Meet our New Board Chair, Marcia Bystryn

“It’s all the things I’ve always cared about, but right in my own backyard.” 

Our new board chair at Goddard Riverside and the Isaacs Center has a wealth of experience with city and state issues. Marcia Bystryn says what drew her to get involved here is the chance to make a difference in her neighborhood.  

“I was walking around the Upper West Side, where I live, and I realized I was so little involved with my own community,” she said. “That really is the charm for me with Goddard.” 

Bystryn has served on the boards of the Natural Areas Conservancy and Our Energy Policy, and as vice chair of the Peconic Land Trust. She headed the New York League of Conservation Voters for nearly two decades before stepping down in 2018. She’s worked in government, too—as New York City’s Assistant Commissioner of Recycling in the first half of the 1990s. 

“I’m very into governance,” she said. “I’m really interested in how not-for-profits work and in playing a constructive role in their governance.” 

Bystryn joined the Goddard board back in 2015. She replaces lawyer Christopher Auguste, who served as long as term limits would allow, and who remains on the board. She set out  two main priorities as chair: making sure the ongoing merger of Goddard and the Isaacs Center concludes smoothly, and looking at whether our programs can and should change to reflect changing realities in the city. “Goddard has done so much since the beginning of Rod Jones’ tenure as president,”she said. “I’m really sort of focused on the big picture of where we’re going.” 

One thing Bystryn has confidence in is the abilities of the people she’ll be working with: “I am extremely impressed with the staff of Goddard. I’ve met such a range of talented people and hope to get to know them better. And the board too—this is a smart and committed board and it’s going to be fun working with them.”