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Support Us

Support Us

Our Impact

As a nonprofit organization, Breaking Ground relies on the financial support of companies, foundations and individuals to realize our mission. With your generous donation, Breaking Ground can consistently meet the following annual benchmarks:

Ensure that 98%* of individuals remain housed 12 months later

*Clients exiting homelessness to permanent supportive housing

Help more than 500 homeless New Yorkers come indoors to transitional or permanent housing.
Make progress on over 1,000 new units of supportive and affordable housing in our development pipeline

Ways to Give

Thank you for your contribution to Breaking Ground's mission. Together, we can help thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers restore their lives.

Donate Online

Giving online is quick, easy and secure. Donate today! Please note that PayPal and Venmo are now integrated into our secure donation forms as payment options.


Donate Cryptocurrency

We now accept gifts of Bitcoin and more than 40 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), through our partners at The Giving Block.

Donate Crypto

By Mail

Please make checks payable to Breaking Ground, and mail to:

External Affairs Department
Breaking Ground

505 8th Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Breaking Ground is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization as designated by the IRS; EIN 11-3048002.


Group Volunteering

Volunteering with Breaking Ground offers a great way to do team-building with a purpose. We provide a variety of opportunities throughout the year for groups of corporate volunteers. When your group volunteers with us, you help to enrich the lives of our residents through events such as serving meals or repainting portions of our buildings. In addition, groups are vital to our largest volunteer event of the year, the HOPE (Homeless Outreach Population Estimate) Count.

Please contact Vanessa Miller to inquire about group opportunities, or with any other questions regarding volunteering: 212.389.9391 or [email protected].

Individual Volunteers

We currently have limited individual volunteer opportunities. Please reach out to us at [email protected] should you have questions or to learn more.

Junior Board

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The Junior Board is a group of young and committed leaders who volunteer their time and effort on behalf of vulnerable New Yorkers, as well as making monetary contributions and raising significant funding in support of Breaking Ground's programs. The committee’s mission is to:

  1. Raise awareness for Breaking Ground’s innovative and industry leading affordable housing solutions through educational programming.
  2. Fundraise to support street outreach, supportive housing programs, and any other Breaking Ground programs.
  3. Build a network of like-minded individuals who believe that “everyone deserves a home” and are passionate about creating a more livable city.

Member Benefits

Improve NYC: Volunteer at tenant buildings and organizational events.

Network: Meet, socialize, and work with motivated peers.

Educate: Learn and teach others about supportive housing and homelessness in NYC. Members have a firsthand opportunity to meet Breaking Ground tenants.

Give back: Raise funds to provide a variety of homelessness solutions to those in need and to prevent new instances of homelessness.

For more information, or to learn how to join us, please reach out to Vanessa Miller, Director of Special Events and Community Engagement.


Taylor Nelson

Senior Associate

Capital One

Taylor is a senior associate with Capital One’s Commercial Real Estate asset management group where he is responsible for managing a commercial portfolio of $700M across the Greater New York City area. Originally from Cincinnati, he moved to New York City after graduating from Elon University and quickly fell love with the city’s real estate. Taylor joined Breaking Ground’s Junior Board with the strong belief that a safe and stable home is central to every person’s wellbeing.

Taylor joined the Junior Board in 2018 and currently serves as President.

Preet Aneja

Analyst, Acquisitions

SL Green Realty Corp.

Preet joined the Junior Board in 2024.

Victor Destefano

President, New York Commercial State Plan

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield

Victor DeStefano is the President of the New York Commercial State Plan for Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, where he oversees coverage for over 3.5 million health insurance members. Prior to his current role, he led the commercial business division of Empire BCBS, successfully growing the Small Group, Large Group, and Individual market segments. Under his leadership, a dedicated team of over 50 associates are committed to advancing Empire's mission of improving the lives of all New Yorkers. Victor holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from Binghamton University and a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University, empowering him to make a substantial impact in New York's healthcare sector.

Betsy Durst

Vice President


Betsy Durst, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, joined the Junior Board in to help build a better life for New York City’s most vulnerable. Betsy holds a law degree from Brooklyn Law School and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business and Commercial Real Estate from the College of Charleston. Outside of work, Betsy enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling, and cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Betsy joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Lucas Durst

Director of Finance

The Durst Organization

Lucas grew up in northern Westchester County and joined the Junior Board to help break the cycle of perpetual homelessness and improve the New York City community in which he now lives. He is a 4th generation member of the Durst family and is Director of Finance for the organization. Lucas holds a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Finance from NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate and a Bachelor’s of Arts and Science Degree from Tufts University. In his free time Lucas loves to ski, kayak, and spend time on the beach.

