LIFT 2021 Annual Report

Legal Information for Families Today

2021 Annual Report

Tenacity in the face of adversity doesn’t just describe LIFT. It describes the resilient families we are so privileged to serve.

Message from Our CEO and Board Chair

CEO Cathy Cramer and Board Chair Gabriella Nawi

Dear Friend of LIFT,

Tenacity in the face of adversity.

Words that sum up what 2021 (Pandemic Year 2!) looked like at LIFT.

Tenacity in the face of adversity defined LIFT’s daily reality as our devoted team worked with creativity and care to increase access to justice for a record-breaking number of New Yorkers in a time of upheaval.

Our already overburdened Family Courts had to drastically reduce services.  And while the outcomes of Family Court cases are significant to all families, low-income families without legal representation face extraordinary barriers to navigating the system and finding justice. These barriers often bring a cascade of further financial and emotional harm.

And that’s why LIFT is here.

In the spirit of tenacity in the face of adversity, LIFT showed up in a thousand ways, every day

  • helping people understand their cases and get their legal paperwork in order
  • answering urgent questions
  • translating complex family law concepts to equip people for self-advocacy
  • helping clients navigate the court’s website and electronic filing system, log onto virtual hearings, and get their cases heard
  • developing technologies that are both innovative and accessible to put information and power in the hands of tens of thousands of New Yorkers navigating the family justice system

Tenacity in the face of adversity doesn’t just describe LIFT. It describes the resilient families we are so privileged to serve. It also describes the Family Court and our community-based partner organizations, who continually tell us how valuable and even life-changing LIFT’s services are.

But most of all, it expresses the intrepid spirit we will always bring to our efforts, as we work toward a better future by responding with innovation and heart to the shifting conditions of these challenging times. 

Thank you for partnering with us!

Cathy A. Cramer, CEO  

Gabi Nawi, Board Chair

Who We Are

We’re delighted to share LIFT’s updated vision and mission statements—making our commitment to equity more explicit and anchoring our story in a vision for social change. 


We envision a world in which justice in New York State Family Court is attainable for everyone, fully and equitably—no matter who they are, where they live, or their economic status—because all families deserve the opportunity to create stability, security, and emotional well-being.


LIFT’s mission is to increase access to justice in New York State Family Court. We combine legal guidance, easy-to-access technology, and compassionate support to help unrepresented parents and caregivers self-advocate on critical family law issues, while working on reform that improves the system for everyone.


In 1996, three young lawyers fresh out of law school started their careers in the New York State Family Court system, and immediately saw how people without their own lawyer struggled to get justice. In response to this inequity, Karen Simmons, Liberty Aldrich, and Leslie Abbey decided to take action. They brought a folding table into the Manhattan Family Court building and stationed themselves to answer questions and offer guidance. The demand was tremendous, with hundreds of people seeking their help within the first few weeks. From that folding table and three caring lawyers on a mission, our organization was born.

Meet Our Team

We’re lawyers, advocates, community organizers, writers, fundraisers, techies, and data trackers. And we’re working together to help lift our neighbors, one family at a time.

Rachel Andron

Chief Program Officer

Kristin Aswad

Staff Attorney, Staten Island Borough Coordinator

Joel Banuelos

Bilingual Staff Attorney

Katherine Barenboim

Bilingual Staff Attorney

Molly Burke

Advocacy and Policy Advisor

Caroline Casey

Pro Bono Program Coordinator

Cathy Cramer

Chief Executive Officer

Ryan Gallagher

Director of Legal Technology

Nathalie Gonzalez

Legal Director

Blythe Hawthorne-Loizeaux

Staff Attorney, Pro Bono, and Outreach

Samantha Ingram

Director of Pro Bono Programs

Tyler Levsen

Manhattan Staff Attorney

Chábelly Pacheco Maluly

Bilingual Program Associate

Andrea Miller

Manager of Institutional Giving

Evony Morel

Bilingual Program Associate

Hannaha Navarrette

Special Assistant to the CEO

Kristin Pulkkinen

Chief Development Officer

Liza Rosa

Operations & HR Manager

What inspires me most about LIFT is our staff. Their dedication, compassion, energy, and problem-solving skills. We wouldn’t be here without them. And as always, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Gabriella Nawi, LIFT Board Chair

Emily Schoenfeld

Manager of Development and Communications

Jessica Stadmeyer

Director of Legal Resources and Community Engagement

Meet Our Board of Directors

United by the belief that fair and equal access to justice is core to the rule of law, and to our humanity, we’re working to make a difference today and every day, one family at a time.   

