CORO Neighborhood Leadership Remarks

On January 31, 2012 Jonathan Fanton delivered opening remarks to commemorate fellows of the CORO Neighborhood Leadership program,  a 5-month, part-time leadership training opportunity that provides individuals working in organizations that strengthen New York City’s commercial institutions with the tools and experiences they need to develop new ways to lead change in their communities. For more information on CORO, click here.

CORO Neighborhood Leadership – Remarks
January 31, 2012

Thank you, Rob. It is always a pleasure to make common cause with you. And to learn from you. Looking back over my career I can say that our work together at the 14th Street Union Square Local Development Corporation and BID ranks at the top of what gives me a feeling of pride and satisfaction.

Last May you and I had a conversation with the first class of Coro Fellows so this feels like a reunion as I look out and see familiar faces. I look forward to talking with you at the reception and hearing about your experiences.

This gathering of the first and now the new class of Coro Fellows furthers the potential of this program to make our city more vibrant one neighborhood at a time – a city that will be more prosperous, creative, just and humane with opportunity for all. Think about this when you come together.

I hope this annual event will be here in the home of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. This is where they lived, the family center, from 1908 until they moved to the White House. Roosevelt heard of his election to the Presidency here, made his first radio address to the nation as President-elect by the fireplace on the second floor, recruited his Cabinet and formulated the New Deal from his study looking out on 65th Street.

He understood the importance of community development. Hear his words in a 1933 Fireside Chat talking about employment creation and economic development. Our program “will succeed if our people understand it — in the big industries, in the little shops, in the great cities and … small villages. There is nothing complicated about it and there is nothing particularly new in the principle. It goes back to the basic idea of society and of the nation itself that people acting in a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could even hope to bring about.”

Franklin and Eleanor would be pleased that you are gathered in their home to begin your journey on a program that will make full use of your talent to bring people together in community groups to seize hold of their destinies, strengthen their neighborhoods, and make a difference. The path to America’s best days ahead runs not through Washington or Albany, but through Jackson Heights, East Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant.

We are fortunate that the great work that Rob Walsh and his colleagues are accomplishing has a wise, caring and determined advocate one step from the Mayor. I have the pleasure of introducing Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Robert Steel. After a successful business career including 30 years at Goldman Sachs and service as Under-Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, Bob Steel has applied his immense talent to supporting the local economy of New York’s diverse neighborhoods.

Since his appointment, the Deputy Mayor has had the opportunity to visit many of your neighborhoods with Commissioner Walsh, pounding the pavement in Red Hook, Brooklyn, the Hub 3rd Avenue in the Bronx, and St. George, Staten Island, just to name a few – each time recognizing the great work of our Neighborhood Leaders and the organizations you represent.  Not only has he attracted the first Applied Science Campus to our great City, bolstering the growing technology sector, but he has also created the first Bank Advisory Council that is dedicated to helping new and small business secure loans, expand their customer base and thrive.  Through this work, he embodies what it means to be a Leader. Through his leadership he carries on the spirit of Franklin Roosevelt who is smiling with approval.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Deputy Mayor Robert Steel.

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