Staff & Leadership Board

Leadership Board 2017-2018 (elected May 2017)














(Left to Right)
Pauli Cortes, Khaled Mohammed, Yu Hua Li, Marcelino Acevedo, Eliana Jaramillo, Dondi McKellar, Heleodora Vivar, Waleed Salama, Osama Khatlan, Sonia Perez, Hulya Sevendik, Mohammed Attia, Robert Swann, Xiao Juan Yu, Lei Bai


Sean Basinski, SVP’s Director, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown Law Center. Prior to law school, he built a pushcart and sold delicious burritos from the corner of 52nd Street and Park Avenue. He founded SVP in 2001 with a $15,000 grant from Yale Law School. Sean lives in a tenement walkup apartment in Manhattan, with a bathtub in the kitchen.

Cesar Boc, our Community Organizer, was born in Guatemala, and used to sell seasonal merchandise with his family as a child in Guatemala City. He grew up in Long Island, NY, and went to graduate school in Boston, MA to study Human Rights, Theology, and how best to organize communities for just change. Cesar loves to spend time in the outdoors, long distance running, and is an avid Barcelona soccer fan.
Maggie Russell-Ciardi is our Development Manager. Prior to joining SVP, Maggie served as the Executive Director of Tenants & Neighbors, a grassroots economic justice organization in New York. She earned her MA in Latin American Studies from NYU, focusing on democracy-building and human rights education. She plays the flute and practices ashtanga yoga every morning.

Bakary (Abou) Sanogo is our Americorp VISTA volunteer (generously provided through the New York Immigration Coalition) focusing on building SVP’s capacity to provide small business trainings. Born in Cote d’Ivoire, he has a BS in Political Science from Lehman College and formerly served as an intern at African Communities Together, the Harlem-based non-profit. He loves working out, cooking, and playing soccer.
Matthew Shapiro, our Senior Attorney, grew up in Miami, where as a boy he was once ticketed by the police for selling mangoes by the side of the road without a license. He joined SVP on a fellowship in 2009, after graduating from Cardozo School of Law and the University of Florida. Matt recently spent a year in SE Asia on a street food sabbatical with his wife, Shari.