Our Story

Why We Exist

1
average number of students assigned to each high school guidance counselor in NYC
0
average number of students assigned to each high school guidance counselor nationally
0 %
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

James Gao

Megavista Capital

Aravind Mohan, Transfer Pricing & Value Chain Transformation Director · PwC, FI board member

Aravind Mohan

PwC

Andrew Morris

Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP

​Kristin Ohnstad

Oxeon Partners
Board Co-Chair

Joel Perelmuth

Perelmuth & Associates

Rayner Ramirez

Tilt Shift Media

Tom Rochowicz

Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School ex-officio

Kimani Rogers

JPMorgan Chase

Jennifer Negron

Pinkerton Foundation
Board Co-Chair

Jonathan Vazcones

M&T Bank
Board Chair

Yemisi Yoosuf

Citadel

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

Youth Environmental Program Manager

Génesis Abreu is a genderqueer person of color with Mayan and Nahuat Pipil Indigenous roots and Salvadoran and Dominican ancestry. They were raised and still live in occupied Shorakapok located in Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) in Lenapehoking, the stolen and unceded traditional lands of the Lenni Lenape people. Today, occupied Shorakapok is referred to as Inwood and Washington Heights in northern Manhattan.

Génesis is a community organizer, educator, and researcher whose work centers on Indigenous and Black self-determination rooted in practices of gender, language, climate, and environmental justice.

They have gained vast experience in community organizing and outreach, youth environmental justice education, and community participatory research, through their work with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, North Brooklyn Neighbors, and the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Assessment Initiative. In 2015, Génesis was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Cusco, Peru, where they worked alongside Quechua Indigenous farmers from the Potato Park to document the cultural, environmental, and economic implications of the climate crisis on potato production.

Génesis has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Marist College and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from The New School.

Rocco Rosselli

he/him

Lead College Counselor

Rocco Rosselli, a New York native, has been supporting predominately first-generation, low-income, students of color from underserved and underrepresented communities to and through college for over 5 years. After graduating from the University at Albany (SUNY) with a B.A. in Sociology, Rocco earned his Ed.M. in School Counseling from Hunter College. Prior to joining Friends of WHEELS, Rocco worked at East Harlem Tutorial Prep and Harlem Village Academy, aiding students through the college application process and helping them find their best post-secondary fit. At the foundation of his philosophy to college counseling is establishing strong relationships with students and families. That relationship is essential to empower all students to find their best fit college, and narrow the gap in our country that has led to a huge disparity in college attainment between students from the highest income quartile and those in the lowest. Rocco believes that the college admissions process can be viewed as not just a means to an end, but rather a learning opportunity that can help students find their voice. It is Rocco’s role as a college counselor is to ensure that all students have access to superior college counseling. We need to reach, inspire, and empower every student, regardless of background.

Lisa LoFaso

she/her

Director of Postsecondary Pathways

Lisa joins the WHEELS team with deep experience in developing youth leadership, program management, and college access and success. After receiving her Masters in Social Work from Boston University, where she interned at a college access program in Brookline, MA, she worked in college access and youth mentoring at iMentor and then spent five years running the Franklin K. Lane Student Success Center with Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. A first generation college student herself, her professional mission is to build equity for all students in getting to and through college. Lisa is a proud Manhattan College alumnae, a NYC marathoner, an avid sports and comic book fan. She is eager to use her experience to design and implement quality postsecondary programming for the alumni of WHEELS.

Alejandro Lázaro

he/him

Alumni Counselor

Alejandro is a first-generation college student who struggled to find his career path during college. With five years of experience as an academic advisor for City College’s College Now program, he is excited to guide alumni on their postsecondary journeys. Alejandro earned a BA in Sociology from the City College of New York and an MA  in Youth Studies from CUNY’s School of Professional Studies.

Joice Kim

she/her

Youth Development Enrichment Coordinator

Joice Kim is a Princeton 55 Fellow who serves as the Youth Development Enrichment Coordinator. As a Questbridge Scholar and recent college graduate, she brings a passion for youth development and enrichment as a strategy to boost college and career possibilities, as well as youth leadership. She approaches her work through a relationship-based and community-centered lens. She is really excited to work and live in the vibrant community of Washington Heights.

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 Pena, Career Counselor

Raviely Pena

she/her

Career Counselor

Raviely Pena serves Futures Ignite as a Career Counselor. She is a proud Dominican, Bronx girl and a recent MSW graduate of Lehman College. She has extensive experience working with high school students. Her goal is to become a licensed social worker and run an agency and/or program. She is excited to expand her work with Futures Ignite in her new position 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.