The Black Institute has been founded upon the vision of Bertha Lewis, a life-long community activist and organizer. Bertha’s work as a leader has been recognized time and again by several prominent organizations. She was one of ten national recipients of the 2004 Citizen Activist Award of the Gleitsman Foundation for her work in public education reform. She received the 2005 New York State Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. Leon Bogues award for community and political activism. Ms. Lewis was also named by Crain’s magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Women of New York in 2007 and was named as an “Influential” in politics by New York Magazine in 2006. Bertha’s work has included almost 20 years as an ACORN organizer, a tenure that culminated in October 2008 with her appointment as the CEO and Chief Organizer. During that tenure, Bertha led a complete top-to-bottom restructuring, and helped guide the organization through a rain of unrelenting right-wing attacks seeking to undermine its mission to empower low- and moderate-income families. As a lifelong community activist and organizer, Bertha has accumulated invaluable knowledge of the struggles, concerns and hopes of our country’s minority population. All of these experiences have created a unique perspective which she will bring to the Black Institute.