Doe Fund appoints former board member Cornegy as executive vice president of external affairs
A worker from the Doe Fund, Ready, Willing and Able reintegration program. Photo file eagle
The Doe Fund, which provides paid work, housing and comprehensive support services to formerly homeless and incarcerated men in New York City, has named former Brooklyn councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr. as vice -Executive President of External Affairs.
After serving the Bedford-Stuyvesant community where he grew up — and where The Doe Fund began its work — Cornegy has been stripped of his duties for a limited time. One of his legacies is the Kalief Browder bill, which requires the Department of Corrections to provide mental health, education, and job training services to inmates before they are sentenced.
When Cornegy returned to his community after playing professional basketball overseas, he found friends and former teammates struggling with mental illness and addiction. With the money he had earned as an athlete, he opened a residential treatment center for a population then called MICA (mentally ill drug addicts).
He soon encountered the Doe Fund, which used sophisticated drug testing equipment at its Gates Avenue facility. Cornegy asked Doe Fund Chairman George McDonald for permission to use the equipment to test his MICA clients, beginning a long partnership.
“The circle is complete for me. Even before I became elected, I wanted to help people overcome challenges and lead productive lives. The Doe Fund gave me that chance when I started. Today, it gives me that chance again,” says Cornegy.
After realizing he could have a greater impact as a public servant, Cornegy ran for city council. “The Doe Fund was a resource and a partner from the start. Losing George last year makes this especially meaningful. I will use my expertise and experience to honor his legacy, advance the Doe Fund’s stellar reputation and expand this vital work,” he said.
Regarding Cornegy’s appointment, Mayor Eric Adams said, “I congratulate Robert Cornegy, Jr., my longtime friend and colleague in public service, for joining The Doe Fund and continuing his mission to advance the racial and economic justice for our neighbors in need. Robert brings the expertise, empathy and energy to tackle this much-needed work and amplify the voices of vulnerable New Yorkers.
“The Doe Fund is not your typical non-profit organization,” says President Harriet Karr-McDonald. “We operate social enterprises that generate millions of dollars in revenue, which goes into our programs and into the pockets of the men we serve. This innovation eases the burden on taxpayers and the government. In addition to Robert’s commitment to helping vulnerable people realize their potential, he has decades of experience in housing, finance and business development.
As Executive Vice President of External Affairs, Cornegy will identify and secure funds and political capital to execute the organization’s mission and key strategic objectives. He will introduce key government and private sector stakeholders to the work and objectives of the Doe Fund. Cornegy’s expertise in small business development will help advance the organization’s social enterprises and explore innovative new avenues like social co-ops.
“The Doe Fund remains a formidable leader in providing work opportunities where society has largely fallen behind. The next logical step is to provide ownership. Owning brings with it a sense of pride, dignity and longevity,” says Cornegy.
Cornegy will consider the lived experiences of his Doe Fund colleagues, 70% of whom are graduates of the program. “Having credible messengers who have overcome homelessness, incarceration and addiction is a game-changer. These are the true future leaders of this movement and their voices need to be heard,” says Cornegy.