Stephanie Alvarado, Director of Advocacy

Stephanie Alvarado, Director of Advocacy

Stephanie Alvarado is a queer Afro-Indigena Latina feminista born and raised in the Bronx, NY by way of Guayaquil, Ecuador. As 596 Acres’s Director of Advocacy, she runs the community land access program and community land protection program. Stephanie brings over a decade of community organizing, research, and archival experience working at the intersections of cultural arts activism, youth organizing, reproductive justice, immigrant rights, racial justice, and LGBTQ liberation at local, state, national, and international levels. Stephanie is also a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and transnational feminist scholar with a BA in Psychology and Latino Studies from NYU and MA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Emory University.

Mara Kravitz, Director of Partnerships

Mara fosters partnerships that support community land access campaigns and long-term resident stewardship. She is a founding board member of the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative, a burgeoning way for member-investors to pool money and power to invest in stable places for community and culture in NYC. She been part of the 596 Acres team since January 2016, previously as executive assistant to the organization. 

Rachel Dobkin, Director of Development

Rachel was born and raised in New York City and has been part of the 596 Acres team since 2013. She has experience working in communications, direct legal services and public health policy. As 596 Acres’s Director of Development, she focuses on communicating to the world about our work and ensuring that we continue to successfully raise the funds we need to sustain it. When she isn’t thinking about how to fund community land access advocacy, Rachel can be found gardening, watching British detective TV shows and playing with her two children.

Eric Brelsford, Lead Software Developer and Data Analyst

Eric is a web developer, mapmaker, and teacher interested in the ways open source software and community-driven data can help communities accomplish their goals. He has worked on the data and software behind 596 Acres since its inception in 2011. Eric also writes the software behind Farming Concrete, which is a free platform that allows community gardeners to measure what’s happening in a garden, from food composted to food harvested. He teaches GIS and web mapping at The New School and Pratt SAVI and co-organizes Maptime NYC. You can find more information about Eric’s projects, code, and talks at his portfolio.

Paula Z. Segal, Founding Director

Paula is the founding director of 596 Acres. She ran the project from 2011 to 2016. In 2017, she shifted into an advisory role with 596 Acres and joined the Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center to co-create the Equitable Neighborhoods practice. As an Equitable Neighborhoods Staff Attorney, she supports 596 Acres and other CDP partners who seek to vest control of neighborhood change in communities rooted in our neighborhoods. 

Paula is an Ashoka Fellow recognized for building the field of community land access advocacy. 

Shannon Dulaney, Community Advocacy Intern

Shannon Dulaney, Community Advocacy Intern

Shannon is a Masters of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she is focusing on urban sustainability and environmental justice. In her former life, she was a lobbyist for Honda North America, working with the federal team in Washington, DC, on issues ranging from workforce development and connected cars to chemicals and safety recalls.

Hannah Foster, Community Advocacy Intern

Hannah Foster, Community Advocacy Intern

Hannah Foster, from Salt Lake City, Utah, developed a love for the environment that spurred from childhood backpacking trips. Last January, she worked with a non-profit in Costa Rica called Equipo Tora Carey and learned about environmental laws and advocacy work in Costa Rica. Upon her return she was eager to engage in local issues of environmental justice in New York City. This fall she begins her senior year at the City College of New York and will graduate as a Skadden Arps Pre-Law Honors Fellow with hopes of becoming an environmental lawyer.

Sam Kohn, intern

Sam Kohn, Groundtruther

Sam burns for vibrant communities and believes that the best way for such communities to thrive is for neighbors to have control over their own spaces. Before coming to New York in 2015, he lived in Chicago, where he did organizing work for a community garden undergoing a total soil remediation and massive redevelopment project. He also did an AmeriCorps program for a year on the south side of Chicago. During the day, he is an immigration paralegal. He is matriculating at CUNY Law School in the fall.

Tim Nottage, Groundtruther

Tim Nottage, Groundtruther

Tim is a designer and aspiring urbanist from Oakland, California. He is passionate about making equitable and resilient communities. He also creates interactive sculpture, builds scenery for theatre and film, and writes. He is a graduate student in Theories of Urban Practice at Parsons, The New School.

