Board member of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society. Michael resides in Clinton County.

Commission Members

Suzanne Gaba Aisenberg

Suzanne Aisenberg is a consultant to nonprofit organizations and provides guidance to her clients on a range of organizational issues. Prior to launching her independent practice in 2003, Ms. Aisenberg was a program officer with The Atlantic Philanthropies where she was responsible for grants primarily in the areas of philanthropy, volunteering, civic engagement and nonprofit sector infrastructure. She was a founding board member of the Grantmaker Forum for National and Community Service, now called PACE, and was a national board member of the Hands on Network. Ms. Aisenberg resides in New York County.

Gary Bagley

Gary Bagley has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, most recently as the Executive Director of New York Cares, New York City’s largest organization devoted to driving community impact through volunteer-led programs and the biggest affiliate of Points of Light, the global organization dedicated to volunteer service.

Gary serves on the Board of Directors of the National Urban Fellows, an organization that develops people of color and women to be leaders and change agents in the public and nonprofit sectors. 
Gary's leadership has been recognized by The New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Award for Overall Management Excellence, and the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. Gary was named a Notable in Nonprofits and Philanthropy by Crain’s New York and one of the CSR Responsible 100 by City & State (an award given to individuals who demonstrate outstanding social responsibility and community leadership).

Gary has served as an Adjunct Lecturer at Baruch College on the Administration of Non-Profit Institutions and Public and Non-Profit Management and also co‐authored the "Volunteer Engagement and Management" chapter in the latest edition of the textbook "Nonprofit Management 101."  Gary resides in New York County.

Melvin Campos

Mel Campos serves as Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon. He took over the task of running the Club in February of 2013. He is a lifetime Boys & Girls Club Advocate. Under his leadership, average daily attendance has increased from 80 to 105, the budget has increased from $550,000 to more than $700,000, and the board has added nine new members. Mel has also developed new partnerships and collaborations with community stakeholders, and brought in several new programs including the nationally recognized STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Program.

Mel first attended the Pathways for Youth Boys Club in the Bronx in 1968. In 1974, he attended the Kips Bay Boys Club also in the Bronx. He credits his Club experience with teaching him about responsibility, respect, winning, and most importantly, losing.

Mel began his professional career with the Boys & Girls Club Movement as Associate Executive Director of the Crime Prevention Association Boys & Girls Club in Philadelphia. He then became Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Albany where he helped increase the budget from $462,000 to $1.2 million. After five years, Mel was asked to lead the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens - one of the most diverse Clubs in the country. Under his leadership, membership increased by 30%. In 2004, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America asked Mel to join the National Staff as a Regional Service Director serving more than 30 Clubs in New York and New Jersey.

Prior to his work with Boys & Girls Clubs, Mel held leadership positions with the Bank of New York, the City Volunteer Corps, the Albany Service Corps, the New York National Guard Challenge Program, Public Private Ventures, and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

A graduate of Manhattanville College, Mel is married to Barbara Allen Campos and has three children, Adam, Lorin, and Brian. Mel resides in Westchester County.

Dr. Elizabeth Cappella

Dr. Cappella is a Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Educational Foundations at Buffalo State College as well as Co-Director of Project FLIGHT a family Literacy Program. She has pioneered literacy programs and research in this area through Project FLIGHT locally, statewide and nationally. Former President Clinton, Governor Pataki and former Governor Cuomo have honored her for her work on the behalf of children and their families, Project FLIGHT has generated over $35,000,000 in money and in-kind donations. Dr. Cappella teaches courses in Research, Statistics, Family Literacy, Parenting, Family Violence, and counseling. Dr. Cappella resides in Erie County.

