Staff and Board

Advisory Board

Alicia Arana, Emily Goodman Binick, David DeVaughn, Elizabeth Fraser, Daniel H. Gallancy, Dana B. Wolfe (Chair)

Leadership Board 2014-2015

2014-15 board
Top row: Constantine Moratos, Osama Khatlan, Pauli Cortes, Heleadora Vivar, Dondi McKellar, Deved Thabet
Bottom Row: Waleed Salama, Marie Rose Goba, Constancio Gonzalez, Omar Mohammed, Derrick Wilmot
Not pictured: Lei Bai, Mohammed Attia, Hulya Sevindik


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.
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.
Basma headshotBasma Eid, our Organizer, is a native of Rochester, NY. She earned her masters in Labor, Social Movements and Development at the University of London. Before joining SVP, she worked in youth empowerment programs at a refugee camp in South Lebanon, and Zidishan, Inc., a microfinance organization in Dakar, Senegal. Among other things, she coaches youth soccer.
Elise Goldin, SVP’s Senior Organizer, spent three years organizing for affordable housing in New York City at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.  She is originally from Evanston, IL and graduated from Macalester College in 2010. She is passionate about bridging immigrant and labor justice. Elise performs improv, loves theater of the oppressed and talks a lot about her Midwest roots.

Jenn Smith is the Managing Director of the Vendy Awards and Vendy Plaza. She has a background in marketing and business development and has worked on a variety of retail and event-based culinary projects for organizations such as Glynwood, Astor Center and Murray’s Cheese. She lives in Brooklyn with her excitable Boston Terrier, Jack..
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.

Kai Zhang
is our Organizing Apprentice. Born in China, she is the daughter of immigrant doctors who sent money home by taking up restaurant, garment, and domestic work. She has organized with domestic workers, street-based sex workers, indigenous women weavers in Guatemala, and migrant massage parlor workers in Canada. Kai speaks Mandarin, Spanish, and French, and loves cooking, documentary film, feminist zine culture, and community art.

Volunteers & interns (2015)

Izzy Rosenbaum, Jasmine Vasandani, Jared Domingos, Adrian Rodrigues, Paul Pescovitz, Marie Hahn, Vicky Mao, Sarzah Yeasmin, Elizabeth Gerberich.

To be an volunteer/intern at SVP, just email us at !