2020 Grove Fellowship Leaders

 Christian Gonzalez

Christian González-Rivera is the Director of Strategic Policy Initiatives at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging. His work is to translate results and findings from Brookdale’s academic research and demonstration projects into policy and practice, create strategic partnerships across institutions and organizations, and help formulate and communicate Brookdale’s policy priorities. 

Before coming to Brookdale, Christian spent seven years as a senior researcher at the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), where he led the organization’s work in the areas of workforce development policy and older adults policy. His signature achievement at CUF was to place the needs of New York’s growing and increasingly diverse older adult population firmly onto the radar of policymakers, elected officials, and city and state agencies. Prior to that, he researched housing policy at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. As the research manager at the Greenlining Institute in Berkeley, California (since relocated to Oakland, CA), he authored and supported research on housing, philanthropy, diversity in the healthcare workforce, access to financial services, consumer protection, and the green economy. 

Christian is president of the State Society on Aging of New York, an interdisciplinary membership society focused on improving the quality of life for older New Yorkers. He is also a fellow of the Sterling Network, a group of systems leaders from New York City’s government, non-profit, and business sectors working together to expand economic justice across the five boroughs. In 2016, City and State named Christian one of New York City’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars. His work has been covered in both English- and Spanish-language media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Daily News, Next City, City and State, Gotham Gazette, Univision, NY1, WNYC, KPFA, and others. He holds a BA in urban studies from Columbia University and a Masters in Urban Planning from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. 

Bettina Hager

Bettina Hager is the DC Director and COO of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality. The ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality are sister organizations working together to educate, advocate and organize to ensure constitutional equality in the United States. She previously served as the co-Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations and has been helping lead the movement for constitutional equality since 2012. 

Bettina has conducted focused lobby training workshops across the country on the issue of constitutional equality and oversaw the creation of a widely used ERA advocacy packet with information on how to contact elected officials, reach out to media and encourage constituency outreach. She has organized and moderated briefings on the Equal Rights Amendment in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. In April 2019, she worked with the House Judiciary Committee to organize the first official hearing on the ERA in 36 years. Bettina also writes for the The Hill as an opinion contributor on gender issues. In 2018, she was named one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s eNews. 

Prior to joining the ERA Coalition, she worked as Programs Director and Interim Executive Director at the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), advocating for the necessity of women’s political participation at all levels of government. Bettina graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Biology and concentration in Women’s Studies. 

Carol Jenkins

Carol Jenkins is Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality, sister organizations dedicated to the passage and enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment. A board member since the beginning in 2014 and an active participant in all of its initiatives, she joined the leadership team in 2018, becoming Co-President with ERA Coalition founder Jessica Neuwirth. 

Carol is an American women’s rights activist, author and filmmaker. She was founding president of The Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit created in 2004 by Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, and Jane Fonda to increase coverage and participation of women in media. As president, she conceived the Progressive Women’s Voices program to provide media training for women and girls, and she 

expanded SheSource, the largest portfolio of women experts in the country. At FCC hearings in 2007, she testified on the “crisis in representation” in mainstream media. 

As past chair and current board member of Amref Health Africa USA, an arm of the largest health NGO in Africa, she is engaged in efforts to support health programs for African women and girls. Amref has a goal to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by the year 2030. Her other board work includes the 

Feminist Press, the Veteran Feminists of America, The Steering Committee of the Gloria Steinem Chair at Rutgers University, the Anne O’Hare McCormick Journalism Scholarship Committee, the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and Certified Humane. 

As a pioneering African American television reporter, Jenkins was an anchor and correspondent for WNBC TV in New York for nearly 25 years. She hosted Carol Jenkins Live, her own daily talk show, on WNYW-TV. Early in her career she co-hosted one of the first daily public affairs programs in New York City, Straight Talk on WOR-TV; and co-hosted Positively Black for WNBC TV, one of the earliest television programs dedicated to Black issues in the United States. 

An Emmy Award-winning former television journalist, she hosts the Emmy-nominated interview show, Black America, on CUNY TV. She is also executive producer, writer and correspondent of its documentaries, including the PBS-aired “More Than a Building, A Dream Come True,” an award-winning film detailing the creation of the new African American Museum in Washington, DC and “Conscience of America: Birmingham’s Fight for Civil Rights, a special on the Birmingham National Civil Rights Monument. Carol is the co-author of Black Titan: AG Gaston and the Making of an African American Millionaire, a biography of her uncle and winner of Best Non-Fiction Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She is currently writing a book on her family’s long experience in journalism as a window on gender and racial bias in media. 

Dorchen Leidholdt

Dorchen Leidholdt has served as Director of Sanctuary’s Legal Center since 1994. The largest legal services program for domestic violence victims in the country, the Center provides legal representation to battered women and advocates for policy and legislative changes that further the rights of abused women. 

Dorchen is on the Board of Directors of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), which she helped found in 1988. An umbrella of grassroots organizations around the world, CATW has regional networks in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Dorchen has lectured internationally on violence against women and is the co-editor of the Lawyers Manual on Domestic Violence (2006) and the Lawyers Manual on Human Trafficking (2011). 


Jennifer March

Jennifer March became CCC’s Executive Director in 2007 after 15 years in the public sector including senior positions at the Finance Division of the New York City Council and guiding research and advocacy at CCC as the agency’s Associate Executive Director. Jennifer has been a driving force behind CCC’s efforts to advance legislative, policy, and budget reforms that have helped achieve historic victories for children, youth and families throughout the city and state. 

