Allison Sesso

Former Executive Director

Allison Sesso has served as the Executive Director of the Human Services Council of New York (HSC) since March 2014 and previously served for many years as the Deputy Executive Director. HSC is an association of 170 nonprofits delivering 90% of human services in New York City.

Under her leadership HSC has pioneered the development of nationally recognized tools designed to illuminate risks associated with government contracts, including an RFP rater and government agency grading system known as GovGrader.

During her tenure at HSC she has led negotiations with government on behalf of the sector and partnered on the development of policy and procedural changes aimed at streamlining the relationship between nonprofits and government. In 2017, Allison led the Citywide “Sustain our Sanctuary Campaign,” which successfully pushed for investments in human services contracts totaling over $300 million to address the nonprofit fiscal crisis.

When the largest human services nonprofit in NYC abruptly filed for bankruptcy she turned tragedy into  opportunity by organizing a coalition of experts to evaluate the systemic operational challenges facing human services nonprofits; resulting in a nationally recognized report, New York Nonprofits in the Aftermath of FEGS: A Call to Action, with nine recommendations viewed widely as a roadmap to long-term sustainability of human services nonprofits.

Allison also organized and led a commission of experts focused on social determinants of health and value-based-payment structures that recently completed a highly anticipated report, Integrating Health and Human Services: a Blueprint for Partnership and Action, examining the challenges of operationalizing relationships between health and human services providers and offering seven recommendations. She also served on the New York State Department of Health’s Social Determinants (SDH) and Community Based Organizations (CBO) Subcommittee helping to formulate recommendations around the integration of CBOs into Medicaid managed care.

Allison has overseen disaster recovery and preparedness efforts on behalf of the nonprofit sector, including coordination with government and was tapped by the Mayor to serve on the Hurricane Sandy Charitable Organizations and Houses of Worship Recovery Task Force and serves as its chair. The Task Force will ensure key community institutions are better prepared to participate in disaster recovery efforts. She was also appointed to the OneNYC Commission; responsible for developing a comprehensive plan for a sustainable and resilient city that addresses the profound social, economic, and environmental challenges ahead.

Sesso’s past professional experiences include working at a prominent investment bank, at the New York Public Interest Research Group, and as the coordinator of a program for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch/CUNY’s School of Public Affairs.

Allison is the Board Chair of the nonprofit Hollaback!, a global movement to end harassment powered by a network of grassroots activists.  Additionally, Allison serves on Fund the People’s Advisory Council, a national group that aims to encourage investments in the nonprofit workforce as the best way to increase performance and impact across the social sector.

Allison’s work on behalf of the human services sector has led City & State to recognize her as one of the 25 most influential leaders in Manhattan in 2017 and one of New York City’s 100 “Most Responsible” in 2016.