Debra-Ellen Glickstein

Executive Director, NYC Kids RISE

New York, NY

Co-Create Policy, Prioritize Equity, Shift Capital  |  Community Economic Development, Local Government

Debra-Ellen builds institutions and systems to expand economic opportunities with and for working families and neighborhoods.

Debra-Ellen Glickstein has spent nearly 20 years working with communities to expand economic opportunities. Debra-Ellen currently serves as the Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE, a non-profit organization working to create child savings accounts for every New York City public school student. Previously, Glickstein served as the Executive Director of New York City’s Office of Financial Empowerment, the first municipal office in the country focused on creating innovative financial products, programs and services to enable asset building and wealth creation for low income New Yorkers and neighborhoods. She has served as the Vice President of Strategy & Program Development at the New York City Housing Authority, where she led efforts to create and implement NYCHA’s neighborhood and partnership-based resident services strategy. She is a co-founder and served as the founding Executive Director of Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization that supports public housing residents to achieve economic success through college counseling, financial planning, career training and job placement assistance.  She is also a co-founder and member of the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union – a community-owned financial institution created to provide public housing residents in Western Queens with access to affordable and relevant financial services. She earned a B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University, an M.B.A. from the NYU Stern School of Business and M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Named a “40 Under 40 Rising Star” in New York City government and politics by City and State, Glickstein is a proud City Year alumnus and recipient of the Comcast Alumni Leadership Award, City’s Year highest alumni honor. Glickstein is a 2016 BALLE Local Economy Fellow and the recipient of other honors, including the New York Mets & Fidelity Investments’ Inspire the Future Award, Outstanding Community Contribution Award from the Long Island City YMCA, Outstanding Contribution to Woodside Houses, Outstanding Community Service Award to Queensbridge Houses, and selection as a Resident at the Harvard Innovation Lab, New York City Government Scholar and an Investors’ Circle Venture Fellow.


  • Returned more than $250 million in tax credits and refunds to New Yorkers through 2015 free tax preparation and an earned income tax credit campaign.
  • Expanded economic opportunities for tens of thousands of public housing residents through leading efforts to design and implement new partnership-based resident services model.
  • Empowered more than 1,000 public housing residents to increase their earnings through living wage jobs with career ladders as a result of the launch and growth of the NYCHA Resident Training Academy.
  • Connected thousands of public housing residents to affordable and safe financial services through the creation of the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union.
  • Co-Founded Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization, to partner with residents, businesses, philanthropy and government to drive resources into public housing communities in Western Queens.