Board and Staff
Frank T. Modica, Chairman, served as Executive Director of Hamilton-Madison House, a more-than-century-old Lower East Side settlement house, for 35 years. Mr. Modica, a Licensed Master Social Worker, serves on the boards of a number of local, national, and international organizations including United Neighborhood Centers of America and International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers. Mr. Modica has served on the Board of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council since 1977.
Debbie Leung, an expert in tenant advocacy and tenant-landlord mediation, was previously a housing advocate at the Chinatown organization It’s Time, Inc. She has over 25 years of experience fighting housing discrimination and preventing displacement of tenants. Ms. Leung now heads up the Two Bridges Tenant Anti-displacement Project.
Victor J. Papa has served on the board of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council since the early 1980s. A lifelong neighborhood resident, Mr. Papa works to preserve the unique character and diversity of the Lower East Side. Mr. Papa was previously Executive Director of the Lower East Side Catholic Area Conference. He also serves as Executive Director of Immigrant Social Services, Inc., and serves on the board of Hamilton-Madison House.
Joseph M. Perello is Managing Partner of Catch New York, an integrated advertising and marketing agency with a wide array of national and international clients. He previously served as New York City’s first-ever Chief Marketing Officer under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and as Vice President of Business Development for the New York Yankees. He has lectured about marketing at Harvard, Stanford and NYU. Joseph also serves on the board of the Armory Foundation.
Vincent S. Wong is an attorney whose practice focuses on corporate, business, and immigration law. He was previously a Senior Associate at Arent Fox LLP, and a Corporate Associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
Victor J. Papa, President/Director, has been on the staff of Two Bridges since 1996. For over a decade, he has championed recreational access to the East River Waterfront, which is finally coming to fruition as the city implements its plans for the East River Waterfront Esplanade and Pier 42 Park. He also spearheaded the designation of the Two Bridges Historic District, the Chinatown & Little Italy Historic District, and the Bowery Historic District, to celebrate the history, culture, and architecture of the Lower East Side while preserving affordable housing.
In 2009, Victor initiated the first Annual Marco Polo Day to celebrate the history and future of Chinatown & Little Italy. This annual event continues to grow in scope and popularity. Mr. Papa leads Two Bridges’ efforts to identify and pursue opportunities to preserve and create new affordable housing in the neighborhoods we serve.
Kerri Culhane, Associate Director, consulted for Two Bridges between 2002-2011, during which time she completed the documentation and successful nomination of four National Register historic districts in Two Bridges’ service area: Two Bridges, the Lower East Side Boundary Increase, Chinatown & Little Italy, and The Bowery. In 2010, Two Bridges received the New York State Historic Preservation Award for Outstanding National Register Nomination for the Chinatown & Little Italy Historic District designation. In December 2011, she was named associate director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. Kerri leads Two Bridges’ engagement in community planning in collaboration with city agencies, political leaders, universities, designers, local residents, and other community-based organizations. She currently spearheads the South Street Stakeholders Coalition to reconnect public and private uplands to the East River waterfront through innovative, world-class environmental design. Kerri holds an M.A in Architectural History & Historic Preservation from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she minored in Planning; and a Master’s in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design from the Conway School in Massachusetts.
Elisa Rae Espiritu, Director of Development, joined Two Bridges in June 2012, and oversees the organization’s fundraising initiatives and events, all of which aim to highlight the rich residential, commercial, and cultural life of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In earlier work with the organization, Elisa programmed the second annual Marco Polo Day Festival in 2010.
A New York City native, Elisa has nearly a decade of experience working with many premiere non-profit organizations in the greater NYC area, including The Posse Foundation, The Chinatown Working Group, and the Council of Urban Professionals. Elisa also serves on the Board of Directors of Chinatown Youth Initiatives (CYI), and remains an active volunteer with the International YMCA.
Elisa holds a B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Christine Keefe, PhD., Director of Community Programs, joined Two Bridges in December 2011. She brings to Two Bridges over ten years of teaching experience and curriculum design. She has worked in public and private schools, in formal and informal learning settings, teaching students from primary through university levels; she currently sits on the National STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) Advisory Board, guiding the vision of Teach for America’s current STEM initiatives. As Two Bridges’ Director of Community Programs, Christine develops and maintains the partnership network necessary to deploy a robust community program comprising recreation, skills development, STEM education, arts & culture, while establishing an access point to needed social services for building residents.
Debbie Leung has been working as a bi-lingual (Chinese-English) tenant advocate in the Chinatown community for over 35 years. She is well known to the Asian community, especially to those in need of assistance in tenant-landlord issues. Her work responds to the needs of vulnerable low-income families, and allows Two Bridges to take an active role in important advocacy work, social service referrals and tenant-landlord court appearances.
Wilson Soo, Program Manager, was born and raised in the Lower East Side. For over 10 years, Wilson has worked for local non-profit organizations that provide much needed services to the Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side and the Two Bridges communities.
Since joining Two Bridges Neighborhood Council in 2004, Wilson has worked closely with community-based organizations; he represents Two Bridges on issues pertaining to the advocacy and development of the community, including the Chinatown Working Group and Lower East Side Waterfront Alliance. Wilson is a Public Member of Community Board 3’s Waterfront Subcommittee. At the Chinatown Summer Street Festival in August 2011, Wilson was honored by Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) “for his dedication and contribution to building green and healthy communities."
Michael Tsang, Program Assistant, was born and raised in the Lower East Side. Prior to coming to Two Bridges, Michael tutored children in the summer and after-school programs run by the neighborhood institution, Immigrant Social Services. Michael represents Two Bridges as a member of the Local Spokes Bicycling Coalition and the Local Spokes Communications Committee; the Lower East Side Prevention Coalition; and also assists with Two Bridges’ community programs. He manages Two Bridges’ social media & web site. Michael studied media at Brooklyn College, and is certified as an EMT.