Senior Counsel 

Business Planning and Operations

Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs 

Senior Director, Global Revenue Controller

Trial Attorney

Director of a Family Foundation 


Community Volunteer

Managing Partner 

I’m excited to help LIFT make the greatest impact in our new hybrid, post COVID world. Much of how we all work has changed and yet the fundamentals of what people need are the same. It's compelling to be considering new practices, especially technology developed during the pandemic, to create easier access for our clients. I'm delighted to be part of it.

Ria Harracksingh

Who We Serve

LIFT provides unrepresented litigants with free legal services on cases involving child support, custody and visitation, parentage, guardianship, and domestic violence. Our clients are mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers, sisters and guardians who care.

On top of often grueling work schedules and difficult family situations, they come to us to learn about family law and how to best advocate for themselves and their families in court; they come to provide the children in their lives with a safe home, economic security and emotional stability. In a system where lack of legal representation often puts justice out of reach, LIFT is here — increasing access to justice for all New Yorkers, one family at a time.


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Relationship to Child

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Where We Serve

These last few years have laid bare the inequitable access to justice and legal services in our state. I am motivated each day knowing that my work might help alleviate those inequities for families across New York.

Joel Banuelos, LIFT Bilingual Staff Attorney

Client Stories

Meet Miriam

Meet Mario

Our Model of Legal Service

LIFT’s limited-scope representation model helps people seeking justice in New York State Family Court without a lawyer. Rather than representing our clients in court, LIFT lawyers (staff and pro bono) provide tools, resources, and legal strategy so they can effectively represent themselves within the system and navigate the many steps required to move their cases forward. Legal support at critical junctures goes a long way in making the process more efficient and effective. 

LIFT’s model of legal service is a triple-win:

  • For unrepresented litigants:

    Stronger self-advocacy skills and understanding of family law.

  • For the Family Court system:

    More efficient use of time, money, and resources because when litigants are well-prepared, cases can move quickly and efficiently.

  • For our communities:

    Critical legal assistance for vast numbers of people—over 25,000 per year—most of whom live in low-income communities of color with a long history of being denied equal access to justice.

What We Do: Our Services

  • Accessible tools and resources, including LIFT’s Legal Resource Guides and Family Law Navigator 

  • Strategy, assessment, advice, and coaching so people understand what steps to take and how to present their case effectively (e.g. mock trial preparation) 

  • Help accessing and filling out required legal documents, such as petitions and motions

  • Assistance in gathering documents, evidence, and information, so when the case goes before a judge, the process moves more smoothly 

  • Support using the court’s Electronic Document Delivery System to file documents online

  • Tech support to help litigants log onto and interact on virtual court sessions 

  • Arranging language interpreters and other accessibility supports 

  • Referrals to mediation, government agencies, and health and human service organizations across New York

I believe our model of critical legal empowerment is the best way to close the justice gap and allow community members to access their court system. I have seen time and again that if people are given the information and tools they need, they are able to resolve their case without requiring a lawyer to tell them what to do.

Ryan Gallagher, LIFT Director of Legal Technology

Our Programs

LIFT’s Family Law Helpline

LIFT’s Family Law Helpline is often the first contact-point for parents and caregivers who need support navigating New York Family Court. Accessible by phone, email, and chat, our English/Spanish bilingual Helpline provides legal information and appointments with our staff attorneys for in-depth case support. We also offer a translation platform for clients who speak other languages.

In a typical year, the Family Law Helpline responds to around 15,000 support-requests. But 2021 brought more calls than ever—over 24,000 people sought our guidance. This reflects the extraordinary level of need … and a significant increase in referrals from the Family Court itself, which relies on our Helpline to support thousands of people each year.

Legal Consultations

In 2021, we met an unprecedented demand for remote legal consultations in which LIFT staff and pro bono attorneys provide unrepresented litigants with advice and support to prepare their cases. We provided nearly 3,000 consultations—a 56% increase over 2020. Working remotely, attorneys consult with clients by phone, video, and document-sharing on LIFT’s interactive online platform. While LIFT was already conducting remote consultations when the pandemic took hold, they have become a lifeline for clients over these past two years.

Virtual consultations increase accessibility for parents and caregivers who:

• are homebound or disabled
• live in remote areas
• need to take time off from work
• require childcare

Legal Resource Guides in Nine Languages

LIFT has developed over 40 Legal Resource Guides, offered free on our website and at program sites. These guides explain important Family Court and Family Law issues in simple, accessible language. Each guide is translated into eight additional languages.

We develop new guides to reach new audiences and address emerging topics, often in response to needs identified by the Family Court administration, New York City Council, and other stakeholders. Recent guides have focused on topics of special concern to LGBTQ+ parents, military members and veterans, and formerly incarcerated parents.