Sharon Cates-Williams

Sharon Cates-Williams has made a significant and longstanding contribution to New York State government in the fields of information technology and education. Cates-Williams currently serves as Executive Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Education Department, an affiliate of the University of the State of New York comprised of public and independent elementary and secondary schools; public, independent, and proprietary colleges and universities; libraries; museums; public broadcasting facilities; historical repositories; proprietary schools; and more than 50 professions. A graduate of Baruch College, Cates-Williams left the private sector after serving 17 years as Vice President in the Global Technology division at Lehman Brothers, Inc. In 2003, Cates-Williams became the first African American Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology for the Town of North Hempstead, NY, and in 2005 she was selected as Commissioner and Chief Information Officer for Suffolk County, NY distinguishing her as the first CIO in county history. Cates-Williams served as a senior technology advisor to the New York State Governor’s office in 2008 and was soon elevated to the post of Chief Technology Officer for the Office for Technology in 2009. Cates-Williams is the recipient of several prestigious honors including her 2019 YWCA Resourceful Women in Management Award and 2017 induction into the New York State IT Leadership Hall of Fame, in recognition of her years of experience and service in the technology sector. She serves on several boards and is an active volunteer with several community-based organizations.  Cates-Williams is a frequent keynote speaker whose sole purpose is to empower young people and encourage creative thought and action.  Cates-Williams lives in Albany County.

Mallory DeLanoy

Mallory DeLanoy graduated from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) with a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental resources engineering. As a student, Mallory participated in Governor Cuomo’s New York Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative. She volunteered on two post hurricane service trips to recover and rebuild a sustainable, resilient, and vibrant Puerto Rico. Mallory led the ESF NYWEA (New York Water Environment Association) Student Chapter as President and the natural disaster relief club on campus, Acorns to Action, as Co-President to support creative water resources management, and local, statewide, and national humanitarian efforts. Mallory currently works as a Water Engineer at Arcadis, in White Plains, New York. She resides in Putnam County.

Luz Lizotte

Luz Lizotte has been advocating for the needs of New York’s most vulnerable, as a member of the executive leadership team at Catholic Charities, since June 2007. Luz spent five years in the New York State Legislature, focusing on local aid and education funding, and three years in the New York State Governor’s Office overseeing the State’s outreach to immigrant populations. She now serves as Director for Government, Community & External Relations at the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, where she is responsible for advancing the agency’s policy, budgetary and external priorities.

Luz is the daughter of Dominican immigrants. Born and raised in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City, she holds degrees in Government from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Urban Planning from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Ms. Lizotte serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Catholic Homes, the Board of Woodstock Manor, and was recently appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul to serve on the New York State Commission on National and Community Service. Ms. Lizotte resides in Westchester County.

Andrea Louie

Andrea Louie is Secretary to the Commissioner at the Nassau County Department of Health. She was executive director of the Asian American Arts Alliance, leading arts advocacy and cultural equity for New York City’s diverse, pan-Asian, multidisciplinary cultural community. She is the author of a novel, Moon Cakes (Ballantine Books) and co-editor of an anthology, Topography of War: Asian American Essays (The Asian American Writers’ Workshop). Andrea is a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, the Hannah S. and Samuel A. Cohn Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a Ludwig Volgelstein Foundation grant and was short-listed for the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. She has served as a review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Joyce Foundation, EmcArts, and the Brooklyn Arts Council. She was a writer-in-residence for the National Book Foundation and has been awarded artist residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi, Hedgebrook, and the Fundacíon Valparáiso in Spain. She has been appointed by Gov. Cuomo to the NYS Commission on National and Community Service and serves on the boards of SMU DataArts and New Yorkers for Culture & Arts. She is a member of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop as well as the Asian American Journalists Association. She was 2016 honoree of Leadership for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) in Los Angeles, and was a 2017 arts and community advocate honoree of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. Andrea resides in Nassau County.

Gay B. Molnar

Gay, along with fellow Commission member, Dr. William Murabito, has served as a member of the Commission on National & Community Service since its inception in 1994. During these years she has served as the Vice Chair and Secretary. Gay sits on several regional boards, where she brings expertise about not-for-profits and development. Gay is a former President of the National Rural Education Association, which is the leading national organization that maintains the vitality of rural schools across the country. She remains active with the NREA. In 1991, Gay was selected by then First Lady Matilda Cuomo to be the first Western Region Coordinator for the New York State Mentoring Program. Gay takes great pride in knowing that she made a difference with at-risk children during this time with the mentoring program. Gay is also a former Executive Director of the Aquarium of Niagara in Niagara Falls, New York, and she is currently President of the Calamar Foundation. Gay resides in Niagara County.

