Florence Charles is a Senior Manager at PwC where she is a tax advisor to clients within the Asset & Wealth Management sector. In her 15 years of professional experience, she has garnered technical expertise in partnership, corporate and individual tax compliance, and reporting. Florence is a committed community leader, providing advice to numerous professional and nonprofit organizations. Florence has actively supported the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation for more than 11years, becoming a board member in 2011. She also mentors high school students on their path into adulthood/college at CHLDC.
Florence grew up in East New York and has made it a priority to serve her community. In her words, “Growing up in East New York I did not have a lot of mentors or know many people who graduated from college and worked in white collar professions. I did not have access to recreation centers. After I graduated from college and established myself as a professional, I wanted to work with an organization that focused on supporting young people in East New York and Cypress Hills Community. I thought it was important to be a role model who looked like the kids in the neighborhood, someone that the youth of the area could relate to. The mission of Cypress Hills LDC resonated with everything that I was hoping to achieve in the community.”
Florence views her role as a CHLDC board member as an opportunity to increase visibility and secure critical funding so CHLDC can pursue its agenda of ensuring equity and providing critical programming and resources for community members. In the words of executive director Michelle Neubauer, “Florence is a cherished leader on the board of directors. Her involvement with CHLDC embodies her commitment to ensuring that no one is left behind, no one is struggling…. We are grateful for her service.”
Florence develops and cultivates support systems for professional women. She volunteers with the National Association of Black Accountants and the National MS Society.
When Florence is not advising clients, supporting her peers, mentoring a student, or attending a board meeting, she loves spending time outdoors and working in her garden. She takes time out to enjoy cycling. She is also a devoted daughter, wife, and mom to two amazingly energetic children.
Nick Lettire has led Lettire Construction Corp. for more than four decades, establishing an unsurpassed reputation for building the highest quality affordable and supportive housing in the tri-state area. Working in partnership with countless nonprofit organizations and municipalities, few developers can claim such an authentic commitment to building premium and sustainable housing for low-income people, serving those who are disconnected from opportunity. By collaborating with community coalitions, government agencies, and development partners, Nick has dramatically increased the supply of exceptional multifamily housing throughout the region.
Nick is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lettire Construction Corp., which he co-founded with his brother Gerard Lettire in 1979. He is also co-founder and President of Urban Builder’s Collaborative, the company’s development arm. Nick spearheads new construction and development opportunities and partnerships for both companies. Recent projects under his leadership include residential and mixed-use developments with construction budgets over $250 million.
Nick remains actively involved in the East Harlem community where Lettire Construction has been based since it was established. Nick got his start in the construction industry working on interiors and rehab projects. The company then expanded its work to include complex, ground-up, sustainable, affordable, and special needs housing, along with mixed-use properties in the New York tri-state region.
Nick’s commitment and dedication to improving communities in-need with access to jobs, housing, education, and many other essential services, has been steadfast for more than 40 years. Nick has received numerous recognitions for his contributions, most recently as the building Partner of the Year from Homeless Services United.
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation is proud to partner with Lettire Construction on the development of Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation’s Chestnut Commons. In the words of executive director Michelle Neubauer, Lettire Construction was the obvious partner choice. “No other developer was willing to share authority, work within the financial structure, and commit to the generous mix of affordable housing and critical community space. Lettire is in a class of its own.”
Matt Gross has dedicated his career to innovating and building affordable housing, economic opportunity, and sustainable communities. He believes that being “progressive” means actually working to create policies and programs that produce needed services and opportunities, particularly within communities of color. Matt’s extensive knowledge of public policy, process, and development, combined with a commitment to ensuring that the use of such be committed to productive and inclusive housing development, contribute to his successful track record as a developer who creates socially, economically, and environmentally responsible projects.
Professionally, Matt is an Executive Officer for Lettire Construction Corporation (Lettire) and Managing Director and Partner for Urban Builders Collaborative LLC (UBC), the development affiliate of Lettire, where he is responsible for $700 million of development in all phases, consisting of 1,200 apartments. As a volunteer, Matt has provided countless hours of pro bono support to many nonprofits, Black and Latino organizations, and community-based groups, lending his expertise to assist them in developing realistic projects, goals, and services for the communities they represent. He has been involved in the creation of safe and supportive spaces for domestic violence survivors, at-risk LGBTQ members, and people with mental health challenges.
In the words of a colleague, “Matt Gross is a man of outstanding intellect and knowledge when it comes to the vast intricacies of the financial and regulatory rules involving real estate. He has a special understanding of affordable housing. He applies his talent and knowledge to create countless quality affordable housing projects and employment opportunities for people in underserved communities. He is true to a community development model that includes community leaders, residents, elected officials, working in collaboration with their input and approvals.”
Genesis Perez is a graduate student at Hunter College School of Social Work, on track to receive her MSW in spring of 2022. In 2018, as a freshman at LaGuardia Community College, Genesis became a peer mentor for the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation (CHLDC) College Steps Office at the Brooklyn Lab School (Franklin K. Lane Campus), her alma mater. A first generation Dominican-American, Genesis provides support and inspiration for hundreds of young people to succeed in their quest to pursue higher education. Genesis first came to CHLDC as a participant in the Franklin K. Lane Campus Early College Awareness Program and the Student Success Center.
She credits the CHLDC Student Success Center with providing her with the guidance and confidence she needed to pursue a college degree. After completing her Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts, Genesis attended Hunter College where she received her B.A. in Social Work with honors. Most recently Genesis was accepted into Hunter College’s renowned School of Social Work as a Master’s Candidate with Advanced Standing. She has completed her social work internship hours as a counselor and coach for students at Brooklyn Lab School. Genesis plans to become a clinical social worker offering mental health services for young people in Cypress Hills and East New York. According to CHLDC Executive Director Michele Neugebauer, “While Genesis’s academic accomplishments are impressive, I believe it is her incredible commitment to giving back to her community that truly distinguishes her as a leader. With her limitless energy for helping young people and giving back, she is truly a role model for us all.”
Shai J Lauros
Emily Van Ingen