Legal Education and Community Outreach

LIFT delivers “know-your-rights” workshops and legal clinics at partner organizations in local communities, where people live and work. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve continued delivering these programs online via webinars and live events on social media.

Over our 25 years of service we have learned the unique needs of specific groups, and prioritize outreach to key constituencies accordingly, including: veterans/active military service-members; Spanish-speaking/immigrant families; currently or formerly incarcerated parents; and survivors of domestic violence.

Tech Hub

LIFT is an innovator in deploying technology to increase access to justice. Our goal is to narrow the digital divide through free, accessible online tools that help unrepresented litigants advocate for themselves in Family Court.

In 2021, LIFT opened a Tech Hub, housed in our downtown Brooklyn headquarters, to provide a comfortable, confidential space where litigants without access to reliable technology can utilize computers, printers and internet to complete court forms and attend virtual court hearings. We are currently collecting data on this pilot project, recognizing its potential for replication in other boroughs and by other organizations across New York State.

Digital Justice Initiative

In 2021, LIFT launched our Digital Justice Initiative to address gaps in the Family Court’s online resources and provide user-friendly online tools to help unrepresented litigants understand and access the court-related forms they need, learn about court procedure, and effectively advocate for themselves. All they need is a mobile device. Read on to learn more.

— Digital Justice Initiative —

Family Law Navigator
Our Family Law Navigator asks users a series of “filtering questions” to generate a brief, curated summary of their family law situation, plus options for remediation. The summary can be downloaded directly or emailed. It includes links to LIFT’s multilingual Legal Resource Guides, Family Law Helpline, court forms, and external resources.

We’re now preparing to add more family law topics, such as relocation options for families moving throughout the tristate area and recent legal developments affecting same-sex parents. In 2022, the Family Law Navigator will become bilingual, with all content and customized reports available in Spanish.

We also plan to create a series of short, animated videos embedded in the Navigator that explain family law topics in easy-to-understand language. The videos will include subtitles in English and Spanish for maximum accessibility.

— Digital Justice Initiative —

Guided Online Court Forms

Each year, LIFT’s Helpline fields thousands of questions about Family Court forms—how to access them, fill them out, and understand the information required. Completing and uploading court forms requires a high degree of technological and legal literacy, as well as access to expensive software and computers.

Many LIFT clients access the web exclusively from their mobile device. Unfortunately, mobile devices are ineffective interfaces for downloading, filling out, and submitting PDF documents and other forms the court requires. For thousands of New Yorkers affected by the digital divide, this poses a significant technological barrier to accessing justice.

In response, LIFT is developing guided court forms, where a user answers easy-to-understand questions in plain language. Their answers are mapped onto the fields of the form, generating a completed form in the PDF format accepted by the court’s electronic portal, making it easier to complete and upload essential court documentation from any web-connected device.

Our Impact in 2021

We are building new inroads of access and equity for unrepresented litigants in New York State Family Court with advice, technology and care.  

The ability to access justice in Family Court often means the difference between economic crisis vs. financial security, familial upheaval vs. stability and peace of mind. That’s why we’re here. Every year, LIFT prepares thousands of New York parents and caregivers to self-advocate on issues of child support, custody and visitation, and domestic violence. See how our care is impacting families below.

Often, we are the only help that many New York Family Court litigants have, and the help that we provide is tangible, it’s not abstract. We fill that existing legal gap not just effectively but compassionately.

Katherine Barenboim, LIFT Bilingual Staff Attorney

Helpline Calls,
Emails and Chats
Views of our
Legal Resource Guides

LIFT’s Commitment to Racial and Economic Justice

By increasing access to justice, LIFT is working to reduce poverty and advance racial equity. Our commitment to equity and access is rooted in the recognition that … 

  • All individuals and families deserve a fair and equal chance at justice, regardless of economic status, background, or identity.

  • The under-resourcing of the New York State Family Court system is both an expression and outcome of institutionalized racism. Inequitable resource-allocation impedes marginalized communities’ access to services, resources, and care that many New Yorkers often take for granted. 

  • People of color comprise the majority of Family Court litigants in New York City and many parts of New York State—and are disproportionately harmed by the systemic inadequacies of our current system. 

  • The outcomes of Family Court cases are significant to all families, but low-income families without legal representation face extraordinary barriers to navigating the system and finding justice. These barriers often result in a cascade of further financial, physical, and emotional harm.

  • No one should have to pursue justice in Family Court on their own. Everyone deserves the knowledge, resources, support, and care to access justice within our hard-to-navigate system. 

