LES Community Hero – Special Acknowledgement
An urban planner by profession, Michael Zisser first came to know University Settlement (US) and the people of the Lower East Side community by working as a summer camp counselor at the University Settlement sleep-away camp in 1966. He returned in the ‘80s as a board member of US while he was a professor and the Director of the Planning Program at Pratt, and then became Executive Director in 1986, and CEO (also of The Door) in 2012. Over the last three-plus decades he has stewarded the historic settlement house – America’s first – out of challenging fiscal circumstances, steadily developing the scope and depth of programming, and ultimately growing the organization tenfold. Over the years Michael has nurtured a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary team of people who work as partners with their neighbors to increase equity and wellbeing– person by person and across the community.