Vanessa Leung joined CACF as Co-Executive Director in April 2017. She has served the education community through her career, advocating on behalf of Asian Pacific American students and English Language Learners in New York City public schools. She was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to the the Panel for Educational Policy and has been Chair of the PEP since January 2014. She currently also sits on the Advisory Panel for the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education.
Prior to returning to CACF, for three years she was the Director of Member Initiatives at FPWA (formerly, the Federation for Protestant Welfare Agencies), where she was responsible for membership recruitment and engaging 200 community based and faith based member organizations, and worked with a team to provide professional development, grants, and other resources to support and strengthen nonprofits throughout the City.
While Deputy Director for CACF, she was responsible for the development of a pan-Asian children’s advocacy agenda to improve policies, funding, and services for the Asian Pacific American community. As Education Policy and Program Coordinator of CACF, she authored Hidden in Plain View, a report detailing Asian and Pacific American students’ needs, and worked alongside other advocates on the creation of Chancellor’s Regulation A-663, mandating comprehensive interpretation and translation services, as well as the Dignity in All Schools Act which reduces bias-based harassment in schools.
Vanessa spearheaded a high school youth leadership project, the Asian American Student Advocacy Project (ASAP) that trains a diverse group of high school students to advocate for the needs of Asian Pacific American students. In 2007, she was named a member of the City Council’s Middle School Task Force.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She also completed the Middle Management Program of the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management at the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University, the CORO New York Immigrant Civic Leadership Program, and the CRE Leadership Caucus. Vanessa currently lives with her husband and three sons on Staten Island.