Advocating For More Just and Equitable Policies

The need for reform of New York State’s Family Court system is widely recognized. Advocacy for reform has always been a part of LIFT’s work, and now it's an impact area we’re investing in more deeply than ever.

LIFT is one of very few organizations in Family Court that works exclusively with unrepresented (pro se) litigants, giving us a unique perspective on the issues in need of reform to create a more equitable system. We energetically represent and amplify the interests of self-representing Family Court litigants through our participation in numerous committees at the city and state levels, working with our partners and allies to press for policy change and reform initiatives.  

Although our lives remained mostly virtual in 2021, LIFT was still out in the community, testifying at hearings and panels, teaching classes on family law, and amplifying the voices of our clients far and wide. 

City and State Committees LIFT Participates In:
  • Advocates Against Domestic Violence
  • Borough Based Agency Heads Meeting
  • Child Support COVID 19 Task Force
  • NYC Bar Family Court & Family Law Committee
  • NYC Bar Pro Bono & Legal Services Committee
  • CVO Covid-19 Task Force for the NYC Family Courts
  • Cyber Sexual Abuse Task Force
  • Family Justice Center working groups
  • Human Services Council – Priority and Strategy Council, Advisory Body
  • Lawyers’ Committee Against Domestic Violence (LCADV)
  • NYS Bar Committee on Families and the Law
  • NYC Bar Council on Children
  • NYC Bar Working Group on Abusive Partner Intervention Programs
  • NYC Veterans Law Technical Assistance Initiative
  • Office of Child Support Services Community Partners Group
  • Public Interest Pro Bono Association (PIPBA)
  • Queens Library Immediate Access Program Advisory Board
  • Veterans Law Working Group

While we aren’t a huge organization, we make a huge difference…Many of our litigants come to us as a last resort after having been through the system and had doors shut on them. We listen to our litigants and advocate for their direct needs while advocating for change on a larger scale.

Molly Burke, LIFT Advocacy and Policy Advisor

Lawyers Council

Leveraging the thought leadership and resources of the private bar to increase access to justice for New York families.  

LIFT’s Lawyers Council is a dynamic group of attorneys who provide strategic guidance and feedback on our pro bono program and policy initiatives, while serving as powerful ambassadors on issues of family court at their firms and companies.   

I’ve always believed that the private sector needs to become more involved in Family Court. It's only at that point that we will see meaningful change.

At issue is the safety and security of families and children. At issue is equal access to justice for people of limited means and people of color. There is nothing more important. Yet Family Court does not have adequate resources and its antiquated structure makes it impossible for court administrators alone to fix things.

We must not tolerate two systems of justice. The private sector needs to wake up and start advocating for court reform.

William C. Silverman, Lawyers Council Chair


William Silverman, Chair 

Erica P. Blau, Esq.  
Pro Bono Director & Associate
American International Group, Inc.  

Tara Brailey 

Elizabeth Carter 
Special Counsel 
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan 

Kara Coggin 
Chief of Staff, COO & Head of Strategic Commercial Matters – Legal & Compliance Department 

Robyn Downing 
Alston & Bird 

Kelly Earle 
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP 

Amy Festante 
Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel 
Popular Bank

Shari Goodstein 
Founding Partner 
Goodstein Law Firm 

Alycia Guichard 
Product & Marketing Counsel 

Leslie Harris 
Vice President & Assistant General Counsel
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. 

Michelle Honor 
Associate, Antirust/Competition 

Nonny Onyekweli
Trial Attorney
US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

Dara Sheinfeld 
Pro Bono Counsel 
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP 

Shauna Tesser-Friedman 
Miller Zeiderman LLP 

David Venderbush 
Alston & Bird 

Paul Winke 
Managing Counsel and Director 
The Bank of New York Mellon 

Our Pro Bono Community

About Pro Bono at LIFT

There are many organizations in New York that help people who can’t afford a lawyer, but LIFT is the only organization that exclusively serves pro se litigants navigating New York Family Court.

Our pro bono partners from the private bar, including top law firms and the legal arms of corporations, serve people statewide via user-friendly technology that enables attorneys and litigants to meet over video and share documents in real time.

This is a unique pro-bono opportunity where attorneys work directly with litigants and can make an important and meaningful impact in a relatively short period of time.

Our video conferencing platform enables pro bono attorneys to schedule a consult whenever it is convenient during their firm’s monthly timeslot—enabling LIFT to serve many more families with legal support and guidance.

For more information on how to join our growing network of pro bono partners, please contact our Director of Pro Bono Programs, Sami Ingram at 

The Power of Pro Bono:

  • Unrepresented litigants receive family law advice and strategy without having to leave home, take time off from work, arrange childcare and transportation, or travel to Family Court for pro bono assistance. 


