First Lady Chirlane McCray will be chairwoman of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The position is unpaid.
In an exclusive interview with CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer, McCray discussed her new role.
Most first ladies have kept paid jobs in the private sector. Kramer asked McCray why she’s serving for free.
“Well Marcia, Bill and I deeply believe in public service and as you know, it’s not a secret we’ve worked so closely together over the last 22 years,” McCray told Kramer. “This is just a natural continuation of our partnership.”
The Mayor’s Fund, which had $37 million budget in 2012, develops public-private partnerships and investments with a focus on youth development, health, the environment and the arts. The Mayor’s Fund also supports relief efforts after disasters such as Superstorm Sandy.
“My mission is to help families get the support they need. No matter how much they earn or what zip code they call home, I want them to have access to the same kind of resources my family depended on,” McCray said. “We have our work cut out for us, and I am eager to roll up my sleeves and get out into the communities and start building one New York, where everyone rises together.”
McCray is a Wellesley College grad just like Hillary Clinton, Kramer reported.
McCray, a Springfield, Mass. native confessed her new job will help her conquer the fears that come with being in the spotlight for the first time.
“I do a lot of deep breathing and I think it’s the belief in what I’m doing that really carries me through the day. I am not someone who is accustomed to being in the spotlight,” McCray told Kramer. “But when you want to get something done, sometimes you just have to rise to the challenge. And that’s what I’m doing, kind of putting aside my fears and trying to do the best I can.”
“I can’t think of anyone with a better grasp of the core mission of this administration than my wife and partner, Chirlane,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The Fund is an exciting opportunity to offer vital support to worthy projects and causes across the city, and I know Chirlane will help direct the Fund’s resources to shine a light on communities and families in need. We have been handed a very strong foundation by Mayor Bloomberg, and we look forward to building on it.”
The first lady will raise private donations for some of de Blasio’s pet projects like ending income inequality and pumping up the outer boroughs.
But she’s also going to shoulder some of the job of lobbying for a tax on the wealthy to fund universal pre-kindergarden.
She said she’ll meet with parents, pastors and others to help build a coalition, understanding that it’ll be an uphill battle to get Gov. Andrew Cuomo on board with a tax increase as he faces re-election.
“I think it’ll be a challenge. But remember, these are people in Albany. Albany’s not like an organization, these are people who all have young people in their lives in some way or another and I believe that when we start talking with them…that they’ll do the right thing,” said McCray.
Kramer wrapped up the interview with a hardball question.
Kramer: Does he really call you the first lady at home?
McCray: No…he was joking!
De Blasio joked the application process for the position was a little unusual. He said he posted the job in their shared second-floor home office in Park Slope and there was only one applicant.
De Blasio made the announcement at The Osborne Association in the Bronx. The organization helps people who’ve had problems with the law get back on the right track.
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