Meet Bob Liebeskind, Executive Director of the New York Society for Ethical Culture (Ethical NYC). While he now heads one of New York’s oldest social justice institutions, the road there wasn’t always easy.
Bob’s life changed significantly at age 12 when his mother suddenly passed away. She was a huge influence in his life. From a young age, she instilled in him the importance of serving his community. She also provided endless support for him, especially when Bob became an avid swimmer. After his mom’s death and his brothers’ departure for college, Bob had to figure out how to continue on without their support.
After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Syracuse University, Bob moved to New York City and got his first job as a caseworker, working with children in foster care. That’s where he met his wife Jean, who became an important ethical influence in his life and shared his mother’s commitment to social good. Their marriage and work together led Bob to fall in love with the nonprofit world. A few years later, Bob earned his Masters Degree in Administrative Social Work from Hunter School of Social Work.
When Bob became the Executive Director of Ethical NYC, he leveraged his immense knowledge and experience in nonprofit financing from his previous work at the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, to help transform the financial structure of Ethical NYC. Though it was projected to take three years for Ethical NYC to see a return on Bob’s efforts, it only took six months. Since Bob joined Ethical 14 years ago, Ethical has ended each year with a surplus. Today, Ethical NYC is able to partner with and house events for many like-minded organizations and initiatives in its beautiful historic location on the Upper West Side.