Our Story

WHY WE EXIST

333

average number of students assigned to each high school guidance counselor in NYC

482

average number of students assigned to each high school guidance counselor nationally

33%

college graduation rate for first generation students

Futures Ignite works in New York City’s racially and economically segregated public school system to advance a whole-school model of programming, counseling, and advocacy to equip BIPOC students to direct their college and career futures. We’re committed to supporting all students—regardless of academic performance—to rise into their leadership potential.

Vision

Futures Ignite envisions equitable preK–college and career opportunities that propel all youth to thrive in postsecondary life and strengthen our communities.


Mission

We amplify youth and community power by inspiring, guiding, and advocating for youth to determine their college, career, and leadership futures.

CORE VALUES

Educational Equity

We work to change the educational inequities in the NYC public school system, which is rooted in systemic racial and socioeconomic segregation.

Racial Justice

We aim to dismantle the structural racism that permeates every part of our society in order to build a just and equitable future in which all students can reach their full potential.

Youth Leadership

We encourage young people to step into their leadership potential and ensure their voices are included in the decisions that affect their communities.

Climate Justice

We strive to combat the climate crisis through student-led initiatives to create greener neighborhoods, which directly impact community health and student outcomes. 

Community

We recognize the impact community health and wellness has on student outcomes, and we work to create and sustain mutually beneficial partnerships to ensure both communities and our students thrive. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Stephanie Boarden

Philanthropy New York

​Kristin Ohnstad

Oxeon Partners
Board Co-Chair

Kimani Rogers

JPMorgan Chase

Yemisi Yoosuf

Citadel

James Gao

Megavista Capital

Joel Perelmuth

Perelmuth & Associates

Jennifer Negron

Pinkerton Foundation
Board Co-Chair

Aravind Mohan

PwC

Agnes Mentre

Tilt Shift Media

Jaimin Shah

Andrew Morris

Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP

Tom Rochowicz

Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School ex-officio

Jonathan Vazcones

M&T Bank
Board Chair

STAFF

Molly Delano

she/her

Executive Director

Molly is an educator, youth advocate and nonprofit manager. Molly’s background includes leadership positions at Global Kids, Hostos Community College, and the YMCA of Greater NY. In addition, she has worked as a consultant for a range of youth organizations, developing curriculum and providing training for educators. Molly’s expertise includes creating and leading innovative youth leadership programs, facilitating community partnerships to strengthen college access and persistence with first generation students and facilitating staff professional development and capacity building initiatives. Most recently, Molly was the Director of Government Initiatives and Special Projects at the Youth Development Institute. Molly holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MPA, with a concentration in public policy, from the Baruch School of Public Affairs, where she was a United Way Senior Fellow, and nonprofit leadership credentials from the Columbia Business School.

Génesis Abreu

they/them

Leadership and Enrichment Manager

Génesis Abreu (they/them) is a nonbinary person with Mayan and Nahuat Indigenous roots and Salvadoran and Dominican ancestry. They are from and still live in Inwood/Washington Heights. As the Leadership and Enrichment Manager, Génesis is helping to grow youth enrichment, leadership, and community programming through cross-sectoral partnerships and environmental justice youth education and leadership. They have gained vast experience in community organizing and outreach, environmental justice education and policy, and community participatory research, through their work with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, North Brooklyn Neighbors, The NYS Children’s Environmental Health Centers, and the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment Initiative. Génesis is a 2015-2016 Fulbright Recipient and holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Marist College and an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School.

Rocco Rosselli

he/him

Postsecondary Pathways Manager

Rocco Rosselli (he/him), a New York native; is the Postsecondary Pathways Manager at Futures Ignite, aiding students through their postsecondary process and helping them find their best post-secondary fit. For almost 10 years he has been supporting predominately first-generation, low-income students who have experienced extreme educational inequities. Prior to joining Futures Ignite, Rocco worked at East Harlem Tutorial Program and Harlem Village Academies. At the foundation of his counseling philosophy is establishing strong relationships with students and families. That relationship is essential to empower all students to find their best pathway. Rocco has also served on the Board of Directors for CACNY, The College Access Consortium of New York, Inc. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University at Albany and earned his Ed.M. in School Counseling from Hunter College.

