Merble Reagon is Executive Director of the Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement in New York City. The Women's Center was established as a program of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) in 1970 to meet the workforce development needs of women who had a marginal relationship to the paid work force and continues to serve low-income women and their families through a variety of programs and services designed to help them achieve economic security. She has worked for more than 40 years to create greater opportunities for low-wage workers in the business and public sectors. She has conducted management, diversity and workforce development training for non-profit, legal and women's organizations, government agencies and others.
Her early work in the Civil Rights Movement included community organizing in Harlem and Newark, NJ; it was followed by community development work in several states across the country. Her current work includes introduction and promotion of the groundbreaking Self-Sufficiency Standard for the City of New York and the enthusiastically welcomed web-based New York City Self-Sufficiency Calculator. The Standard calculates how much income it takes for families to live and work in the five boroughs of New York City. The Calculator screens a working family's eligibility for federal, state and city work supports and tax credits. These economic development tools have been distributed to and are being used by thousands of caseworkers and counselors at 300+ social service agencies across the five boroughs of New York City.
The Financial Literacy Independence Program (FLIP) is the Center's latest innovative effort to educate girls and young women about the fundamentals of economic security and the incremental steps they must take to achieve financial stability as adult women. The Women's Center is credited with framing and broadening the policy dialogue in New York City to change the way poverty is measured and understood.
Ms. Reagon has held leadership positions with national, regional, state and local employment and training organizations. She has received numerous awards including the Ellen Lurie Award from the Community Service Society in recognition of her efforts on behalf of the poor, the Susan B. Anthony Award from NOW NYC and the Wiser Hero Award from the Women's Institute for Secure Economic Retirement. She is a graduate of Smith College and the New York University School of Law. Her current community involvement includes the following board memberships: NYC Mayor's Commission on Women's Issues, Wider Opportunities for Women, New York State Defenders Association, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, and the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund.
As she looks back over her career in the non-profit field, she values most the outstanding and committed people she has had the great and good fortune to meet, get to know and work together with to help make New York City a place where all families have the opportunity to achieve economic security.