Dr. William Murabito

Dr. William Murabito has served as a member of the New York State Commission on National Community Service since its establishment in 1994. His volunteer service has spanned over forty years with membership on numerous agencies, including the chair of Albany’s Promise, for which he received the Albany Volunteer of the Year Award. He has long been involved in the field of higher education, in which he has held positions at several SUNY schools. He resides in Niagara County.

Commission Staff

Commission staff are supported by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

Linda J. Cohen, Executive Director

Linda J Cohen Portrait

Linda J. Cohen serves as the executive director for the New York State Commission on National and Community Service.

Prior to joining the commission, Linda served for 12 years as executive director of the New York State Corps Collaboration, where she was responsible for one of the nation's largest AmeriCorps programs. She has also served as executive director of the New York State Dispute Resolution Association, as a contributing writer for Inside Sports Magazine and in various legal positions within all three branches of New York state government.

Cohen is a graduate of Union College, Albany Law School, and the National Law Center at George Washington University. She is also a 2004 graduate of the Capital Leadership program of the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce. A lifelong resident of Albany, she has actively volunteered in her synagogue, at various social service and community agencies, with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and with the Law, Youth and Citizenship program of the New York State Bar Association. She and her husband met as volunteers while working on that organization’s high school mock trial competition.

Linda is grateful for the opportunity to lead the effort to involve all New Yorkers in service to their communities.

Contact Linda at: [email protected]

Beth Tailleur, Director of Programs

Beth Tailleur has proudly been a part of the New York State Commission on National and Community Service staff since its formation in 1994. As Director of Programs, she helps organizations in New York develop and operate quality AmeriCorps programs that meet state and federal requirements. Beth previously worked in the New York State Legislature and with the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities as a legislative staff member. Beth is very active in her community, serving as a volunteer with the Greene County Branch of the Capital District YMCA (CDYMCA). She spends as much time as possible enjoying her family, her gardens, and the beautiful Hudson Valley.

Contact Beth at: [email protected]

Megan Russell, Senior Administrator for Programs and Procurement

Before joining the Commission staff in 2021, Megan worked in a multitude of settings to support the overall mission of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), most recently with the Bureau of Contract Management. After graduating from SUNY Albany with a BA in English, Megan began her career at Saint Coleman’s Home for children with special needs, teaching academics, life skills, and communication skills. Megan went on to become a child protective case worker for Montgomery County, leaving in 2011 to serve as a Child Protective Specialist for the State Central Register at OCFS’ home office in Rensselaer. In 2016, she accepted a traineeship with OCFS’s Bureau of Contract Management, where she had her first experiences working directly with Commission staff on AmeriCorps procurements, as well as Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Volunteer Generation Fund, and ultimately serving as a contract manager for awarded sub-grantees. When not working, Megan enjoys being outdoors on the farm and gardening with her daughter, while taking a moment to breathe in the mountain air and appreciate the beauty of New York State. Megan is excited to continue her journey and to use her experience to assist the Commission with its mission to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering in the state of New York.

Contact Megan at: [email protected]

James Pratt, Director of Finance

James joined the Commission staff in 2023. He has worked in New York State government since 2007, starting his career with the New York State Office of the State Comptroller working in investment accounting. James then joined the New York State Department of Health working in billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and insurance accounting. James also has over 20 years of customer service experience. When not working, James enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and working out. James is excited to join the Commission staff and he looks forward to assisting its mission.

Contact James at: [email protected]

Michael O. Stevens, Program Administrator/Communications Coordinator

Michael joined the Commission staff in 2016. Michael was born and raised in the Capital Region of New York. He earned a Master of Education in 2005 and worked as a K-12 substitute teacher in Troy, New York. Prior to joining the Commission staff, he worked at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Michael has earned certifications in copy editing, basic reporting, writing, and news literacy, and he has published writings in the (Albany) Times Union, and Trolley, the New York State Writers Institute's online literary journal. Michael admires people who give back and serve others, and he is committed to helping AmeriCorps programs in New York achieve their respective missions.

