Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Executive Director
Ms. Grote has been a member of New York City’s public interest legal and social service communities for over a decade. Ms. Grote has led a number of diverse initiatives for organizations such as the Legal Aid Society and FoodChange. Since she started The Financial Clinic in 2006, Ms. Grote has led the creation of the nation’s first nonprofit financial development organizations that in only a few years accumulated over millions in new savings, reduced fees and canceled debt for its customers.
Prior to the Clinic, Ms. Grote was a senior labor market policy analyst with Public/Private Ventures, a national nonprofit research and policy organization. She has extensive experience in work supports and low-wage, low-skilled workers’ self- sufficiency issues. Among her publications, Unrealized Gains: How Workforce Development Organizations Can Put Money In the Pocket of Low-Wage Workers examines how nonprofit organizations address their constituents’ economic security within the fabric of their preexisting services. She received a B.A. from Rutgers University and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. In addition to “growing” the Clinic, Mae is also the mother of Izzabella, Stella and Ramona.
Rebecca Smith, Director of Strategic Initiative
Becky Smith, Director of Strategic Initiatives, leads The Financial Clinic’s Capacity Building services. She manages the cust mization and integration of the Clinic’s financial development framework providing training and technical assistance support to public sector and non-profit organizations nationally. She is a faculty member of NeighborWorks training, and has presented at various conferences including New York State Community Action Association’s Poverty Symposium and the Department of Health and Human Services Head Start’s Asset Summit. Ms. Smith joined the Clinic in 2008 as part of United Way of NYC’s MoneyUP Initiative to bring financial coaching and free tax preparation to working poor families, where she later ran a VITAsite. Since joining Clinic, Becky successfully led the establishment of the Clinic’s Financial Empowerment Center, with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment. She drew on her previous experience as a financial planner for the Ayco Company, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, where she provided counseling to corporate executives and their families through investment, tax, and estate planning advice. There she obtained her Series 7 and Series 66 licenses. Becky graduated with honors from Rutgers University where she earned her B.S. in Finance and B.A. in Communication. She has fallen in love with Haitian dance and Bikram, can’t live without ChapStick, craves chili dark chocolate, and wants to take up solo “jumping”aka skydiving.
Haidee Cabusora, Director of Policy and Advocacy
Ms. Cabusora is the Director of Services and joined the organization in 2007 to lead the Clinic’s tax work in the MoneyUP initiative. As an attorney, she worked on tax and employment issues including legal representation of customers during audit proceedings, tax debt management, and claiming unemployment benefits. She recently completed a three-year term as a member of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a federal advisory committee that identifies taxpayers’ issues and makes suggestions for improving Internal Revenue Service’s customer satisfaction and services, including its EITC subcommittee. Prior to joining the Clinic, she was the staff attorney and VITA site manager with FoodChange/Food Bank of NYC. At its Harlem site, she supervised the largest free tax preparation site in the country and continued to work in their legal Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. Ms. Cabusora began her legal career as an associate in the Tax Department of Hale and Dorr LLP (now WilmerHale LLP). She is a member of the New York and Massachusetts Bars. She holds a BA from Columbia College (1997) and a JD/LLM from Cornell Law School (2001). Her favorite things include Law & Order UK, the brush-back pitch and the New York Magazine Approval Matrix.
Eduardo Beltre, Director of Finance and Operations
Mr. Beltre joined the Clinic in June 2008 as an Office Coordinator to provide administrative support at the organizations main office, mainly due the Clinic being selected to run a Financial Empowerment Center pilot in Queens. Shortly after, Mr. Beltre went on to becoming the Office Manager, where he managed office assistants, monitoring all organizational expenses, by contract and programs among many other administrative tasks. In his new position, he manages all of the organizations’ contractual obligations, operating budgets, and cash flow. Prior to joining the Clinic Mr. Beltre was volunteering for a local religious community-based organization as a general manager, where he managed all bookkeeping and orchestrated all community outreach events, creating awareness of the multiple services that the organization provided. On his spare time Eddie likes to re-read the Wiley Not-for-Profit GAAP Manuel (for the three most recent years). Yet his true creativity comes to life when he writes how-to songs on how to fill out the 990 form, while eating Doritos.
Mauricio Garcia, Director of Services
Mr. Garcia joined the Clinic in March 2011 to lead The Fellowship Program’s scaling efforts and overall spectrum of activities including recruitment, administration, curriculum, and fund development. He came to the Clinic by way of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), where he oversaw the programmatic operations for an annual corps of 240 AmeriCorps members nationwide and coordinated performance measurement, program reporting and grant administration. Previously at LISC, Mr. Garcia served as Grants Manager, overseeing $4 million in grants and contracts, representing a diverse portfolio of national and local initiatives, including community safety, affordable housing, income and wealth, and youth education. He began his career in the for-profit sector, most recently working in the Trade Services Group at J.P. Morgan (formerly J.P. Morgan Chase Vastera). Mr. Garcia currently sits on the board of advisors of the DIY Business Association, a community- building organization that empowers, educates, and connects creative small businesses and freelancers. He received a BS in Marketing from Oakland University and an MPA in Nonprofit Administration and Policy from the City University of New York’s Baruch College. Outside of work, Mr. Garcia revels in eating and writing about fish tacos, talking Detroit, and trying to be like Mike on the basketball court.