Lucas joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Brad Elkin, CFA

Director, Commercial Real Estate Group

Capital One

Brad is originally from the Philadelphia area and joined the junior board to help improve the New York City community. He proactively works to create a positive impact through service with Breaking Ground. Brad is a Director in the Commercial Real Estate group at Capital One, an holds a Bachelors Degree in Finance from The University of Scranton. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports, snowboarding, reading, and fishing.

Brad joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Alex Engel

Project Manager

L+M Development Partners

Alex is a Project Manager for L+M Development in their Builders Group where he is responsible for managing construction projects in the NYC area. Alex grew up in New Jersey and moved to New York City after graduating from Purdue University with a B.S. in Construction Engineering. He enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with family and friends. Alex joined the Junior Board in 2018 to raise awareness of Breaking Ground and its housing and outreach programs.

Gary Evans

Managing Director, Portfolio Acquisitions


Gary Evans is a Managing Director at Hines with a focus on portfolio acquisitions in the Americas. Gary grew up in Washington, DC and has lived in Brooklyn since 2014. He joined the Junior Board to support Breaking Ground in combating homelessness in New York City. Gary earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, an MA in Economics from Boston University, and a BSE in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys playing soccer, running, watching movies, and traveling.

Gary joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Robbie Ferman

Associate Director, Private Capital Group


Robbie is an Associate Director in the Private Capital Group of Newmark. He is a major presence in the Downtown Brooklyn commercial brokerage scene. Robbie has structured many creative commercial real estate development transactions and has led the marketing and sale of multiple trophy assets throughout Western and Downtown Brooklyn. With his intuitive ability to structure complicated deals, Robbie advises local, national, and international capital for public and private institutions. To date, he has closed over 20 transactions for well over $100,000,000. Robbie’s driving desire to contribute to the City extends beyond the world of real estate. Robbie founded the Student Leadership Program for Family Reach, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to removing the financial barriers between cancer patients and their treatment. He’s also on the Real Estate Executives Committee at UJA. Robbie graduated from the Whitman Business School at Syracuse University. He is also an avid backcountry skier, hiker, golfer, and marathon runner.

He joined the Junior Board in 2022 and currently serves as Chair of the Fundraising & Events Committee.

Hedy Gutfreund



Hedy is a Private Equity Associate at KKR & Co on the Global Impact Fund, where she focuses on investing in solutions-oriented businesses. Before joining KKR in 2021, she previously worked in management consulting and philanthropy. Hedy grew up in downtown Chicago and graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History. Outside of work, she enjoys musical theater, podcasts, reading, and exploring NYC, and she joined the Junior Board to contribute to combating homelessness.

Hedy joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Caroline Haines

Global Product Lead, YouTube Awareness Ad Formats


Caroline got involved with Breaking Ground after participating in HOPE Count 2018 and seeing the impact Breaking Ground’s Street Outreach team can have first hand. Caroline spends much of her free time volunteering with organizations that serve the homeless population here in NYC and is passionate about Breaking Ground’s housing first mission. Caroline grew up in South Dakota, graduated from Scripps College, and is currently a Global Product Lead at Google.

Caroline joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Erika Hinman

Vice President


A native of the New York region, Erika returned to New York City in May 2013 after graduating from Colby College (located in the woods of rural Maine) with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a strong passion for skiing. She joined Breaking Ground’s Junior Board as a means to give back to the NYC community and meet other like-minded young professionals. Erika graduated from NYU Stern in May 2017, with an MBA in Finance and Real Estate, and currently works as a Vice President within Barclays' Commercial Real Estate Lending group. Besides working, volunteering, and organizing events for her friends, she also enjoys hiking and traveling.

Erika joined the Junior Board in 2014.

Zachary Kadden

Managing Director, Development

Madison Realty Capital

Zach is the Managing Director of Development for Madison Realty Capital. He focuses on Madison’s adaptive reuse commercial development projects as well as ground up developments, which include mixed-use and mixed-income components. Zach’s experience and education span real estate development, design, construction, legal, land use planning and policy. Zach earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is a member of the New York State Bar.

Zach joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Lauren Kimura, CPA

Vice President

Goldman Sachs

Lauren Kimura is a Vice President, Financial Reporting at Goldman Sachs. Previously, she served as a Senior Manager and other roles in EY’s Real Estate, Hospitality, and Construction audit practice in New York and Los Angeles. Inspired by the eclectic city and its vibrant people, Lauren is passionate about community engagement and improving the lives of others. Lauren holds a B.S. in Accounting and minor in Gerontology from University of Southern California. In her free time, Lauren loves to read, visit with friends and family, and try new restaurants in the city.

Lauren joined the Junior Board in 2021, and is its immediate past Presdient.

Tara King-Brown

Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker

The King Brown Team at the Corcoran Group

Tara King-Brown heads ‘The King-Brown Team’ at The Corcoran Group, the leading residential real estate brokerage based in New York City. She grew up and attended college in Vancouver, Canada but has lived in New York City since 2008, a city she is proud to call home. As a Junior Board member, she is able to support Breaking Ground's impactful initiatives towards safe and secure housing for all and help serve NYC’s most vulnerable residents. While she spends much of her time selling NYC real estate, she strongly believes that everyone deserves a home.

Tara joined the Junior Board in 2018 and is an avid supporter of Breaking Ground’s incredible cause.

Eve LaRoche

Chief of Staff to the COO


Eve LaRoche works at BentallGreenOak (BGO) where she serves as Chief of Staff to the Chief Operating Officer overseeing the $83Bn AUM global business. She joined BGO in August 2021 as a member of the firm’s acquisitions team and previously spent five years pursuing acquisitions at J.P. Morgan on their U.S. Real Estate team. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service where she majored in Chinese Studies. Eve is also a small business owner with a passion for hospitality, cooking, horticulture, and giving back.

Eve joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Tatiana Melamed

Senior Vice President

Vornado Realty Trust

Tatiana Melamed is a Senior Vice President on the Acquisitions and Capital Markets Team at Vornado Realty Trust, a fully-integrated publicly traded REIT (NYSE: VNO). Tatiana joined Vornado in 2017 and her responsibilities span asset-level acquisitions and financings, corporate strategy and capital markets, and asset management for stabilized and development properties. Prior to joining Vornado, Tatiana was an Analyst on the Debt Capital Markets team at UBS Investment Bank. Tatiana received her BBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Tatiana also serves on the Leadership Board of NYPEN Real Estate, the Advisory Board of the Michigan Ross Real Estate Fund, and the New York Board of Fundación Tzedaká,

Tatiana Melamed joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Nicole Napolitano

Vice President

Benefit Street Partners

Nicole Napolitano is a Vice President at Benefit Street Partners where she focuses on commercial real estate debt and equity originations. Nicole graduated with a BSc in Management from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, where she majored in Finance and Marketing.

Nicole joined the Junior Board in 2019.

TC Neuhs

Vice President, Financial Operations

Urban Atelier Group

TC Neuhs is the Vice President of Financial Operations at Urban Atelier Group, a New York-based construction management firm. TC provides executive oversight and direction of financial business practices and is responsible for identifying and implementing key strategies and goals to ensure operational success. TC was born in New York and attended Tufts University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with dual minors in Engineering Management and Architectural Studies. TC is actively involved in various supportive and affordable housing developments at UAG and joined Breaking Ground to further the mission of strengthening communities by developing equitable housing and programs for vulnerable New Yorkers. In his spare time, you'll find TC spending time with his family and on the golf course.

TC joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Christopher Ong

Financial Lead

Divvy Homes

Chris is the Finance Lead at Divvy Homes, a proptech startup making homeownership accessible to everyone. He is focused on helping drive strategic initiatives and manage the company's balance sheet and capital markets activity. Originally from Myanmar, he moved to New York City after graduating from Duke University with dual majors in Economics and Computer Science. In his free time, Chris enjoys skiing and playing soccer.

Chris joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Ryan Peabody

Vice President

Starwood Capital Group

Ryan Peabody is a Vice President at Starwood Capital Group, where he heads Data Science for the firm. Prior to Starwood, Ryan worked at the Blackstone Group and Amne Homes, a single-family instant offer platform that was active in Texas. Ryan holds an M.S. in Physical Oceanography from Duke University and a B.A. from Bowdoin College.

Ryan joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Sarah Pizer

Development Director

The Hudson Companies

Sarah is a Development Director at The Hudson Companies, where she manages a wide range of real estate developments with a focus on affordable housing. A native New Yorker, Sarah is passionate about sustainable and equitable urban development, and is deeply aligned with Breaking Ground's mission to provide stable housing for the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.