As Executive Director, Jennifer has led the expansion of CCC’s staffing and budget and has positioned CCC’s Keeping Track Online database as the go-to resource for nonprofit, government and philanthropic leaders and New Yorkers at large seeking to understand the needs of children and families across the city and to inform decision making and advocacy with data. She currently provides leadership in several campaigns and coalitions on behalf of CCC, working with partners across sectors to address some of the most pressing challenges New York’s children and families face. Among them, Jennifer has championed efforts to close the wage gap between early educators in community-based programs and their peers in NYC public schools. She spearheaded efforts of the local Campaign for Children to protect and expand access to early childhood education, after-school and summer programs resulting in the recent expansion of universal pre-k for all four-year old’s and after-school for all middle schoolers in NYC. She also served as co-leader of the RTA-NY Campaign which succeeded in securing legislation and budget resources needed to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York State thereby treating youth in an age-appropriate manner to improve their outcomes and community safety. Under Jennifer’s leadership, CCC also co-convenes the Family Homelessness Coalition working to address the needs and improve the well-being of homeless children and their families before, during and after stays in shelter. Furthermore, Jennifer has spearheaded the creation of a children’s behavioral health campaign, focused on ensuring access to treatment for children and adolescents. 

Jennifer was a lead architect of CCC’s Securing Every Birthright Campaign, which contributed to the creation of New York City’s Earned Income Tax Credit, the first local Child Care Tax Credit, the expansion of Newborn Home Visiting, establishment of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, and passage of Green Cart legislation. Her advocacy and coalition building skills influenced passage of progressive state personal income tax reforms, the creation of statutory funding for alternatives to detention and incarceration, the closure of underutilized juvenile placement facilities, the transfer of delinquent youth to services and placement options close to home and achievement of raising the age of criminal responsibility. Her work informed the expansion of free lunch for all public school students, the creation of programs to assist and encourage families to establish college savings 

accounts for their children at tax time, and recent successes on salary parity for early educators. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and French from LeMoyne College; a M.A, International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University; and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Fordham University. 

Melva Miller

Melva M. Miller, Executive Vice President at the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), leads the organization’s Census 2020 initiative for an accurate count of New York. Managing an inter-disciplinary team of urban planners, social workers and policy, public relations and communication professionals, Ms. Miller supports and supplements census efforts underway by the US Census Bureau, State and City of New York, and in coordination with community-based organizations in an effort to help New York City and State achieve the most accurate census count possible. 

A resident of South East Queens, Ms. Miller has dedicated her life to community development through equitable economic growth, creative organizing and inclusive stakeholder participation. Ms. Miller started her community work in 1993 when she began working with children using the arts as a tool to promote civic responsibility while fostering positive imagery of youth in her community. Through this work, Ms. Miller used dance, music and artistic expression as a conduit for community empowerment, collective consciousness and individual pride. She then sought to supplement her tacit community development knowledge with evidenced-based practice and attended the Hunter College School of Social Work where she earned a Master’s degree in Community Organization and Planning, and received the school’s Dorothy North McNeal Award for achievement in Community Organization. 

Upon graduation, Ms. Miller quickly put her formal organizing training to work and became the founding Executive Director of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID). While leading this community based not-for-profit organization, she created and administered programs that served as catalysts for economic revitalization along Sutphin Boulevard in downtown Jamaica, Queens. During her tenure, she was charged with providing supplemental sanitation and security services throughout the district while advocating for the growth of local small businesses. She also implemented marketing strategies to boost local economic development and enhanced neighborhood quality of life for local businesses and residents by building partnerships and local and regional coalitions. While at the BID, she also served as Project Director of the Downtown Jamaica Cultural District formed to support to the artistic development of downtown Jamaica through marketing, brand identity, cultural development, public space utilization and real estate initiatives. 

July of 2007, Ms. Miller joined the Office of the Queens Borough President to serve as key advisor on, and provide assistance to, small businesses throughout Queens, and to develop a borough-wide workforce development strategy to support the borough’s under and unemployed populations. June of 2008, she was promoted to Director of Economic Development and among her new responsibilities, implemented a $13 million capital improvement program designed to encourage economic growth and sustainability in commercial corridors throughout Queens. In February of 2015, Ms. Miller was appointed to the post of Deputy Queens Borough President charged with serving as second in-command in New York City government’s highest executive office in Queens county, representing over 2.3 million residents and managing over 150 employees. In addition to this role, she continued as the Economic Development Director creating and implementing a borough-wide strategy to enhance the Borough’s economic growth through the creation of comprehensive neighborhood initiatives that promoted commercial growth, good paying jobs, and quality of life improvements throughout 107 Queens neighborhoods. Ms. Miller’s achievements include the creation of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million stakeholder-driven strategy to increase quality employment, economic diversity and financial security in downtown Jamaica, and led the Western Queens Tech Strategic Plan, an initiative that produced a five-year $300,000 planning initiative that produced a blueprint for equitable growth of the Long Island City and Astoria tech ecosystem. 

Ms. Miller holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and recently received a second Master’s Degree in Philosophy from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Welfare program at CUNY’s Graduate Center. Ms. Miller has been on the Board of Directors of the New York City Economic Development Corporation since 2009 and also serves on the Boards of Habitat for Humanity New York City and Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. 

Charles Platkin

Charles Platkin, PhD, JD, MPH, is a nutrition, fitness and public health advocate, whose syndicated health, nutrition and fitness column, the Diet Detective appears in daily newspapers and media outlets throughout the United States. Dr. Platkin is also the founder of, which offers more than 500 articles and interviews on nutrition, food, and fitness. Platkin is a health expert and blogger featured on and Additionally, Platkin is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Hunter College in New York City and the Director of the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center.