Stefan Hench, Senior Financial Coach
Mr. Hench joined the Clinic in 2010 and provides financial coaching services as part of NYC’s Queens Financial Empowerment Center team. He studied at University of Virginia where he received a BA in Economics and East-Asian Studies. In his spare time, Mr. Hench enjoys swimming, playing with his cat, drinking dark beers, playing fantasy football, and reading the works of James Joyce. Mr. Hench’s proudest accomplishment is setting a world record by bench-pressing the most Clinic Toolkits (248) in his legendary pre-coaching “pump-up” routine. Ask him about it if you get the chance.
Katherine Reeves, Financial Coach
Ms. Reeves joined the Clinic in September 2010, after graduating from Lafayette College in 2010 with a degree in Economics and Business. In fall 2011, she begins a master’s program at Columbia University. Ms. Reeves has also worked in New Orleans and Honduras on economic development projects. In her spare time, she likes to explore the great restaurants in New York.
Karen Goodheart, Financial Coach
Ms. Goodheart joined the Clinic as a financial coach in August 2010 after serving as a Clinic volunteer preparing tax returns at a VITA site during tax season and as a mentor in the Fellowship Pilot Program. Ms. Goodheart transitioned into the nonprofit world a few years earlier, working first as a consultant at Growth Philanthropy Network, an intermediary for high- impact nonprofits that are ready to grow. Her prior career was in banking where she most recently served as a Managing Director of Citi Private Bank, working as a private banker to the legal community. Ms. Goodheart received her MBA from the University of Washington and her BA from the University of Wisconsin, and she is a Certified Financial Planner. In her spare time, Ms. Goodheart enjoys reading, exercising, cooking, the arts, and hanging out with her husband and son.
Jonathan Fox, Staff Attorney
Mr. Fox began at the Clinic as a consultant in August 2007 and helped develop the first version of the ToolKit. He came on board as a Clinic Staff Attorney in November 2009 and works on consumer debt collection defense, foreclosure defense, and bankruptcies for low-income New Yorkers. He also helps design and deliver many of the Clinic’s trainings. Prior to joining the Clinic, Mr. Fox worked as a Staff Attorney at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the City agency that enforces the City’s anti-discrimination laws. Before that, Mr. Fox taught law at a Brooklyn high school through the NYC Teaching Fellow Program. Jonathan received his JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law, graduating with high honors in 2005. In 2001, Mr. Fox graduated from Columbia University with a BA in history. In his spare time, Mr. Fox likes getting lost while trail-running in his Vibrams, exploring the variety of New York’s ethnic cuisines, and cooking for big and small groups of people.
Jerrah Crowder, Financial Coach
Mr. Crowder joined the Clinic in March 2013 and provides financial coaching services in four of NYC’s five boroughs after working as a securities licensed financial consultant for a global investment advisory firm. After serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in our nation’s capitol where he also earned a BA from Howard University, he returned to his native Newark, New Jersey and worked as a non-profit director and consultant to numerous community and civic groups. With both the financial services and not-for-profit worlds in his background, he continues to serve as a community resource in various capacities. In his spare time, Jerrah is an avid swimmer, a lover of day-trips, and somewhat of an aspiring chef.
Dory Charlesworth, Assistant Director of Services
Ms. Charlesworth joined the Clinic as a MoneyUP Financial Coach in April 2009. Prior to working with the Clinic, Ms. Charlesworth worked in an IDA program and also spent time in Mexico learning Spanish. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and in her spare time, she enjoys being a pizza connoisseur.
Ambika Panday, Assistant Director of Policy and Advocacy
Ms. Panday addresses clients’ legal financial problems, representing them in a debt collection, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and identity theft cases. In conjunction with her case work, she leads the Clinic’s local and state policy initiatives aimed at building the financial security of working poor New Yorkers. Prior to joining the Financial Clinic in February 2010, Ms. Panday was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), where she led an initiative to forge a medical-legal partnership between GBLS and Massachusetts General Hospital. Ms. Panday received her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law and holds a BA in History, with a Minor in French from Barnard College. Inspired by her colleague’s success in blogging about fish tacos, Ms. Panday is planning to launch her own cocktail-inspired blog this spring. Stay tuned for her thoughts on the City’s best bloody marys.