Leadership

Rivkie Feiner is a dynamic leader with a talent for identifying winning ideas and making them happen. Harnessing her intuitive grasp of people and programs, Rivkie has had a transformative impact on UCN and has helped clients secure hundreds of millions of dollars from government and private funding sources.

Coming to UCN in 1994, Rivkie’s superb mastery of multiple functions rapidly propelled her to vice president and chief financial officer, positions she held from 2001-2013. In 2010, she became a partner in UCN, and in 2013 was appointed CEO.

In addition to her duties at UCN, Rivkie has served as program director of the Overseas Aid Consortium, Agudath Israel of America, from 1998 to 2001; a Fellow in the Community Connections Program of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council in 2014-15; and a tireless advocate for children’s safety, health, financial literacy and quality education. A powerful motivational speaker and workshop presenter, Rivkie has been a panelist in forums on government and foundation funding at the annual President’s Conference of Torah Umesorah – National Society of Hebrew Day Schools, the USAID conference in Washington, D.C., Agudath Israel’s lay leader conclaves and the Jewish Women’s Entrepreneur conference.

Rivkie and UCN have been the recipient of many prestigious honors and awards, including Honoree at the American Friends of Shaare Zedek Medical Center Women’s Division Luncheon; Avodas Hakodesh tribute from Yeshiva Darchei Noam; and the Tomche Shabbos of Rockland County Annual Dinner.

Executive Management

Estee is a master grant writer with expertise in program development, budgeting and reporting. At UCN since 2003, Estee Botnick has written and coordinated many successful grant applications, securing millions of dollars in federal, state, city and foundation funding for nonprofits. Her ability to interpret RFPs and regulations is superb, as is her understanding of program design, funding strategies, timetables and budgets.

Debby brings many years of program design and proposal writing experience to UCN. For 33 years she served as the grant writer for the Board of Jewish Education, a major UJA-Federation of New York agency, where she helped secure funding for important education initiatives. A graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, Debby has a master’s degree in community organization social work from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, as well as a degree in coaching.

Tova brings a broad range of organizational, technical and creative skills to her work. Supporting an organization that routinely deals with strict deadlines and high-profile international clients and funders requires a keen understanding of timeliness, discretion and respect for confidentiality, as well as meticulous attention to detail. Tova’s leadership and organizational abilities, combined with her graciousness, are critical components of UCN’s success. Tova has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and a certificate in graphic design.

Our Team

Baila is a talented grant writer and capable project manager who has successfully spearheaded complex, multi-agency projects. She is UCN’s homeland security expert, with honed expertise in both homeland security and hate crime funding. Baila’s training as an MBA and her experience in education and youth work greatly enriched the proposals she works on. Baila has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, and a Master’s in Business Administration.

Reuven Feiner provides administrative and technical support to UCN’s operation.

Trany Steiner is the quiet backbone of UCN support services.  Utilizing her previous experience in management as well as her proficiency in software and online navigation, Trany applies her skills to both internal operations and client services.  Her expertise in tracking and compiling critical data, organizing files and preparing presentations continuously improves internal efficiencies.  Her talent in creating budgets and navigating online portals enhances the quality and look of our grant proposals.

Chaya Sara brings a wealth of experience to her work, including more than a decade as a language arts teacher and training as an accountant.  Her combined understanding of the writing, editing and budgeting processes makes her a valuable addition to the UCN team.

Channah is masterful at presenting clear, succinct responses to RFPs. A talented writer, she has a BS in Biology from Lander’s College for Women, where she interned as a researcher for Parkinson Disease at Columbia College for Physicians and Surgeons. Channah brings a love of people and passion for non-profits to her work, and volunteers a few hours per week on a crisis line.

As UCN’s resident researcher, as well as a gifted grant writer and editor, Aura has an intuitive understanding of what is required for a winning proposal. Aura enjoys researching opportunities for clients, and strategically designing proposals that will further the client’s mission. Prior to UCN, Aura served as an administrator for the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, and worked as a computer programmer. Aura holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Queens College and pursued her interest in Near East Studies as a doctoral student at Brandeis University.

Sharone Waldman brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to UCN. A MEd from Harvard with years of experience helping students with special needs, she is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration.  Sharone combines a passion for public service and research with strategic thinking to create meaningful and successful proposals. Her intuitive understanding of program design and client need makes her a valued addition to the UCN team.

For the last two decades,  Malky Leifer has provided expert fiscal support to UCN’s operation, allowing UCN staff to engage in their core mission of expanding the financial resources of their clients.

Chaya’s research abilities, administrative know-how and organizational knowledge, together with her calm demeanor, make her a valued member of the UCN team. Chaya has an associate’s degree in business from Rockland Community College, as well as a teaching diploma from Machon Teacher’s Seminary.

Rivki uses her superb communication and organizational skills to ensure that projects at UCN are proceeding smoothly and according to schedule. Rivki’s education and experience as a licensed speech pathologist, former home school teacher and medical transcriber contribute to her keen understanding of service delivery and timely and accurate reporting. Her proficiency in both English and Hebrew are a strong asset for clients with branches in Israel.

Former Members

UCN Founder and President Ursula Lehmann grew a solo operation into an internationally recognized company that helps organizations worldwide access millions of dollars in aid. A brilliant visionary with a passion for championing worthy causes, Ursula came to grant writing via her involvement in academia and community development. Success as Director of Development of the Rockland Community Development Council prompted Ursula in 1993 to become an independent consultant and open her own grant-writing company. Under her able leadership, UCN grew and flourished.  Ursula retired in 2017 and is pursuing her many varied interests.