Executive Biographies

Executive Director

Rev. Vivian Nixon is the Executive Director of the Community and College Fellowship (CCF), an innovative organization that enables formerly incarcerated women to access higher education and leadership development skills that lead to economic security. CCF is unique in helping formerly incarcerated women to acquire education at the college level and beyond; most reentry programs provide little beyond GED support and vocational training. Twitter: @CCFEducates

Rev. Nixon is herself a graduate of CCF, having joined the program in 2001 following a period of incarceration during which, as a tutor for other incarcerated women, she witnessed firsthand how lack of access to education impeded people’s ability to escape the cycle of poverty and recidivism. Under her direction, CCF nearly 400 formerly incarcerated women have received services to support their quests for higher education and personal development. Program participants have completed more than 200 college degrees ranging from associate’s degrees to doctorates. Less than 2% of the program participants have had subsequent criminal justice involvement.

Rev. Nixon’s leadership on educational issues includes co-founding the Education from the Inside/Out Coalition (EIO) a group chaired by CCF and the Fortune Society’s David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy to (among other things) restore eligibility for Pell Grants among people in prison. www.eiocoalition.org Twitter: @eio_coalition

Having emerged as a leading proponent of access to higher education among incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, Rev. Nixon serves on the board of directors of the Fortune Society and on the advisory boards of the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College, the Interfaith Coalition of Advocates for Reentry and Employment (ICARE), and Reentry Net. Rev. Nixon is a 2005 Soros Justice Fellow, a 2007 Petra Fellow and a 2012 Ascend Fellow with the Aspen Institute.

A frequently sought out public speaker, panelist, spoken word artist, teacher, spiritual coach and preacher, Rev. Nixon is available for social, political and religious commentary, preaching, motivational speaking, teaching, poetry reading, acting, guest blogging, writing, and spiritual coaching. She has published a variety of poems, articles and book chapters and is currently working on two books: Sermons to Myself: A Collection of Sermons Written in Prison by Prisoners and Guilty and Saved: The Spiritual Journey of a Preacher Woman in Prison.

Contact: vnixon@collegeandcommunity.org


Peter Bakstansky recently retired as senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a member of the bank’s management committee after 30 years. During that time he was in charge of the public information area and also was responsible for the Office of Regional and Community Affairs. He served as the ombudsman of the bank and was the senior administrative officer for the executive group.

Prior to joining the Fed, Mr. Bakstansky served in several capacities at Chase Manhattan Bank starting in 1966, including six years in Europe, based in Paris and Brussels, and from 1972-74 as vice president and director of public relations at Chase’s head office. Before that, Mr. Bakstansky was a business news writer for several newspapers in New York, including serving as banking editor of the New York Herald Tribune from 1964 to mid-1966, when it closed. He received a bachelor of business administration degree from City College of New York in 1961. In addition, he has studied at the Graduate School of the University of Illinois and at New York University's Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Bakstansky is a member of the board of directors of The World Press Institute, St. Paul, Minnesota; a member of the board of advisors of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship at Columbia University, and chair of The College and Community Fellowship, an educational foundation in New York City. He also is a founder and a board member of The Alumni and Friends of LaGuardia High School Inc., a not-for-profit organization, which is assisting the New York City high school. Mr. Bakstansky is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is married and lives in Manhattan.

Contact College and Community Fellowship:

475 Riverside Drive,
Suite 1626
New York, NY 10115

Phone: 646-380-7777
Fax: 646-745-2539

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