  • Accessibility barriers for homebound and/or disabled litigants are removed. People who live in rural counties and communities with few pro bono resources are no longer left behind. 


  • Pro bono attorneys receive comprehensive Family Law training while earning CLE credits and get live support from LIFT attorneys before, during and after consultations.


  • Firsthand access to litigants lets you see a real, human and immediate impact.


  • Easy, meaningful way to give back on your own time with only a one-hour consultation.

Pro Bono Partner Spotlight:

As one of LIFT’s first pro bono partners, Bloomberg has been essential in extending our resources to increase access to justice for unrepresented parents and caregivers. Bloomberg attorneys provide consistent monthly consultations…enabling us to reliably meet the rising demand for our services. We are thankful to Bloomberg and its phenomenal team of pro bono attorneys who work diligently to help close the justice gap, one family at a time.  

Bloomberg’s Pro Bono Impact  

  • Since 2019, 65 Bloomberg staff members and attorneys have participated in LIFT trainings and pro bono programs. 
  • Bloomberg attorneys have helped clients with critical family law matters, such as child support–essential to reducing childhood poverty—and custody and visitation—critical to the safety and wellbeing of families. 
  • Our first Pro Bono Champion Award in 2020 went to a Bloomberg volunteer.
  • We hosted over 20 Bloomberg team members in Brooklyn Family Court for our Judge for a Day Program where attendees shadow jurists for a morning to help raise awareness of Family Court conditions. 
  • Attorneys from Bloomberg have consistently staffed 4 pro bono consultation slots each month since May 2020.  
  • To date, Bloomberg attorneys have conducted an impressive 100 consultations…and counting! 

LIFT’s limited representation model enables us as volunteers to assist a much larger number of individuals and really have the biggest impact. Unrepresented litigants often go unheard — both in terms of actually feeling heard and getting in front of a judge — and LIFT is working hard to change that.

Every client I work with, I become more and more empathetic to their needs…And I definitely hug my kid harder when I come home at the end of the day.

Kara Coggin, Bloomberg Volunteer 

Junior Board

LIFT’s Junior Board is a dynamic group of emerging leaders dedicated to making a positive impact on underserved communities in New York. Our members share a commitment to increasing access to justice within our Family Court system. As ambassadors for LIFT’s mission, members leverage personal and professional networks to raise funds and awareness.  

To learn about joining our Junior Board, please contact our Manager of Development and Communications, Emily Schoenfeld, at


Meet LIFT’s Junior Board

Ashley Kersting, Co-Chair, LIFT Junior Board 
Partner, Miller Zeiderman LLP 

Jaroslaw Wakuluk, Co-Chair, LIFT Junior Board 
Associate Lead Analyst I, Moody’s Investor Service 

Diana Acosta 
Senior Managing Counsel and Senior Vice President, Popular Bank 

Chandler Cates-Wessel 
Associate, Global Corporate Communications, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. 

Madeline Cohen 
Marketing and Communications Associate, American Jewish World Service 

Kristin Corbett 
Associate, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP 

Elizabeth Filatova 
Supervising Attorney, Mobilization for Justice

David Howard Fuchs
Associate, Cahill Gordon 

Travis Hungreder 
VP Compliance, Lazard Asset Management 

Zack Klinger 
Associate Development Manager, Cooley LLP

Jackie Martinez
Assistant Manager, Global Corporate Affairs & Integrated Communications, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. 

Our Financials

Smart Investment = Powerful Impact

Fiscal Year 2021 (October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021)

Operating Revenue: $3,503,684

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Expenditures: $3,386,728

No Data Found

Charity Navigator Logo with four stars

With top ratings from Guide Star and Charity Navigator and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, LIFT meets the highest standards of fiscal management, accountability and transparency from the most trusted independent review organizations. 


Fiscal Year 2021 (October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021)



The Clark Foundation

IOLA Fund of the State of New York

Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice

New York State Unified Court System

$50,000 – $99,999

Hearst Foundations

Human Resources Administration

Gabriella Nawi and Todd Jonasz

NYC Office of Court Administration

$25,000 – $49,999

Diane and Arthur Abbey

Leslie Abbey and Stephen Dietz


Mary J. Hutchins Foundation

Newmark & Company Real Estate, Inc.

NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services


The Rona Jaffe Foundation

Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust

Sheri Cyd Sandler

Lisa and Lloyd Zeiderman

$10,000 – $24,999

Jonathan Abbey



Amalgamated Bank

Debra and Kenneth Caplan

Cathy A. Cramer and Kenneth D. Gibbs

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Eugene Keilin and Joanne Witty

Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.

