As a volunteer organization, we rely on your participation, your ideas, and your experience.

Find out more about the workings behind the scenes by caring members and consider participating on one of these committees or their subcommittees or task forces. If you’d like to speak with the chairs of any of these committees, and possibly attend a meeting to get a sense of where you might best utilize your interests, experience, time and energy, speak with Maggie Determann, Assistant to the Leaders for Membership Development.

The more you put into the Society, the more you get out of it.

If you’re considering joining one of the committees and would like to sit in on a meeting, contact the committee chair (via the membership directory) to arrange a visit.

Ethical NYC Member Committees

Building Committee
Chair: Dick Van Deusen

Our primary responsibility is maintaining our building in a safe, secure, economically sound and environmentally appropriate manner for the benefit of Society members, rental clients and the many guests who attend events in the Meeting House. We review and authorize routine maintenance and emergency repair expenses, and initiate projects intended to improve the appearance and functionality of the building with particular attention to improvements that will increase rental revenues that are essential to our ability to function as a Society.

Archives Subcommittee
We are responsible for the preservation and cataloguing of Society history.

Communications Committee
Chair: Elinore Kaplan

We are responsible for the public presentation of Ethical NYC —communication within and beyond — with the aim of building greater awareness of Ethical, who we are and what we do, among members, potential members, and the public through clear and consistent messaging, branding, and publicizing of our programs, events, members, aims, and accomplishments. This includes coordinating communication in the areas of public relations, print (newsletter, brochures, posters), audio-visual (slides, videos, photos) social media, and the website, as well as between and among other committees of Ethical.

Print Task Force (Newsletter, Brochures, Posters)
Audio-Visual  Task Force (Lobby monitor, Photos, Videos)
Online Task Force (website and social media)
Research Task Force (surveys, questionnaires) 

Ethical Action Committee
Chair: Carol Van Deusen
The purpose of the Ethical Action Committee is to engage the members of the New York Society for Ethical Culture and others in action and critical reflection with the aim of deconstructing the systems that cause injustice, locally, nationally and globally – with the aspiration of making the world a safer and more secure place where every person is treated with dignity.

The Ethical Action Committee is currently focused, in coordination with other societies and the AEU, on Repairing the Harm of Racism. We will be exploring opportunities for our members and others to inform ourselves through book discussions, films, seminars, workshops and lectures and more.

To implement our positions we will participate in direct political action on the local, state, and national level. Also, recognizing that while the current state of racial injustice in the United States is particular to our history, contemporary socio-economic and political factors mean the oppression and exploitation of people of color by our country does not stop at our borders and we will therefor integrate a global perspective into our efforts.

Our work will also be personal and relational as we strive to address the causes of our divisions within our own communities and selves.

Ethical Awards Subcommittee
We oversee the Ethical Humanist Award, Frank B. Prescod Community Service Award, and Phyllis Harrison Ross Public Service Award by searching for awardees, submitting proposal to the board, planing and producing the award ceremonies.

The Phyllis Harrison-Ross Public Service Award Collaborative
We organize the every-other-year selection and presentation of the award, established in 2012 to honor the lifetime of achievement and contributions to public service of Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross, a long-time member of the Society and Chairperson of the Social Service Board. The award is given in recognition of outstanding public service of either elected or appointed individuals who have established or enhanced programs that improve conditions and foster the wellbeing of citizens, especially those in disadvantaged communities. The award honors public servants who exemplify good governance, especially when it means taking personal or political risks.

Co-Sponsored Programs Subcommittee
We review and evaluate applications for NYSEC co-sponsorship of events proposed by outside groups and organizations that support our mission, and note approval or non- approval to the Board. We also approach organizations whose values and goals coincide with those of NYEC to develop co-sponsored programs.

Our Affiliated Organizations
The League of Women Voters NYC and Amnesty International NYC

Environmental Stewardship Committee
Chairs: Monica Weiss and Vince Brancato

We gather and share information about environmental issues with members and the general public through a variety of formats (Platforms, interviews, films, educational events); promotes actions to help bring human activity into harmony with the need to protect the Earth’s natural systems (sustainable practices and policies); and works with NYSEC and in partnership with other individuals and organizations to carry out this mission.

Green Festival Trade Show Task Force
We participate in trade shows that offer the potential of bringing NYSEC to the attention of potential NYSEC attendees/members.

Ethical Enrichment Committee
Chairs: Carole Chamlin and Muriel Berger
We seek to create a wide range of offerings focusing on the mind, body and spirit. All programs are intended to reflect the philosophy of Ethical Culture.  We sponsor programs leading to personal growth and development throughout all of life within the context of a caring and committed community.