Contact Michael at: [email protected]

Kuoli Chung, Program Administrator

Kuoli Chung joined the Commission staff in 2016 as a program administrator. He came to Albany in 2003 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the State University of New York at Albany. Prior to working with the Commission, Kuoli worked for the New York State Department of Labor in the Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions as a labor services representative, where he assisted workers who were substantially impaired from their local labor market obtain training necessary to re-enter the labor market. Kuoli appreciates the impacts brought to communities by AmeriCorps programs and is dedicated to support each and every one of them.

Contact Kuoli at: [email protected]

Anthony Swingruber, Program Administrator

Anthony Swingruber joined the Commission staff in 2019 as a program administrator. Before joining the Commission, he served in the Peace Corps as a Community Economic Development Specialist in Paraguay, while completing his Master of Public Administration at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. During his Peace Corps service, Anthony developed a capstone for his MPA coursework that promoted the sustainability of a youth entrepreneurship program through improved data collection and evaluation practices. Through his studies and service, Anthony developed a deep appreciation for how civic engagement contributes to healthier communities. He lives this value by volunteering at Joseph's House in Troy and serving on the steering committee of a local civic group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Anthony is delighted for the opportunity to support organizations promoting civic engagement and volunteerism in communities across New York State.

Contact Anthony at: [email protected]

Eric Skiff, Training Specialist

Eric Skiff joined the Commission staff as a training specialist in 2022. He earned a Master of Education from the State University of New York at Albany. He has served as a substitute teacher with various school districts throughout the Capital Region. He has also worked with many New York State agencies, in various roles, ranging from administration to training. Eric enjoys spending time with his family, gardening, reading and traveling. He is thrilled to combine his background and experience to support AmeriCorps programs that foster service and volunteerism across New York State.

Contact Eric at: [email protected] 

Yenutien Kombian, Program Administrator

Yenutien joined the Commission staff in 2023. She has over 12 years of experience in community mobilization, research, and volunteer management in the nonprofit sector. Yenutien has a bachelor's in Theatre Arts and English from the University of Ghana, and a master's in Development Studies with a specialization in Social Policy and an interest in Children and Youth Policy from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague of Erasmus University, Rotterdam. She began her career with New York State in 2021 at the New York State Department of Labor. Yenutien believes in giving back to society, and she is excited about what AmeriCorps does for communities. 

Contact Yenutien at [email protected] 

Casey Vincelette, Program Administrator

Casey joined the Commission staff in 2023. She hails from Bethlehem and Troy, New York, and she earned a bachelor’s from SUNY Geneseo in 2018. She joined AmeriCorps through Teach for America, moving to Chicago to teach middle school while earning her master’s in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. Casey has worked with young people in various educative and volunteer capacities. She is a frequent O- universal blood donor, and she is proud of the contributions she’s made to hunger relief efforts in Livingston County. Casey is very pleased to be back in New York serving AmeriCorps programs and members to the best of her ability.

Contact Casey at [email protected] 

Cindy Wilks, Administrative Assistant

Cindy joined the Commission staff in 2023. Previously, Cindy worked at the New York State Department of Corrections and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. She has also served with the New York Legislative Bill Drafting Commission (LBDC). At age 38, Cindy earned an associate degree in business, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She intends to finish a bachelor's in business. Cindy enjoys competing in amateur pool leagues in her spare time, and she has won 10 trips to compete nationally in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Contact Cindy at [email protected]


New York State Service Plan

Every three years, the Commission produces a service plan for the state. The plan identifies and assesses the needs of the state, and outlines strategies and goals for addressing those needs through service and volunteerism. The plan is informed by input from stakeholders in the national and community service field, such as current AmeriCorps programs, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. The Commission works closely with the Office of the Governor to finalize the plan. The most recent State Service Plan was approved and adopted on February 23, 2024.

Contact NYS Commission on National and Community Service

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New York State Commission on National & Community Service
52 Washington Street
North Building - Suite 235
Rensselaer, NY 12144

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