The Heckscher Foundation welcomes John Mogulescu, a remarkable education leader, as a Heckscher Leadership Fellow commencing November 1, 2022. Designed after similar programs in the private equity world where successful entrepreneurs are invited to spend a year developing new for-profit ventures, the Heckscher Leadership Fellows Program provides those in senior education leadership positions with an opportunity to develop new venture philanthropy projects and approaches that help level the playing field for underserved youth.
Our inaugural Heckscher Leadership Fellows, Ruth Genn and Vita Rabinowitz, completed their Fellowships in 2021 but continue to advise the foundation on strategic education initiatives.
The Heckscher Leadership Fellows Program extends the reach and impact of the foundation’s venture philanthropy approach to grantmaking. This approach focuses on three high-leverage funding strategies—catalytic giving, strategic partnerships with other funders in the public and private sectors, and targeted problem solving. While seeking out “inflection point funding,” Heckscher focuses on specific obstacles that keep underserved youth from realizing their full potential and the key junctures where the foundation’s grantmaking might change the course of their lives.
Fellows work independently on projects of their choosing and periodically advise the foundation on grantmaking opportunities. An annual stipend is provided as well as access to the foundation’s office space and services, which Fellows may use at their discretion.
Meet our Leadership Fellows:
John Mogulescu, Heckscher Leadership Fellow starting November 2022
John was the Founding Dean of the CUNY School of Professional Studies from 2003-2021. During that time, he also held the position of CUNY Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs in the University’s Central Office. Prior to assuming these positions, he served as the University Dean for Academic Affairs and Deputy to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the University Dean for Adult and Continuing Education, and the Director of Adult Learning for CUNY.
As Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs, Dean Mogulescu led a team that developed the model for the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College which opened in 2012 and was the first new CUNY community college in forty years. He also oversaw the highly successful and acclaimed Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), now serving 25,000 students. Among the many other programs that he supervised were the CUNY Service Corps, CUNY Start, CUNY’s Collaborative programs with the NYC Public Schools, CUNY Prep, the NYC Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, CUNY’s Workforce Development Initiative, the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) and the Emmy award winning TV series, “We Are New York.” From 2001-2018, the programs that Dean Mogulescu led generated over $1.3 billion in external grants and contracts. Dean Mogulescu is a past president of the New York State Continuing Education Association and the New York State Adult Learning Council. He also was the Chair of the Board of Visitors of the New York City Police Department and a longtime member of the New York City Workforce Development Board. He retired from CUNY in 2021 after 49 years of service.
Ruth Genn, Heckscher Leadership Fellow 2020-2021, Advisor 2021-present
Ruth Genn is a co-founder of Literacy Academy Collective, a non-profit working to bring evidence-based literacy instruction into the DOE public school system by creating and supporting schools serving students with language-based learning disabilities. Ruth founded the New York office of Bottom Line and served as its Executive Director for eight years. During her tenure, Bottom Line NY grew from an inaugural class of 125 students to a thriving program helping over 3,000 students annually to earn their college degree, establishing itself as a leader in the college access and success space. Previously, Ruth worked at New Visions for Public Schools where she launched and directed New Visions’ first Data and College Readiness departments. Before joining New Visions in 2005, Ruth worked in the Bloomberg Administration on the integration of after-school services across several New York City agencies. She began her career as a New York City public school teacher through Teach for America. Ruth holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley; and a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.
Vita C. Rabinowitz, Heckscher Leadership Fellow 2020-2021, Advisor 2021-present
Vita has served in the most senior leadership roles at The City University of New York, including Interim Chancellor, University Provost, Provost, and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Hunter College, where she has taught and mentored thousands of students over the course of her 37-year career there. Before serving as Hunter’s provost, she held a variety of administrative positions at the school, including chairperson of the Department of Psychology. While at Hunter, Dr. Rabinowitz was the recipient of major National Science Foundation grants, including ones to strengthen the many STEM enrichment programs at Hunter College and to launch Hunter’s Undergraduate Research Initiative, and another that established Hunter’s Gender Equity Project, which sought to advance women faculty in the natural and social sciences. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and is co-author of a popular textbook, Engendering Psychology: Women and Gender Revisited. While in CUNY’s Central Office, Dr. Rabinowitz launched successful initiatives to improve graduation rates, academic momentum, and academic quality.