BRONX, NEW YORK MARCH 10, 2015 – The Hunts Point Alliance for Children (HPAC) announced that as of January 1, 2016 Co-Founder Maryann Hedaa has stepped down as President of HPAC to lead Makers Point, a Bronx-based nonprofit in the Hunts Point community. Jill Roche who has been an integral part of HPAC for more than 6 years, will succeed Hedaa as Executive Director. HPAC Co-Founder Griselle Baret has been named Deputy Director and will lead school and community programming.
Didier Malaquin, Co-Chair of the Hunts Point Alliance for Children’s Board stated: “All of us at HPAC, especially the families and children we serve, are exceedingly grateful for the contributions that Maryann has made – and will continue to make – to Hunts Point. We are delighted that she will continue to be a part of our community and look forward to working with her and Makers Point.”
“Jill brings years of experience to her new role and a deep understanding of our community,” said Malaquin. “We look forward to her leadership as HPAC begins a formal strategic planning process to ensure its lasting impact on the children and families of Hunts Point.”
Upon announcing Baret’s appointment, Roche said: “Griselle’s energetic commitment to and love of Hunts Points’ children is unwavering and inspiring. She will walk the extra mile for those she serves.”
Hedaa and Baret founded HPAC in 2007 with the goal of serving the children in this socially isolated, largely ignored peninsula by encouraging schools and community based organizations to work together more effectively. Through seven schools and nine community-based organizations, all Hunts Point children are connected to significant support services. The Hunts Point Alliance for Children focuses on providing education opportunities and creating pathways to high school graduation and college and careers. Fully ten percent of the community’s 3,000 children are involved in direct HPAC Programming.
Under Hedaa’s leadership, the Hunts Point Alliance for Children received funding from Goldman Sachs Gives in conjunction with Jumpstart, a nationally recognized early literacy leader. The initiative allowed Jumpstart to provide evidence-based programming in the neighborhood’s preschool classrooms pilot community literacy work to reach Hunts Point youngest learners.
Hedaa will continue to champion Hunts Point through a newly organized non-profit, Makers Point, which seeks to identify national models of local economic development that are replicable with existing partners and other local leaders. Makers Point’s goal is to ensure that as Hunts Point evolves, the families and children that live here benefit from the influx of new capital investment and job creation.
“I am committed to creating a path of entrepreneurial leadership for Hunts Point’s 16-25 year olds,” said Hedaa. “Through research of successful neighborhoods, planning and community engagement, we can ensure Hunts Point’s future includes a process of ‘gentle-fication’ rather than ‘gentrification.’”
Hedaa and Makers Point Co-Founder Lilly Icikson will work in partnership with local residents, religious leaders, community organizers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, business people and politicians to answer the following question: How can we make Hunts Point a place of economic opportunity— where neighbors can gather and participate fully in the economic, social and cultural life of the community?
Hedaa’s commitment to the families and children of Hunts Point extends back fifteen years. In 2003, she founded St. Ignatius Middle School for Girls, and later became Head of School for St Ignatius Middle School for Boys and Girls. She founded the Hunts Point Alliance for Children in 2007.
To learn more about Makers Point, please contact Lilly Icikson at MakersPointBX@gmail.com.