Doe Fund Appoints Former Councilmember Cornegy as EVP of External Affairs
The Doe Fund, which provides paid work, housing, and comprehensive support services to formerly homeless and incarcerated men in New York City, has appointed former Brooklyn Councilmember Robert Cornegy, Jr., as executive vice president of external affairs.
After serving the Bedford-Stuyvesant community where he grew up — and where The Doe Fund began its work — Cornegy was term-limited out of office. One of his legacies is the Kalief Browder Bill, which makes it mandatory for the Department of Corrections to provide mental health, educational, and vocational services to detainees before they are sentenced.
When Cornegy originally returned to his community after playing professional basketball abroad, he found friends and former teammates struggling with mental illness and addiction. Using the money he had earned as an athlete, he opened a residential treatment facility for a population then referred to as MICA (mentally ill chemical abusers).
He soon encountered the Doe Fund, which was using sophisticated drug testing equipment at its Gates Avenue facility. Cornegy asked Doe Fund President George McDonald for permission to use the equipment to test his MICA clients, beginning a long partnership.
“This is full circle for me. Even before becoming an elected official, I wanted to help people overcome challenges and achieve productive lives. The Doe Fund gave me that chance when I was starting out. Today, it is giving me that chance once again,” says Cornegy.
After realizing he could make a greater impact as a public servant, Cornegy ran for the City Council. “The Doe Fund was a resource and a partner from the beginning. Losing George last year makes this especially meaningful. I will use my expertise and experience to honor his legacy, advance The Doe Fund’s stellar reputation and grow this vital work,” he says.
Regarding Cornegy’s appointment, Mayor Eric Adams says, “I congratulate Robert Cornegy, Jr., my friend and longtime colleague in public service, on joining the Doe Fund and furthering his mission to advance racial and economic justice for our neighbors in need. Robert brings the expertise, the empathy, and the energy needed to tackle this critically-needed work and amplify the voices of vulnerable New Yorkers.”
“The Doe Fund is not your typical nonprofit,” says President Harriet Karr-McDonald. “We operate social enterprises generating millions of dollars in revenue, which goes into our programs and into the pockets of the men we serve. This innovation alleviates the burden on taxpayers and the government. In addition to Robert’s commitment to helping vulnerable people realize their potential, he has decades of experience with housing, finance, and business development.”
As executive vice president of external affairs, Cornegy will identify and secure funds and political capital to execute on the organization’s mission and key strategic objectives. He will introduce key stakeholders in government and the private sectors to the work and goals of the Doe Fund. Cornegy’s expertise in small business development will help advance the organization’s social enterprises and explore innovative new avenues like social cooperatives.
“The Doe Fund remains a tremendous leader in providing opportunities for work, where society has largely given up. The next logical step is providing ownership. Ownership brings with it a sense of pride, dignity and longevity,” says Cornegy.
Cornegy will take into account the lived experiences of his Doe Fund colleagues, 70 percent of whom are program graduates. “Having credible messengers who have overcome homelessness, incarceration, and addiction is game-changing. These are the real future leaders of this movement and their voices must be heard,” says Cornegy.
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