A Farewell Message from Jess Wisneski

by | May 30, 2023

Dear colleagues and friends,

After almost 18 years at Citizen Action of New York and the Public Policy and Education Fund of New York, it is with such wonderful memories and deep gratitude that I write to let you know that June 16th will be my last day as Co-Executive Director. I can’t express how deeply my life has been touched, shaped, and changed by the incredible network of grassroots leaders, organizational leaders, candidates and electeds, and talented organizers that I’ve shared community with along the way.

Over the past 18 years, Citizen Action has been truly a place of leadership development for me.  My mentors taught me that a relentless nature and never-give-up attitude is really important. At the same time, bringing patience to build trusting, thoughtful relationships is essential. Attention to detail, while also keeping the North Star goal front and center, is necessary.

My journey at Citizen Action took me to every corner of the state.  I’ve had the opportunity to work on everything from health care for all to raising the minimum wage, justice system reform to paid family leave, and the fight for 15. I’ve seen the very worst of state politics and the very best – the times when people from all walks of life come together, demand what we need, and win. A very recent example is the public financing of elections – a more inclusive, multi-racial democracy in New York is within reach, beginning in 2024! This has been an 18+ year fight for me, and I couldn’t be more proud to have worked with so many others to see it come to fruition. 

My long-time colleague, Rosemary Rivera, will take the helm as Citizen Action and PPEF’s sole Executive Director on June 16th, 2023. Rosemary is a visionary leader, with fire in the belly for organizing, for building power and deep community with and for the people.  As Citizen Action celebrates its 40th year of impactful work, I can think of no better leader to chart the course of the future. She is joined by a stellar team of staff leadership that are powerhouses and new State Board officers that are top-notch.

We have won SO much together over time.  And I know we’ll keep winning. I hope you’ll join me, the current staff, leaders, supporters, and a 40-year network of alumni in celebrating Citizen Action’s 40th anniversary this year in style! Save the date for the big reunion gala happening in New York City on Wednesday, December 13, 2023!

Finally, you know nothing is possible without the contribution. If you have ever believed in my work, in this organization’s work and value, please make a donation, here and now. 

Take care and so many thanks,

Jess Wisneski