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Ester R. Fuchs
Ester R. Fuchs is Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science and Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She served as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from 2001 to 2005. Professor Fuchs was chair of the Urban Studies Program at Barnard and Columbia Colleges and founding director of the Columbia University Center for Urban Research and Policy. Professor Fuchs recently received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Queens College; Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Award for Outstanding Teaching; and New York City's Excellence in Technology Award for Best IT Collaboration among Agencies for Access New York.
Currently, Professor Fuchs serves as Director of the WhosOnTheBallot.org, an online voter engagement initiative. Whosontheballot.org website is designed to improve voter turnout through a single online portal that provides easy access to customized sample ballots, polling place locations, and candidate information. It is being piloted in New York City and its technology and outreach strategy will be made available nationwide and globally.
While at City Hall, Professor Fuchs coordinated three significant mayoral initiatives: the restructuring the City’s delivery of Out-of-School Time (OST) programs to children, youth, and families; the Integrated Human Services System Project (Access New York) to streamline the screening and eligibility determination processes, case management, and policy development and planning functions within and across the 13 human services agencies through the use of technology; and the merger of the Department of Employment with the Department of Small Business Services to align the City’s workforce development programs with the needs of the business community.
Professor Fuchs was the first woman to serve as chair of the NYC Charter Revision Commission in 2005. She currently serves on the NYC Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Board, NYC Economic Opportunity Commission, the NYC Workforce Investment Board, the NYC Commission on Women’s Issues, and the Advisory Board for NYC’s Out-of-School Time Initiative. She is appointed to the Committee on Economic Inclusion of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and is a member of the boards of the Fund for the City of New York, the Citizens Union, the Museum at Eldridge Street, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the International Board of the Hebrew University Rothberg School.
Since 2007, Professor Fuchs has organized and moderated annual international summits sponsored by the Office of the Mayor of New York and New York City Global Partners. The conference brings together mayoral delegations from cities around the world to discuss important urban policy issues, learn from one another, and share best practices. Most recently, Prof. Fuchs coordinated the “Business Innovations and Entrepreneurship Summit,” (November, 2011) and the “Public Integrity: Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Summit,” (June, 2012). In September 2012, Prof. Fuchs published Innovative Programs in Workforce Development: The UMEZ Career Opportunities in Health Care (COH) Program, a case study that documents an unprecedented strategy for partnering with community-based organizations to break the cycle of chronic unemployment that affects many individuals in the distressed communities of Upper Manhattan.
Professor Fuchs is the author of Mayors and Money: Fiscal Policy in New York and Chicago and has done research and written articles on New York City politics and policy, global cities, neighborhood economic development, workforce development, education and after-school policy, environmental and economic sustainability, social policy, political participation in the Moslem community, the women’s vote, civic engagement, political parties and elections. Professor Fuchs has been the recipient of many grants including the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Wallace Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Greater London Enterprise, the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Health and Human Service Employees Union AFL-CIO, the U.S. Department of Housing, and Urban Development and Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. She has consulted for business and governments and on numerous political campaigns. She is a frequent political commentator in print, broadcast and new media and lectures internationally on American politics and policy. She received a B.A. from Queens College, CUNY; an M.A. from Brown University; and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago.