Sandi Franlkin (left) resigned from her position of executive director of the Center for the Urban Environment last week. She had taken over from founder John Muir in 2002 and during her tenure, the center moved into its LEED Gold certified home on 7th St. in Gowanus and celebrated its 30th birthday.
“A lot of non-profits are going through a hard time right now,” said Aisha Glover (right), director of public affairs. “But everybody is really hopeful about moving forward.”
Glover said that Franklin’s departure is difficult coupled with the center’s financial struggles, but she expressed her gratitude to the board of directors for stepping in and “helping us through this tough time.”
The board has appointed Patricia Synan, first vice chair of the board and a retired NYC Community School Superintendent, to serve as interim executive director.
Glover explained that Synan’s education background will be helpful for CUE and there will be “a lot of new opportunities.”
Franklin did not have an education background when she started at CUE. “I didn’t go to get this job because I was an educator or an environmentalist. I was very interested in something that’s a non-profit dilemma, which is: How do you take over from a founder?” she told the Eagle in December.
In addition to finding CUE a new home, Franklin said, since she started, “We updated all of our curricula. We professionalized the staff. We became much more community oriented in terms of starting the small business network because we understand that the environment is also an economic environment.”
Passionate about her job and her mission, Franklin said, “It’s a quiet revolution. I think its getting louder among [the activists.] But I don’t think it’s getting louder among the immigrant population, and I don’t think it’s getting louder in the ghetto populations, and I don’t think its getting louder in deprived and poverty stricken populations.
“It’s because they can’t afford to engage in it because they’re worried about survival,” she added. “I’m trying to flip it — I’m trying to say: ‘Let’s make survival this.’”
Since Franklin’s departure last week, the staff at CUE has been moving forward, with the board stepping in and helping out. “We’re actually okay,” said Glover.