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Breakfast Benefit • Tarrytown • 44th Annual
Watch the 44th Annual Volunteer Spirit Awards




2024 Journal Book








Education & Literacy Award

Jim Isenberg
for volunteer action with
Presented by The Seiden Family

Going Green Award

Michael Penziner
for volunteer action with
Presented by Con Edison

Quality of Life Award

Laura Romeo Sobel
for volunteer action with
Presented by PCSB Community Foundation

Resiliency Award

Matthew Ricker
for volunteer action with
Presented by WMCHealth

Social Advocacy Award

Colleen Brathwaite
for volunteer action with
Presented by Regeneron

Youth Leadership Award

Mouhamadou Alou
for volunteer action with
Presented by PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP
Volunteer New York!'s Board of Directors is proud to bestow its highest honor, the 2024 Legacy Award, upon Dr. Valerie Mason Cunningham.
Valerie’s dedication to Volunteer New York! and our community can be characterized in one word: transformative. Serving on the Board of Directors for nine years, including three years as the Board Chair, Valerie played a vital role in furthering Volunteer New York!’s resilience and growth. When the global pandemic created new challenges, Valerie offered a steady, strategic, and positive approach, supporting organization leadership to ensure continued success during unprecedented times.
Beyond her contributions to Volunteer New York!, Valerie’s commitment to addressing the community’s greatest challenges is evident through her unwavering support of educational institutions, nonprofits, and civic organizations. From serving on the Mercy University Board of Trustees, to acting as a strategic business advisor to Sister to Sister International, Inc., to embracing her advocacy role with the Urban Resource Institute’s Friends of URI, it is clear that Valerie embodies the true meaning of volunteerism and giving back.
Professionally, Valerie is a former Senior Vice President at Xerox Corporation. Valerie held many senior executive roles at Xerox, leading organizations globally and developing high-performance work teams. She retired after ascending to the role of Vice President of North America Channel Marketing Operations. Today, Valerie can be found advising, inspiring, and coaching individuals and organizations on progressive leadership with a focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility & Belonging (DEIA&B), and emphasizing Belonging. Alongside her Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Emily Rice Reynolds, Valerie founded Mason & Rice LLC, furthering Valerie’s belief system of PRIDE: Personal Recognition in Delivering Excellence. Valerie is an accomplished strategic thinker, change champion, and business value creator who has positively impacted the business services and technology industries throughout her illustrious career.
Valerie has received numerous awards and distinguished honors for her work in the public and private sectors. She recently presented a TEDx Talk titled “You Have to Go Through Something to Get to Something” and received the 2023 Westchester County Trailblazers Madam C.J. Walker Economic Development Award.
As a first-generation college graduate, Valerie attended Spelman College (HBCU) for two years and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Old Westbury. Most recently, she received an Honorary Doctorate degree in Commercial Science from Mercy University. Valerie is a Leadership Westchester Graduate.
Valerie resides in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, and is a dedicated mother to her son, who resides in Georgia.
Join us at the upcoming Volunteer Spirit Awards as we celebrate Valerie Mason Cunningham's remarkable legacy and her profound impact on Volunteer New York! and beyond.
What you celebrate is a reflection of what you value.
Legacy Video

Event Sponsors

Brown & Brown of New York, Carla Rojas, Con Edison, The Gallin Family, Hudson Valley Credit Union,

Mercy University, New York Life, PCSB Community Foundation, PKF O'Connor Davies, LLP, Regeneron,

Retirement Transformed, The Seiden Family, Webster Bank, WMC Health, Zaro Family Bakery


Benefit Committee

Alisa H. Kesten (Co-Chair), Michelle A. Nicholas (Co-Chair), Joseph Ali,

Tsahai Amazan, Cheryl Brannan, MS, Celia R. Brown, Chereese Jervis-Hill, Eric D. Cunningham, Janine Daughtry,

Ed Forbes, Julia Emrick, Emerson and Vernita Fullwood, Ally and Tom Gallin, Michael Grossman,

Joseph Ali, Susan Kushner, Carmen Leonor Martínez-López,PhD, Michelle Medina, Christina and Tim Nash,

Emily Rice Reynolds, A. Doug Rogers, Mark and Jody Rollins, Amy and Mark Seiden,

Joanne Taylor, Beryl Weaver, Dan Zelem


Steering Committee

Lydia Kris (Chair), Ilana Arbeit, Cathy Boyle, Liz Corio, Karen Gabor,

Ally Gallin, Joanne Kirkpatrick, Susan Kushner, Amy Seiden, Abbe P. Stein, Esq.

2024 Orange Book






The Volunteer Spirit Awards celebration is the premier volunteer recognition event in our region, typically attended annually by over 600 community leaders and supporters of local volunteerism. Each spring during Global Volunteer Month, Volunteer New York! recognizes a distinguished group of volunteers who have done extraordinary work in our region. Volunteers are nominated in six categories, and an independent panel of judges selects one person or group for each category.



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