Marble Collegiate Church

David Orlinsky

Popular Bank

Robert Schiffer and Christopher Davis

Eric and Debbie Schwartz

Rebecca Simmons

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

SL Green Realty Corp

Evan Small and Sara Davis

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Susan Tofel


Susan Warren

$5,000 – $9,999

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Foundation

Diane Archer and Stephen Presser

The Bank of New York Mellon

Ellie Becker and Norm Parton

The City of New York

James Collins

Anne Delaney

The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

George Hecht

Marc Holliday

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Anna Klein

Lawrence Foundation

Wendy Mackenzie

Stephen McGrath, Jr. and Janine Shelffo

Sara Moss

The Ready Foundation LLC

Anthony Schlesinger and Anne Forward

Abigail Sheehan Davis

Mary and Alok Singh

Joseph and Diane Steinberg

Venable Foundation

Lois and Barbara Whitman

The William C. Bullitt Foundation

$2,500 – $4,999

Alston & Bird LLP


Barbara and Timothy Boroughs

David Christensen

Phil H. Cohen and Rebecca Kramnick

Jeremy Cramer Gibbs and Melanie DeFiore

Lenore and Robert Davis

Malcolm and JoAnne Davis

Diana and Frederick Elghanayan

Valerie Farkas

Mark and Beth Ferber

Shari Goodstein

Steven and Elizabeth Gruber

Nancy Hart

The Hecht Foundation

Mary Higgins

Robert and Gerry Hodes


Jane Koltsova

Susan and Arthur Lindenauer

Shelley Burtt and Donald Meltzer

The New York Bar Foundation

Partnership for New York City

PJT Partners Holdings

Jill Riitmaster and Jordan Saper


William C. Silverman and Karen Jason

Roger Strong

Peggy and David Tanner

$1,000 – $2,499

Alan and Patricia Abramson

Josh Abramson

Liberty Aldrich and Joseph Saunders

Lori and William Bernstein

Nancy Better

Kalpana Bhandarkar and Vinodh Bhat

Center for Family Representation

Jackie Ceonzo

Corey Chambliss

Lori Cohen and Chris Rothko

Rhonda and Paul DeFiore

Wendy Dessy

Ann Foley and Josh Sapan

Eugene M Lang Foundation

Gonzalo Garcia Kenny

Ellen and Bud and Bud Gibbs

Amy Glosser and Janno Lieber

Lisa Grunwald and Stephen Adler

Pamela Kaplan

Brian and Karen Karnofsky

Cynthia King-Vance and Lee Vance

Travis D Lenkner

Nina Lesavoy

Lisa Lesavoy and Marco Paniccia

Julie, Andrew and Michelle Levine

Glenn Liebman

Nancy Maier

Jill Markowitz and Barry Ensminger

Jennifer and Andrew Marrus

Denis McInerney

Metzger-Price Fund, Inc.

Daniela Nawi

Neuberger Berman Group LLC

NYU Community Fund

Dennis OHara

Thomas Ostrander and Kelli Turner

Fern Schair and Alexander Forger

Sally Shreeves

Courtney Smith

Katherine F and Steven Soll

Elizabeth and Alain Taghipour

Thomson Reuters

The Travelers Companies, Inc.

Dan Vogel

Jacqueline and Randolph Watkins Slifka

Betsy West and Oren Jacoby

Melinda B. Wolfe and Kenneth D. Inadomi

Eric Wolff

Laurence Zuckerman

$500 – $999

Arthur Ainsberg

Julie Allen


Julie Appel and Mitchell Gordon

Felice Axelrod

Jay and Jeanne Benet

Dan and Melissa Berger

Toni and Seth Bernstein

Blake L. Bradford

Tara Brailey

Oren and Mary Jo Bramson

Gayle Brandel

Pamela Brier and Peter Aschkenasy

Michael Cardozo

Anne Champion

Ugo Chiulli

Nancy Coles Goldstein

Anna Connolly

Cheryl DaVeiga

John and Jill Dietz

Lee Dunst

Earthshare NYC Gives

Eta Flamholz

Arlene and Mark Goldsmith

Carla Goldstein and Nathaniel K. Charny

Martin and Susan Goldstein

Joseph and Nita Gottesman

Karen Greenstein and Sean Sullivan

James L. and Julie A. Hallowell

Walter and Gail Harris

Kyla Henriksen

Elsa Hernandez

Andrea and Robert Ingram

Marc Jason

Jeffrey Jones

David Karnovsky and Sue Kaplan

Jim and Betty Kasson

Henri and John Kessler

Frederick C. and Marion B. Kneip

Sarah Knight

Debi Korzenik and Mike Posner

Laura Lazarus and Julian Rich

Kate Lear

Helena Lee and Richard Klapper

Scott Levine

Frances Levy

Andrew Loizeaux

Janice MacAvoy

Nicole Berlin and Michael Marra

David Mayo and Carol Quinn

James McKeever

Joan McPhee and Michael Gilson

Nicole Monson

Douglas Nieters and Bill Lagaret

Patricia Norton and Michael Peck

Adam H. Offenhartz

Vincent and Pam Pagano

Hal and Joanne Parton

Matthew Powell

Redel Foundation Inc.

