Ben Esner

  • Director, Center for K12 STEM Education

Ben Esner

Prior to joining NYU Tandon, Ben held the post of Senior Vice President for Programs at Brooklyn Community Foundation (formerly Independence Community Foundation), an institution dedicated to improving life-outcomes for residents of Brooklyn's diverse neighborhoods and, in particular, high educational attainment for the borough's low-income students. At the foundation he created, oversaw, and ran competitive grant programs disbursing $5 million a year seeking to address a broad range of educational and social issues, focusing on supporting public schools and young people, early education, improving living conditions and programs that advance the economic prospects of youth and families. Ben was also the Deputy Director of Independence Community Foundation, joining the staff shortly after that entity was founded; in that role, Ben helped develop and nurture the initial grant programs of the Foundation as well as the organizational infrastructure of a high-functioning, successful not-for-profit. At various times, he has overseen the Foundation's finances, information technology and data systems, and other administrative needs. In his twelve years in philanthropy, Ben developed a range of strong relationships with colleagues, community leaders, heads of not-for-profit organizations and government officials.

Ben is a founding and current Trustee of three public charter schools serving the communities of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and Ocean Hill; these schools are highly successful at achieving an educational mission and are affiliated with Uncommon Schools, one of the nation's most respected and accomplished not-for-profit charter management organizations. In addition, he is Vice Chair and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the country's first full-fledged community development organization.

Earlier in his career, Ben was Chief of Staff to the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Assistant to the Brooklyn Borough President for Environmental Affairs. In addition, he has had stints in the private sector, as a government relations specialist at a trade association, and as an executive in a public relations and marketing firm. He has also served on various committees with his colleagues in philanthropy and over the years has assisted a host of not-for-profit organizations in reassessing mission, goals, and strategies.

University of Michigan, 1989
Bachelor of Arts, History