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Lisette Nieves

College: Brooklyn College
Awards: Rhodes Scholarship, 1992; Truman Scholarship, 1991

Community Minded

Lisette Nieves (Brooklyn College, B.A. in philosophy and political science, ’91) was a Truman Scholar and a 1992 Rhodes Scholar, the first Puerto Rican to receive that prestigious award. At Oxford University, she used the Rhodes for a second B.A. and an M.A. in politics and philosophy (1994). She earned a master’s in public administration from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (2001); received an Aspen Pahara Fellowship to reimagine public education (2014); and earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania (2016).

She chairs the board of the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College Foundation, which supports the college through philanthropic fundraising.

Nieves is a founding partner at Lingo Ventures, which consults with nonprofit and public sector organizations on growth, talent recruitment/retention, and change management. She was the Belle Zeller Distinguished Visiting Professor in Public Policy at Brooklyn College for two years, when she also launched a pilot workforce and community college partnership in Miami and Philadelphia. She was the founding executive director of Year Up NY, which provides young urban adults with the skills, experience and support that can move them into higher education and professional careers; over five years, she grew the organization from a $250,000 seed grant to a $6 million operation with 40 staff serving more than 250 young adults annually.

She was chief of staff at New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development and worked at the federal level at the Corporation for National Service, where she helped launch and administer the AmeriCorps program, among her government posts. She has consulted with nonprofit organizations in strategic planning, program development and management. In 2008, the Robin Hood Foundation awarded her its Heroes Award.

Her board affiliations have included the Fund for the City of New York, Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School Advisory Council and Stand for Children. She also was a commissioner on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, where she cochaired the higher education subcommittee.