Caroline R Rosen

Amy and Steven Rubenstein

Josie Sandler

Andrew and Wendy Sanford

Ann and Richard Sarnoff

Linda Schapiro

Laura Schisgall

Lori Roth and David L. Schnadig

Liza Schoenfein

Nancy Schulman

James Shapiro and Tia Powell

Felice Shapiro

Dara L. Sheinfeld

Karen Simmons and Stuart Rose

Nancy and David Solomon

Edward Spiro

Sara Stone

Marcy Syms

Lawrence Tofel

Denisa Tova

David Wagner and Elizabeth Cecil

Amy Wolfson

Michael and Abby Wolk

Lucile Zimet

$250 – $499

Kenneth and Hattie Abbey

Suzanne and Jaime Aisenberg


Brian Ascher

John and Michelle Brooks

Kathy Chi

Carmen Ciparick

Errol Cockfield

Eleonore Cohen

Robert and Sally Cramer

Anthony Crowell

Ron and Lauren Davis

Barbara Eldredge

Melissa Elstein and Eric Katzman

Caroline Erisman

M Peter Feer

Melinda Fine and Zachary Lockman

Karen Freedman and Roger Weisberg

Patty Gillette and Steve Norman

Herbert Glantz

Google Inc.

Gail Gordon

Kataryna Gray

Ted Kaminer and Hillary Kahn

Robert S Karp

Marshall King and Janine Ley-King

Lisa Landau

David Lever

Jennifer Lynch and Edmond FitzGerald

Laura Ma

Richard W. Mark and Maura L. Harway

Gail and Marshall Miller

Theresa Moser

Stephanie Mudick

Phyllis Richter and Malcolm Ross

Jean Roiphe

Jill and Stephen Saravay

Abigail Schlaff

Gordon Schnell

Ellen Schoninger and Efraim Grinberg

Robert Serio

Judith Steinberg

Corey Stone

Laura Vasaturo and Eric Kolodner

Mary Weiner

Sarah Williams and Andrew Kimball

Michael and Linda Winicki

Marjorie Zeidner

Mark Zimet and Amy Sirot

Rita Zimmer


There are many ways to support LIFT. Your gift today helps parents and caregivers resolve legal matters critical to the financial stability and emotional wellbeing of children and families.


Make a secure online donation today and/or a sustaining monthly gift to provide reliable support via credit card, PayPal, or ACH transfer to support equal access to justice for New York families.

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Annual Gala

Join us on June 8th at Tribeca Rooftop to celebrate our inspiring honorees and extraordinary LIFT community as we come together for a long-awaited, in person, and memorable evening to support our important mission.


Making a stock donation is an impactful way to support LIFT and ensure access to justice for children and families. Please call 646-455-1776 for more information.

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Give by check, money order, or download the form below and send it with your credit card information.

Give in Honor
or Memory 

Whether it’s a tribute to the memory of a loved one or in celebration of a special occasion, your gift is a thoughtful way to honor others while supporting our mission.

Gabriella Nawi, Chair

Gabi is a Senior Vice President, Personal Insurance Distribution & Strategy at Travelers Insurance. She has a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Abigail Sheehan Davis, Vice Chair 

Abby is a Partner  at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She holds a J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. Abby has been recognized repeatedly for her outstanding commitment to pro bono work, particularly her dedication to asylum work for the LGBTQ community. 

Robert Schiffer, Vice Chair 

Rob is a Managing Director of the Investments Group at SL Green Realty Corp., New York City’s largest commercial landlord. He holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Cornell University.

Rebecca J. Simmons, Treasurer 

Rebecca is a Partner in Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s Corporate and Finance Group and Financial Services Group.  She received her A.B. from Harvard University and earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Nancy Hart, Secretary 

Nancy is a Partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She graduated magna cum laude from Boston College Law School in 2003 and was elected to the Order of the Coif. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Vassar College in 1998.

Leslie Abbey 

Leslie is the CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen. She is the former Chief Operating Officer at Covenant House New York, which has been at the vanguard of providing housing to homeless youth and young adult populations for more than 45 years. Leslie received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and her B.A. with Honors from Swarthmore College. She is a co-founder of LIFT.

