The Groundwork Team

Groundwork is made possible by a strong group of dedicated individuals and a committed
Board of Directors
, in addition to community staff and volunteers.



Richard Buery,

Executive Director

Rich has an extensive background in nonprofit management, youth development, education, and public interest law. Most recently, Richard co-founded iMentor, a technology education and mentoring program that connects middle and high school students with professional mentors. Richard is a co-founder and former director of the Mission Hill Summer Program, an enrichment program for children in the Mission Hill Housing Development in the Roxbury section of Boston. He also taught fifth grade at an orphanage in Bindura, Zimbabwe as a Michael Clarke Rockefeller Memorial Fellow. In his legal work, Richard was a staff attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice, and before that was a law clerk for Judge John M. Walker, Jr. of the Federal Court of Appeals in New York City. He has also clerked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, and the D.C. Public Defender Service. He serves on the board of directors of City Project, a New York City budget watchdog organization, and serves on the advisory boards of Community Works, the NPowerNY Workforce Development Project, Youth Inc., Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools and Education (MOUSE), and the Economic Opportunities Program of the Aspen Institute. Born and raised in East New York, Richard graduated from Yale Law School and Harvard College.

Andrea Schorr,

Associate Executive Director for Programs

Andrea has worked with nonprofit youth serving organizations in management and advisory capacities since 1993. Andrea came to New York City in 2001 following four years as a program associate at the Morino Institute, a foundation that manages Venture Philanthropy Partners, a venture philanthropy fund focused on the Washington, D.C. region. While at Morino, Andrea was part of a team that designed and ran a two-year pilot capacity building project that provided technical assistance, staff development, funding, and funds development assistance to large CBOs operating technology centers in Washington, D.C. Andrea's written work on curriculum, staff development, and technology planning is featured in the YouthLearn guide, a joint publication of the Morino Institute and Education Development Center, Inc. Prior to working with Morino, Andrea founded and directed an Internet-enabled computer learning center for elementary and middle school children as a new program at Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership (L.E.A.P.), a nonprofit organization that provides year round enrichment services to 1,200 children living in public housing in Connecticut, and employs over 200 teens and college students. Andrea's work with L.E.A.P. also included serving as a neighborhood summer program site director and as a children's group leader. She is a graduate of Yale University.

Richard Souto,

Associate Executive Director for Operations and Finance

Richard Souto joins Groundwork with a diverse background in corporate development and private investment in multiple industries including healthcare and information technology. Richard's last position was Vice President of elucid, Inc., a subsidiary of Latona Associates, a private investment firm with a diverse portfolio of established and entrepreneurial businesses in the manufacturing, telecommunications, and chemicals industries. Prior to elucid, Richard was a founder and the Vice President of Transmed Healthcare, a healthcare services company, and held positions in business development at two early stage healthcare companies.
Richard's volunteer experience includes serving on the Task Force of Creative Arts Workshops for Kids, a program that provides workshops in the arts for youth living in housing developments and homeless shelters in New York City. Richard also serves on the curriculum advisory committee of Youth Tech Entrepreneurs (YTE), an organization which develops student leaders, who use their academic, information technology and business skills to build stronger communities, and is an active volunteer for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).
Richard is a graduate of Boston University and received an MBA from Baruch College of the City of New York.

Darren J. Isom,

Program Director

Darren brings extensive project planning and implementation skills to the Groundwork team and joins the Groundwork team after working as Director of Global Logistics of the European Business Unit of CSI, an international trade finance group. Working as the Outreach Director of Summerbridge DC, at Sidwell Friends School, he recruited and managed over 150 volunteers from schools and companies throughout the Washington, DC area while overseeing the organization's relationship with other non-profits and coordinating all outreach initiatives. Darren spent two years in France under a fellowship from the Franco-American Institute studying xenophobia in French society and its effect on the integration of immigrant communities in Parisian suburbs and developing programs with community organizations to draw attention to their plight and effect change in their neighborhoods. A native of New Orleans, Darren is a graduate of Howard University and l 'Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris.

Erica Ahdoot

Support Services Director


Erica has extensive experience with youth and family mental health services in youth development settings. As a therapist with the Adolescent Portable Therapy program at the Vera Institute of Justice, Erica provided individual and family-based substance abuse treatment for youth in the New York State juvenile justice system. Prior to working with Vera Institute, Erica worked for Partnership with Children, a New York school-based program, where she implemented long term treatment plans for children ages 6-12 with academic and emotional needs. She also worked as a lead counselor for Community Attention, a youth development program in Charlottesville, VA where she assisted in implementing a service learning model addressing issues such as substance abuse, school dropout, employment, and anger management. Erica has a M.S.W. degree from Columbia University School of Social Work and a B.A in Psychology from the University of Virginia.
David Anderson,
Campus Director of PS 328 (Unity Campus)

David’s management experience includes directing programs for high school, middle school, and elementary school students. Most recently, David was program director of an arts and education after-school program at two “Ground Zero” high schools - the High School for Economics and Finance and the High School for Leadership and Public Service.  Previously, he was the program coordinator for an after-school program at a middle school in Queens and a public school teacher in the Bronx.  David is a graduate of the City College of New York.
Aisha Black ,
Campus Director of PS 292 (Fiorentino Campus)

Aisha Black has over 10 years of management and direct service experience in youth and family services.  Prior to joining Groundwork, Aisha coordinated family service programs in New Haven, CT public schools.  Aisha also served as a Program Coordinator for LEAP in Connecticut and as a Program Instructor at the Lake Grove School in Durham, CT.  A graduate of the University of New Haven, Aisha lives in East New York.
Chaka Blackman,
Campus Director of PS 260 (Breuckelen Campus)

Chaka brings diverse education management and teaching experience to Groundwork. As Supervisor of Educational Initiatives at the Staten Island based New York Center for Interpersonal Development, Chaka oversaw the operations of two learning centers that provide education and workforce development services to over 400 young adults annually. Prior to working with NYCID, Chaka taught physics at Washington Irving High School and delivered teacher training and curriculum development for NYC middle schools through Project GEAR-UP. An honors graduate of Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York, Chaka grew up in East New York.
Mercer A. (Monte) Givhan,
Director of Community Organizing

Monte is leading Groundwork’s efforts to work collaboratively with community residents and local organizations on community development and community advocacy initiatives.  A graduate of Yale Law School and Morehouse College, Monte was most recently a program officer at the Open Society Institute and an associate at a large New York law firm.  Before moving to New York, Monte was an attorney with the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia.

~Note: Federal and state regulations require a background check
for any person employed in a position directly serving children

Groundwork Inc. :: 595 Sutter Avenue :: Brooklyn, NY 11207
tel: 718 346 2200 :: fax 718 346 2020 :: [email protected]