 Advisory Committee

Our programming is developed by an advisory committee that is made up of local project leaders that have emerged from sites organized using our tools (approximately 50%), members of partner organizations and the paid and volunteer team members who actually carry out the day-to-day work of the project.

A’yen Tran
Abdul Muhammad
Adrien Weibgen
Alexis Smallwood
Amy Laura Cahn
Andrew Blancero
Andrew Tucker
Beth Bingham

Brenda Thompson-Duchene
Chad Berkowitz
Charles Chawalko
Francisco Miranda
Gabriel Park
Gabriel Willow
Gil Lopez
Helen Ho
Jane Moisan
Jonathan Lapalme
Josh Bisker
Julieta Cuellar
Keith Carr
Kristin Booth Glen
Leah Feder
Liz Barry
Mary Elizabeth Prall
Merran Swartwood
Miguel Hernandez
Moses Gates
Paula Z. Segal
Rene Calvo
Renée Peperone
Richard Sememgram
Sashti Balasundaram
Shannon Pepper
Simon Stumpf
Stephan von Muehlen
Tamika Mapp
Thomas Hallaran
Tiera Mack
Wendy Brawer

Supporting Roles

Moses Gates, Demographer
Moses Gates is a writer, urban planner and visiting assistant professor of demography at the Pratt Institute. If he were the mayor, his first act would be to open all abandoned observation decks up to the public.

Stephan von Muehlen, Design Manager & Strategist
Stephan is a multidisciplinary designer living and working in Brooklyn. His work tends to live at the intersection of technology, sustainable practice, and collaboration. He was a member of the Empty Vessel Project, a founder and the Design Director of of the technology startup EnergyHub, and is currently a member of the Mare Liberum boat-building collective and principal at the design and build consultancy Von Muehlen Industries, LLC. Stephan managed the design and production side of 596 Acres from 2012 to 2013. He has been involved in Myrtle Village Green since renewed efforts for a community site on that DEP property were made in 2010 and is part of the compost cluster there!


Tiera Mack, Summer & Fall 2016 Intern
Francisco Miranda, Summer 2016 Intern
Shannon Pepper, Summer 2016 Intern
Josh Bisker, Fall 2015 Intern
Meredith Degyansky, NYC Community Land Access Program Administrator, Fall 2015
Mary Elizabeth Prall, Organizer for the NYC Land Access Program, 2012-2015
Rachel Albetski, Winter 2015 Intern
Jakob Winkler, 2015 Spring Intern
Alexandra Venner (Zanny), Spring 2015 Intern
Marissa Provenza, 2014 Fall Intern
Jonathan Lapalme, Strategist
Anthony Mohen, Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Attorney
Gabriel Willow, Chief Naturalist & Ecological Advisor In Residence
Mary Berecka, Spring-Summer 2014 Intern
Faith Titilawo, Summer 2014 East New York Farms! Extern
Andrew Tucker, Development Associate, 2013-2014
Matthew DelSesto, 2013-2014 Research Fellow
Aviva Coopersmith, Winter 2013 Intern
Anandi Gandhi, Fall 2013 Research Fellow
Julian Maxwell, 2013 Legal Intern
Julia Samuels, Digital Imaging Specialist, 2010-2013
Richard Semegram, Communications and Legislative Coordinator, 2013
Cheyenna Layne Weber, Interim NYC Community Land Access Program Organizer, 2013
Kaitlin Dougherty, 2013 NYC Community Land Access Program Summer Organizing Fellow Manhattan
Kimberly Beazer, 2013 NYC Community Land Access Program Summer Organizing Fellow Bronx
Rosemarie Miner, Summer 2013 Brooklyn Outreach Fellow
Lucy McFadden, Fall 2012 Intern
Eva Meszaros, 2011-2012 Development Associate
Oksana Miranova, 2011-2012 Data Analyst
Cameron Moss, 2011-2012 Web Design Intern

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