Ellie Becker 

Ellie is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in child development, with a focus on developmental issues including trauma and involvement with the child welfare system. She holds a Master of Social Work from NYU and a Master of Arts in Child Development from Sarah Lawrence College. 

Corey M. Chambliss 

Corey is the Director of Policy Communications at Meta, specializing in corporate, crisis and financial communications as well as public affairs. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Government from NYU.

Philip H. Cohen 

Phil is a Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, LLP where he is a member of the Firm’s litigation practice and is Co-Chair of the Firm’s National eDiscovery & eRetention Practice Group. He received his B.A. from Tufts University and his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law – Newark.

Wendy Dessy 

Wendy is the Associate Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Proskauer. She oversees all aspects of employee engagement, board service and corporate social responsibility for the Firm.

Valerie Farkas 

Valerie is a Senior Counsel at Bloomberg L.P. serving as the Head of Legal for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Valerie is also the founder and emeritus chair of the Bloomberg Legal Department’s award-winning pro bono program. She holds a J.D. from The George Washing University Law School and a B.A. from Bates College.

Ria Harracksingh 

Ria is a Program Manager in Business Planning and Operations at Meta. She leads internal go to market for pricing launches across various non-Ads products. Currently she is working with the WhatsApp Business API, and has previously supported Workplace from Facebook. She is originally from Trinidad and holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and MBA from Yale University. Prior to Facebook, she worked in Mergers & Acquisitions at PepsiCo, followed by 2 years in Client Success and Business Development at a fintech startup called Rapid Ratings.

Anna Klein 

Anna is a Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs at The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC). She was part of the team that developed the Company’s first full-length Corporate Responsibility report.

Jane Koltsova 

Jane is a Senior Director, Global Revenue Controller at PagerDuty. She is the former Director of Revenue for Salesforce where she led the US and Canada Revenue Recognition team, in working with counterparts in sales, operations, and legal to ensure proper revenue recognition on enterprise-level contracts, primarily with financial services and insurance customers. Jane received her B.S. in Accounting and M.Acc. from Case Western Reserve University.

Nonny Onyekweli 

Nonny is a Trial Attorney at the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. She formerly served as the Director of Criminal Justice at the National Urban League where she developed and implemented racial, social, and criminal justice reform-related campaigns. Prior to the League, she was a litigation attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. She served as the co-chair for the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Committee and worked at the Legal Aid Society as an immigration public defender. She was a fellow at NYU Law’s Policing Project and a member of the Cleveland Police Federal Monitoring Team. Nonny is a writer and focuses on gender, race, and intersectionality. She holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and B.S. from the University of Maryland.

Sheri Sandler 

Sheri has worked for The Brooklyn Museum, The Cooper Hewitt Museum Smithsonian Institution and Architectural Digest. She received a BBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and an MA in the History of Decorative Arts and Design from the Cooper Hewitt New School Parsons School of Design. She was a founding board member of: The Jewish Women’s Foundation, The Sister Fund, The New York Women’s Foundation and The American Friends of the JCC of Krakow. Sheri served on the board of The Retreat and currently serves on the boards of Broadway Housing Communities Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, The Board of Advisors for The Brooklyn Museum, and The Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy.

William C. Silverman 

Bill is a Partner at Proskauer Rose LLP where he is head of the firm’s pro bono program. Before entering private practice, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he led criminal investigations, conducted trials and handled Second Circuit appeals. Bill received his B.A. from Brown University and his J.D. from New York University.

Susan Warren

Susan is a community volunteer. She worked in Advertising at NW Ayer and AC&R (a subsidiary of Bates) and in Public Relations at Ruder Finn. She attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and graduated with a BA from Finch College in New York City. Susan has volunteered at The Lighthouse Guild for the Blind and tutored at New York Center for Children/NYCC. Helping children and families is meaningful to Susan as her daughter Lisa was devoted to improving lives of children and families. Lisa passed away from Hodgkins Lymphoma and was unable to fulfill her dream. Continuing this mission is a legacy to Lisa.

Lisa Zeiderman, Community Volunteer 

Lisa is Managing Partner at Miller Zeiderman LLP. A Matrimonial Attorney, CFL and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst there, she handles complex financial and custody divorce matters for high-net-worth individuals.  She received her J.D. from Fordham University. Lisa is a member of the Legislative Committee of the Family Law Section for the New York State Bar Association and sits on the executive board of the Justice Brandeis Law Society. Lisa also serves on the Executive Board of Savvy Ladies, Inc., a 501(c) 3 organization that provides free education and resources to help women achieve their financial independence.