The RBF Legacy Project Team


Logo Robert Bowne Foundation LegacyThe Robert Bowne Foundation Legacy Project was initiated late in 2011 in anticipation of the Foundation’s closing. A pressing need was recognized to authentically capture the work, philosophy and practices of RBF in a way that would be accessible to programs, practitioners, and other foundations — in the present and going forward into the future.

Over the next four years, the RBF Legacy Project Team, through extensive research, observation and visual media documentation, set about this ambitious task. The current body of work is the consequence of numerous observations, interviews, site visits, photography, video, writing and analysis undertaken over this period. The talents and hard work of the individual team members listed below were crucial in seeing the intentions of this unique project come to full realization.


Lena Townsend at deskLENA TOWNSEND 
- Executive Director 

Lena O. Townsend joined the Robert Bowne Foundation in 2000 as program officer and served as executive director from 2001 to the Foundation’s closing in 2015. She previously served as director of Community Initiatives for the Institute for Literacy Studies at Lehman College, CUNY. Her prime assets include knowledge of grantmaking, management practices, and the teaching of reading and writing. She has extensive experience in developing and directing professional development initiatives for youth practitioners, adult educators and teachers and has published articles in the areas of reading, professional development and adult literacy. She holds an M.A. in reading from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an M.P.A. in not-for-profit management and policy from NYU’s Wagner School.

Contact at bownefoundation@gmail.com


Anne Lawrence smiling headshotANNE LAWRENCE – Program Officer 

Anne Lawrence joined the Robert Bowne Foundation as program officer in 2002. She provided technical assistance in RBF initiatives from 1987 until she became program officer. She has managed adult literacy education and volunteer programs, professional development, evaluation at Literacy Partners, Literacy Assistance Center, the City University of New York and the New York Public Library Centers for Reading and Writing. Her strengths are developing and initiating capacity building and professional development initiatives, community building and her knowledge of literacy instruction. She has published articles in the areas of evaluation, adult and youth literacy and professional development. She is continuing RBF’s literacy professional development and OST field building through a legacy grant to the Center for Educational Options.

Contact at annehlawrence@gmail.com


Janice Hirota HeadshotJANICE M. HIROTA – Lead Researcher 

Janice Hirota has deep experience in applying her social science knowledge and skills to examine critical social issues in urban America. Such research relies on observation and interview methodologies to elicit the insights and perspectives of those involved. She has employed her social science perspective, skills, and on-the-ground experience to examine social change efforts – either as an employee or as an independent consultant — for a number of public and private institutions. These have included: the Carnegie Foundation, Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, the Ford Foundation, the Office of Policy and Program Development, New York City Human Resources Administration, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, New Visions for Public Schools, and the Robert Bowne Foundation.


Sara Schwabacher2sm smiling headshotSARA SCHWABACHER – Researcher/Writer 

Sara Schwabacher is an independent Educational Consultant who helps develop and implement cultural and educational programs that address community needs, build capacity and support systemic change.  She has extensive experience in the areas of literacy professional development, community-based education, establishing partnerships, research and evaluation, inclusive dance education and performance, educational reform, facilitating planning processes and study groups.  She has worked with a wide range of organizations include the American Reading Council, New Visions for Public Schools, Cornerstone National Literacy Initiative, American Dance Legacy Initiative, Born Dancing, BronxWorks, and Educational Video Center. She served as researcher and writer for the Robert Bowne Legacy Project as a member of Janice Hirota & Associates.

Contact at saraschwab@aol.com


Josh Mackie headshot with ocean backgroundJOSH MACKIE – Media Producer 

Josh Mackie is a writer and filmmaker based in New York and is the chief media producer for the Robert Bowne Foundation’s Legacy Project. Josh also teaches in the McGhee division at New York University, where he was the recipient of the division’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015. He is currently in post-production on the first segment of an independent documentary series, “The Collectors”.

Contact at joshmackie@yahoo.com

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