Maria Torres-Springer is vice president for US programs. She oversees the foundation’s domestic programming for Civic Engagement and Government, Creativity and Free Expression, Just Cities and Regions, Technology and Society, Future of Work(ers), and Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice.
Previously, Maria spent almost 15 years in public service with the City of New York. She has led three agencies with over 3,000 employees and approximately $2 billion in annual operating budgets, addressing some of the city’s most significant public policy challenges. Throughout her tenure in government, she worked to create powerful partnerships among communities, business, and the agencies she has led in pursuit of expanded economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.
Maria served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the nation's largest municipal housing agency. She led the implementation of Housing New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s five-borough, 12-year plan to create or preserve 300,000 affordable homes. During her tenure, she steered the financing of approximately 60,000 affordable homes, more than any two-year period in HPD’s history. She focused on the production of housing for the city’s most vulnerable communities while launching several new programs to protect tenants’ rights.
Earlier, as the first woman to serve as president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Maria led the implementation of the new city-wide ferry service and made major investments in key sectors of New York City’s economy. Marshaling the energy and drive of community leaders, she also spearheaded several neighborhood revitalization plans across the city.
As commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, Maria prioritized efforts to raise wages and support women- and immigrant-owned businesses. She also launched Women Entrepreneurs NYC and, with the innovative Tech Talent Pipeline program, worked to prepare New Yorkers for 21st-century jobs.
Maria also served previously as executive vice president and chief of staff at NYCEDC during the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and as chief operating officer for Friends of the High Line.
Maria earned her bachelor's degree in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale University and a master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is on the boards of the Association for a Better New York Foundation, Living Cities, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). She serves as co-chair of the GoVoteNYC Fund and is a member of the New York Women’s Forum as well as the Visiting Committee of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Previously, Maria served as Chair of the NYC Housing Development Corporation and on the boards of the New York City Housing Authority and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.