Jan Peterson is a lifelong local activist and the inspiration for Small World Day Care, Swinging Sixties Senior Center, Neighborhood Women of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, GREC, and St. Nicks Alliance. Jan, who has worn many hats in North Brooklyn, will step aside from overseeing the day to day activities at the Huairou Commission. The Huairou Commission is a UN chartered International effort to empower women and neighborhoods to create affordable housing and build community. It is headquartered in Williamsburg at 249 Manhattan Avenue, where from the beginning Jan Peterson has served as its Founding and Executive Director. “Jan’s international work draws on her experience in Greenpoint and Williamsburg,” said Michael Rochford, Executive Director of St. Nicks Alliance.
The Huairou Commission Coordinating Council on June 27th announced that Maureen Friar has taken over the helm as Executive Director. “The leaders of Huairou spent many months involved in a global search for a new leader and we unanimously feel confident that we found her,” said Jan Peterson, chair of the Coordinating Council and founding Executive Director. “I am thrilled that someone with Maureen’s competencies and experience will be taking over. Most importantly, Maureen is committed to the same mission and values Huairou has been taking leadership on for twenty years — repositioning grassroots women’s organizations and creating a new partnership paradigm for these organizations and their local communities.”
Ms. Friar officially took the helm on June 20th, and brings twenty-five years of experience leading nonprofit associations focused on affordable housing and finance, community development and disability rights. She has spent the last three years as the Strategic Development Officer at Community Access, a New York nonprofit that develops supportive housing for low income families and formerly homeless individuals living with mental health conditions and other special needs. She will help expand the capacity of the Huairou Commission in its mission to build and empower networks of grassroots women’s organizations in their community development practice and to exercise collective political power globally.
“I am delighted to be spearheading Huairou’s transition to a bottom-up grassroots, member-led organization that better reflects the organization’s mission. The maturity of grassroots women’s organizations affirms that new forms of leadership are available and essential to ending poverty and securing gender-equitable, sustainable development. Joining Huairou at this time, when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda are unfolding, is especially exciting.”