Sarah joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Daniel Raymer

Managing Associate

Sidley Austin

Dan is a Managing Associate in Sidley Austin LLP’s Investment Funds group. His practice includes representing clients in the offering and formation of alternative investment funds, including private equity funds, hedge funds and real estate funds. In addition, Dan regularly represents both issuers and underwriters in a variety of public and private debt and equity transactions by REITs, including initial public offerings. Dan earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from American University.

Dan joined the Junior Board in 2023.

Fritz Richter

Director, Tri-State Investment Sales Group

Avison Young

Fritz is a Director with Avison Young’s Tri-State Investment Sales group where he is responsible for the firm's work in the Boroughs of Manhattan. Within his role, Fritz works closely with various Non-profit and Affordable Development groups, which is how he was introduced to the team at Breaking Ground. Fritz grew up in New York, attended Colgate University in Upstate New York, and has lived in New York since graduation – driving his passion to give back to the city that he calls home.

Fritz joined the Junior Board in 2022.

Jovana Rizzo

Director of Corporate Communications

The Durst Organization

Jovana Rizzo joined the Breaking Ground Junior Board in 2022 after working with the organization for nearly a decade as a PR consultant at BerlinRosen. She is the Director of Corporate Communications at The Durst Organization. She has a BA in Journalism from New York University and lives in Brooklyn.

Eva Schneider


Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Eva is an associate in the Real Estate, Energy, Land Use & Environmental Practice Group at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. Eva works on a range of real estate, land use and environmental matters. Eva is a native New Yorker; she attended Bronx High School of Science, Barnard College of Columbia University, and Fordham University School of Law. At Fordham Law, Eva was a Stein Scholar for Public Interest, helped found the Housing Advocacy Project, served as the Senior Articles Editor of the Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 45, and received the Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award, magna cum laude, for her dedication to pro bono and community service work. Eva cares deeply about her city and her fellow New Yorkers, and fundamentally believes that every single person deserves access to safe, stable and affordable housing.

Eva joined the Junior Board in 2022.

Emma Scott

Associate, Trading/Analytics/Securitization

Annaly Capital Management

Emma is an Associate at Annaly Capital Management, Inc. focusing on whole loans and securitized products within the Residential Credit Group. Annaly’s Residential Credit Group provides financing to homeowners who are under served by traditional bank channels. Prior to working at Annaly, Emma worked in investment banking and received a B.S. in Finance from Wake Forest University.

Emma joined the Junior Board in 2023 and currently serves as Chair of the Engagement Committee.

Christine Shin

Head of Capital Markets

SDC Capital Partners

Christine is Head of Capital Markets at SDC Capital Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on digital infrastructure. Born and raised in L.A., Christine went to college at Penn and has since lived on the east coast. Christine has volunteered with and raised funds for various non-profit organizations helping underserved and disadvantaged communities and joined the Junior Board to support Breaking Ground’s mission of combating homelessness in NYC.

Christine joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Avery Silverstein

Executive Managing Director


Avery Silverstein is an Executive Managing Director with Newmark's New York Capital Markets Team, with a focus on commercial real estate sale transactions in New York City. Avery has worked in NYC real estate for 10 years, previously working at Eastdil Secured and Cushman & Wakefield prior to Newmark. Avery holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics from Brown University, where she played four years of Division I Women’s Softball. Avery has lived in New York City since 2013 and became interested in Breaking Ground’s mission, particularly the way in which the Organization uses real estate as a way to serve the city she loves.

Avery joined the Junior Board in 2018.

Melanie Zaraska


Apollo Global Management

Based in NYC, Melanie is an associate on the Real Estate Credit team at Apollo Global Management where she focuses on financing transactions across all commercial real estate asset types across the country. Melanie was introduced to Breaking Ground while researching adaptive reuse strategies for struggling assets and was thoroughly impressed by the success of the organization, wanting to get more involved in its future growth. Melanie graduated from Dartmouth College in 2019 with a BA in economics. She grew up in Toronto, Canada, and enjoys hiking, swimming, skiing, coffee and maple syrup.

Melanie joined the junior board in 2024.

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Taylor Nelson

Senior Associate

Taylor is a senior associate with Capital One’s Commercial Real Estate asset management group where he is responsible for managing a commercial portfolio of $700M across the Greater New York City area. Originally from Cincinnati, he moved to New York City after graduating from Elon University and quickly fell love with the city’s real estate. Taylor joined Breaking Ground’s Junior Board with the strong belief that a safe and stable home is central to every person’s wellbeing.

Taylor joined the Junior Board in 2018 and currently serves as President.