Jan 28 & Feb 7: The RDC Next 90 Speaker Series

The Next 90 Speaker Series is designed to help us think about how we might use social enterprise to address some of the big justice issues we face in our city, ranging from hunger and poor nutrition, lack of vocational opportunity, lack of affordable housing, mass incarceration, and health disparities that plague older New Yorkers in our community.

Upcoming Speakers:

Housing and Financial Sustainability
Thursday, January 28 | 6:00 p.m. | Online – Click Here to Register

Rev. Mark Elsdon & Rev. Erica Liu discuss Pres House, a combination church, campus ministry, and seven-story apartment building located near the heart of the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus that provides student housing while also generating funds to support the ministry.

Rev. Mark Elsdon is the Executive Director and Co-Pastor At Pres House, a faith-based non-profit serving students at the University of Wisconsin – MadisonIn fifteen years of executive leadership at Pres House Mark led major programmatic, financial, and organizational growth, and transformed a dormant non-profit into a strong, vibrant, multi-million dollar organization. The revitalization of Pres House and development of the Pres House Apartments has been featured more than 30 times in national and local print and television media including CBS Nightly News with Katie Couric and the New York Times. Mark is also the founder and owner of Elsdon Strategic Consulting. In that capacity he assists nonprofit and faith-based organizations with strategic planning, business planning and revenue generation, fundraising, governance, board development, and more. He has written and taught on non-profit and entrepreneurial leadership for Princeton Theological Seminary, the national Presbyterian NEXT Church Conference, Madison Non-Profit Day, and for other gatherings and organizations. Mark provided significant input and consulting on the Roadmap that Matryoshka Haus put together for The Riverside Church in 2019. Mark serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Working Capital for Community Needs, a Madison-based impact investing fund that provides micro-finance funding to the working poor in Latin America. He has been funded by the Louisville Institute to write on impact investing with a particular focus on exploring how church-owned investment assets and property can be put to work for mission impact in the world. Mark has a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin School of Business. Mark is married to Rev. Erica Liu and they have two kids together.

Rev. Erica Liu

Rev. Erica Liu has served as Co-­Pastor of Pres House, a Presbyterian campus ministry at the University of Wisconsin-­Madison, since 2004. She was called to rebirth the historic campus ministry and develop a new, sustainable ministry model that today includes a unique housing experience for 250 students. Erica is widely credited for having revitalized Pres House and its campus ministries which includes innovative, intentional residential communities for university students. She is also part of the leadership team launching GatherX, a new ministry to young professionals in downtown Madison. Rev. Liu has a BA in Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and she is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA. She is a leader in young adult ministry and teaches regularly at national conferences. She is currently serving as the President of the University Religious Workers of UW-­Madison and the Vice-President of the Board of Trustees at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.

Purpose Driven Ministry in Practice: A Conversation with Rev. Patrick O’Connor
Sunday, February 7 | 1:00 p.m. | Online – Click Here to Register

Rev. Patrick Hugh O’Connor is the lead pastor and chief visionary of the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, a multicultural, purpose driven congregation in Jamaica, Queens, New York. He has served this congregation since 1992. Rev. Patrick received his formal education from Munro College, the University of the West Indies, the United Theological College of the West Indies, Yale University Divinity School and Columbia University. Patrick is also is a graduate of the Columbia Business School, Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, Executive Level Program and the Beeson Institute for Advanced Church Leadership offered by Asbury Theological Seminary. Reverend O’Connor is passionate about community engagement and the development of people and commits himself to programs which have that vision. Patrick is married to Marcia and they have two children, Ashley and Zachary.

Previously in the Series:

Faith & Environmental Sustainability 
December 3 | Click Here to Watch

Peggy Shepard, executive director of Harlem’s WEACT, Mary Nelson founder of Life, Carl Anthony and Dr. Paloma Pavel, co-directors of the Breakthrough Communities Project discuss how we achieve environmental sustainability.

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all. She serves on the Executive Committee of the National Black Environmental Justice Network and the Board of Advisors of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and was the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mary Nelson is President Emeritus of Bethel New Life a faith rooted community development corporation, where she served for 26 years. Bethel pioneered in creative community based efforts to build healthier, sustainable and equitable communities on Chicago’s west side. Some of the most notable projects include the adaptive re-use of a closed down inner city hospital, and a smart, green, mixed use commercial center at a transit stop and creating social enterprises based on the skills and strengths of the community. The Bethel efforts are examples of ABCD in action. She still lives, works and worships in the same low income African American community on Chicago’s west side. Mary actively participates in city-wide, national policy advocacy efforts. Mary seeks to be faithful to God’s call to the work of peace, community and justice.

Carl C. Anthony is revered as a social and environmental justice leader. He was the founding director of Urban Habitat, one of the country’s first environmental justice organizations, known for pushing the mainstream environmental movement to confront issues of race and class. With colleague Luke Cole from the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, he edited and published the Race, Poverty and the Environment Journal , the first environmental justice periodical in the United States. Carl’s widely praised 2017 book is titled, “ The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race.”

Paloma Pavel, PhD, is President of Earth House Center. She is co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project and served as Director of Strategic Communications for the Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative at the Ford Foundation. Pavel’s academic background includes graduate study at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Harvard University. Her research at LSE addresses South African Economics in the pre- and post-Apartheid eras. Her dissertation (Organizational Culture and Leadership Development) was part of a five-year study by the Carnegie Foundation on the workplace in America, which culminated in the publication Good Work. She has taught at many Bay Area institutions, including the California Institute for Integral Studies, where she co-chaired the graduate degree program in Organizational Development.