Suffolk County, NY - June 19, 2015 - The Fresh Air Fund announced on June 15, 2015 that Fatima A. Shama would succeed Jenny Morgenthau as Executive Director of The Fund, effective July 15, 2015.
William P. Lauder, Chairman of The Fund's Board, thanked Jenny Morgenthau for her years of commitment to The Fund, saying, "During her 32-year tenure Jenny continually strengthened The Fund’s mission and expanded its reach and influence to thousands of New York City children. Jenny leaves some very big shoes to fill, and she will be sorely missed.” In welcoming Ms. Shama, Mr. Lauder stated, “We look forward to the enthusiasm, deep expertise and commitment to community that Fatima will bring to this role.”
Ms. Shama is currently Vice President of Strategic Development and External Affairs at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. Prior to this role, Ms. Shama was the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, a position she held for almost four-and-a-half years. As part of Ms. Shama’s tremendous work as Commissioner, she created Blueprints for Immigrant Integration, an intricate how-to guide put together to help other cities around the world enhance their local immigrant integration efforts through shared successful practices and highlight the immense positive impact immigrants can have on their communities. Prior to that, she served in various positions in Mayor Bloomberg’s administration involving policy roles within education, healthcare and literacy.
“Fatima is deeply committed to public service, and she excelled at every position she held over her eight years in our administration," said Michael R. Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City. "Whether she was working to improve healthcare access for limited English proficient New Yorkers, or to increase parental engagement in our schools, or to develop new ways to serve immigrant New Yorkers - and the programs she developed as our Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs became a national model - she never stopped thinking of how to better the lives of New Yorkers. The Fresh Air Fund is lucky to have Fatima as its new Executive Director.”
Ms. Shama said, "I am grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization that has had such a positive impact on generations of New York City children from low-income communities. As a lifelong New Yorker, I've long admired The Fund’s dynamic work and its committed board, and I look forward to advancing The Fresh Air Fund’s mission of providing unforgettable experiences that expand the development, outlook and imagination of children throughout our City.”
John Irwin, President of The Fund’s Board and a member of the search committee said, “We believe Fatima will continue and expand the important work of The Fund, particularly its year-round educational and career programs. Fatima has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to helping the populations served by The Fresh Air Fund and understands how to design programs to meet the challenges they face.”
“Working with Fatima I learned first-hand that when it comes to New York City’s kids, Fatima is a fierce advocate and creative thinker for opportunities and enhancing the lives of the kids and families in our City,” said Dennis Walcott, former Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education, and former Deputy Mayor for the City of New York.
Board member and member of the search committee, David Perpich said, “The Fresh Air Fund has been helping change lives for close to 140 years and with Fatima’s unique blend of leadership, vision and deep understanding of New York City’s communities, we believe she will help position the organization for another 140 years of impact. I am excited to be part of the organization as Fatima leads us forward.”
Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Ms. Shama was the Executive Director of the Greater Brooklyn Health Coalition. Ms. Shama earned a BA from Binghamton University and a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs Executive Program. Born and raised in the Bronx, Ms. Shama is the daughter of a Brazilian mother and a Palestinian father, and speaks six languages.
About The Fresh Air Fund
THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-profit-agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Close to 9,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. Each summer, nearly 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attend five Fresh Air camps in the summer on a 2,300 acre site in Fishkill, New York. Close to 2,000 young people participate in year-round educational programs at camp and in New York City. For more information, please visit www.freshair.org.