Ethical Adventures Subcommittee
We are responsible for organizing, publicizing and executing excursions for members

Ethics and the Theater Subcommittee
We choose plays to present at monthly play-reading performances, selects who will direct and perform in them, as well as who will lead the after-performance discussion at the wine & cheese reception. We also arrange for the sound-system set-up, recording, collection of admission fees, and distribution of flyers and programs.

Finance Committee
Chair: Jim Farer

We work with the Executive Director to develop annual budget. We are concerned with the management of income and spending, and we handle the overall supervision and setting of fiscal policy.

Endowment Subcommittee
We seek and accept applications for funds from the Society’s endowments. We monitor endowments, assure that they are properly used, and make prudent recommendations of their investment.

Membership Development Committee
Chair: Liz Singer

We are dedicated to increasing the NYSEC membership through member recruitment: bringing in new members of all ages, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, etc.; and member retention: strengthening the NYSEC “community fiber” so that members are motivated to stay on and participate in the NYSEC activities. This included an emphasis on hospitality — helping to make newcomers, new members, and event attendees feel welcome to NYSEC and motivating them to want to learn more about us.

Caring Subcommittee
We keep in touch with members who may not have attended NYSEC meetings or events for quite a while, who are or have been ill for a considerable amount of time, who are chronically ill, who have had a serious medical event or hospitalization, and members not able to attend NYSEC events.

Fair-Share Giving Subcommittee
We work to maintain pledged membership contributions, and thus track membership. We help create request letters, make phone calls, and develop other strategies. We plan the annual fair-share-giving party.

Autumn Getaway, Etc. Task Force
We plan the NYSEC getaways and promote attendance to them.

The Music Cafe and Comedy Corner Task Force
We help to facilitate these monthly events — arranging for the entertainment, food, decor.

Rentals Committee
Chair: Vince Brancato

We look for ways to maximize the value and return on space rentals as well as to safeguard the property. 

Sunday Programs Committee
Chair: Monica Weiss
We organize and monitor all Society activities that take place on Sundays. This begins with early-morning activities, the platform, and goes on to social hour and lunch, and afternoon programs. We invite outside speakers, coordinate music and select shared charities for the Platform meetings. We plan the flow of the platform, which includes organizing greeters and presiders. We coordinate with the leaders in planning festivals and celebrations.

We develop programming to empower the ethical development of youngsters, motivating them to create life-long friendships and stand up with care and courage for a good world. We also organize parenting programs and intergenerational events.

Youth and Family Programs Subcommittee
(Ethics for Children, Coming of Age, Teen Leadership)

We strive to explore values such as integrity, honesty, responsibility, courage and commitment; to affirm the value and uniqueness of each individual; and to promote knowledge and celebration of the diversity among people.  Inspire social responsibility toward individuals, groups and our environment.

Program Coordinating Council (PCC)
The chairs of committees involved in creating and approving programs at ETHICAL, along with the Communications Committee, seek to implement the sharing of information about committee plans so as to support, coordinate and complement one another’s efforts in the belief that the more information and advice we share with one another, the better the overall outcome.

Advocacy Forum Ethical Edge
We encourage and support program committees and subcommittees in creating educational, thought-provoking, large-forum discussions (i.e. interviews and panel discussions) that give voice to those who wish to examine social and political issues important to our democracy, and to empower people to get involved in effecting change.

United Social Services Inc.
of Ethical NYC – Social Service Board (SSB)

The Social Service Board is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organizations affiliated with the New York Society for Ethical Culture. We leverage our resources to provide direct services to marginalized and underserved people in New York City. We build listening relationships to develop responsive programs that alleviate the symptoms of systemic injustice to promote a more compassionate city.

Supportive Televisiting Services
We enable children to video-visit with their incarcerated parents from a child-friendly environment through secure live video and audio on a large-screen television screen. If you want to learn more about the program, contact

Maria Fridman Homeless Women’s Shelter
We coordinate volunteers and provide sleeping accommodations for homeless women in a shelter housed at NYSEC. We work with the Olivieri Center. a member of the Urban Pathways which works with churches, synagogues and other non-profit organizations to provide emergency shelters. If you would like to volunteer or learn more about the program, please contact

Collaborating Partners:
Black Psychiatrists of Greater New York and Associates
Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)
Radical Age Movement

2019 Board of Directors:
Henryka Komanska, Ph.D., Chair
Meg Chapman, Vice Chair
Sue Bremer, Treasurer
Leslie Doyle, Secretary
Bob Berger
Alice Fisher
Robert Gangi
Sarah Karpati
Marlene E. Williamson
Elizabeth Singer, ex-officio, President, NYSEC
Richard Van Deusen, ex-officio, Treasurer, NYSEC
Dr. Richard Koral, Leader Advisor