Alejandro Lázaro

he/him

Alumni Manager

Alejandro “Alex” is a first generation Mexican migrant that resides in the Inwood/Washington Heights neightbohood. Alex has been involved in college access since high school; as a former early college student, he was exposed to the difficult transition from high school to college. Although he had a tough time figuring out what to do as a professional career, he eventually found out that he wanted to guide young adults in finding their Post Secondary path. He earned a Sociology degree from The City College of New York where he later got hired as an Academic Advisor for the College Now program. With the drive of still wanting to learn and help, he then earned a Masters degree in Youth Studies from CUNY’s School of Professional Studies. Today, as Futures Ignite’s Alumni Counelor, he is still driven and motivated to service the young people he works with by mentoring and helping with the transition from high school to college or any other Propathway they choose.

Taesha Martinez

she/her

College Counselor

Taesha brings a wealth of experience in the classroom to her role as College Counselor. Taesha went into teaching, aiding to bridge the academic achievement gap in NYC schools. Between her experience in the non-profit sector and public schools, Taesha has developed a strong knack for writing and revising hundreds of diverse papers including resumes and cover letters, personal statements, and applications. She graduated from the University at Albany with a BA in English and is currently pursuing her MA in School Counseling at New York University.

Raviely Peña

she/her

Career Counselor

Raviely Pena (she/her) is a proud Dominican, Bronx girl and a first generation college graduate. Received a Masters in Social Work from Lehman College. She has extensive experience working with high school students and non-profit organizations. Her goal is to become a Licensed social worker and build a holistic wellness center. She is excited to expand her work with Futures Ignite as a Career Counselor and grow within the organization. We are identifying additional Work Based Learning business and organizational partners, so please reach out to Raviely if you’re interested in learning more raviely.pena@futuresignite.org.

Janell Bartley

she/her

Director of Operations and Administration

Janell Bartley (she/her) is a first-generation college student and proud Afro-Latina from Panama raised in Brooklyn, New York with over 20 years of non-profit experience in mentoring and after-school enrichment programs. Throughout her career, she has received numerous promotions in recognition of top performance, while playing an integral role in holding organizations accountable to their values and mission. As the Director of Operations, her goal is to always take a holistic approach in dynamic ways to make positive change while promoting creativity, respect, and inclusion as an advocate and resource for all staff. Janell is passionate about helping young adults from underprivileged communities set goals and help them create a plan around any roadblocks so they may realize their dreams. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MBA with a concentration in Nonprofit Leadership from New England College.

Kimona Dussard

she/her

Development and Communications Manager

Kimona (She/Her) is a proud first generation Jamaican-american. Raised in New Jersey, she fell in love with New York during her time at Fordham University, recieving a bachelors degree in political science followed by a Masters in Ethics and Society. Kimona joins the Futures Ignite team with years of fundraising and communications expereince, and a passion for supporting youth to shape the future they deserve. As Development and Communications Manager, Kimona is eager to deepen community connections and see FUtures Ignite grow to support students across northern manhattan.

Thalía Flores Perez

she/her/they/them

Lead Environmental Coordinator

Thalía Flores Perez (she/her/they/them) serves Futures Ignite as the Lead Environmental Coordinator. As a Latinx/Xicanx New Yorker raised in Washington Heights and the Bronx, they recognized the environmental and educational inequities that communities of color – especially Black and Brown communities – face while living in NYC. This led them to attend and pursue a degree in Environmental Studies, Public Policy, and Cultural Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, as a first-generation student with a background focused on urban ecological agriculture and environmental justice. They interned as a Farm Manager Assistant at the Hilltop Urban Gardens, a community-based organization in Tacoma, Washington (Puyallup). Thalía co-supported and organized produce for the Hilltop community and supported Black and Indigenous youth organizing. They returned home to New York City to provide culturally relevant environmental education through the Horticultural Society of New York and Riverdale Neighborhood House. Thalía is excited to work with students at WHEELS and provide youth-led support on the Clean Air Green Corridor project for the well-being of WHEELS and the greater Washington Heights Community and environment. They enjoy hiking, making art, and traveling in their free time.

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