ACAP Board Members

President      Jamel Burgos

Vice President Jonathan Jones

Treasurer   Michael McLaughlin

Secretary Karissa Sawyer 



Private Sector:

  • Mayor James Gaughan

  • Antoine Boulanger

  • Michael McLaughlin

  • Kelsey Addy

  • Karissa Sawyer

Public Sector:

  • Jonathan Jones

  • Bakary Janneh

  • Catherine Fahey

  • Leif Engstrom

  • Lynne Lekakis


Consumer Sector

  • Jamel Burgos

  • Andre Lewis

  • Hassan Elminyawi

  • Wendy Wahlberg

  • Jasmine Whitbeck




 James Gaughan

As an life long educator, I've committed myself to increasing the understanding of the need for services to individuals who are otherwise under served. My fondest memories and most formative experiences that shaped my life were teaching elementary school in the Caribbean and as a Peace Corps volunteer in a West African teacher training college. I later spent the majority of my professional career as a senior manager at the NY State Education Department overseeing State and federal programs for children in poverty and placed at academic risk. My time working with NY State schools and my early years in other cultures gifted me with an understanding of the strength of diversity and the importance of fairness and social equity. 
My spouse Keith and I spend many volunteer hours in Altamont Village, our long-time home in the rural end of Albany county.   During the last 12 years, I  served as Village mayor and supported many human service and community organizations.  I learned much about ACAP as mayor, especially of its dedication to early education   I am pleased to offer my skills as a Board member to support its work improving the quality of life for all our children. 
Antoine Boulanger
Since I’ve moved to Albany in 2010, I’ve grown attached to New York’s Capital region. Since being here, I have noticed the involvement ACAP has within our community. Our mission statement is personally near and dear to me as a First Generation American. While I never fully understood the assistance my parents and family had within this country, I do know it is places like this that helps the community and its people move forward. Knowing the role and the success in our community I was honored to be able to join ACAP. The effort put forth through their early childhood program and their various projects beyond it is key to our growing and evolving community. I am proud to be an ACAP board member, and I look forward to what we will all do together.
Michael McLaughlin
After coming to the Capital Region to attend Siena College and settling in Albany County upon graduation I was very interested in familiarizing myself and getting involved with the local community. Initially this involvement was limited to taking positions in the New York State Assembly and, later, the New York State Senate.  Over time it became obvious that the best and most effective means to truly involve yourself in your community in a meaningful way was to familiarize yourself with the grassroots organizations that directly impact the lives of people on a day to day basis.  Albany Community Action Partnership quickly demonstrated itself as one of the most active and far reaching of those organizations, providing services for people throughout the diverse environments of Albany County.  I jumped at the chance to get involved with their organization upon hearing of an opening on their board a few years ago.  My time on the board has given me the opportunity and privilege of working along side the incredible people who work and manage ACAP and its programs and has allowed me to play a small role in assisting those in our community who seek out assistance.
Kelsey Addy
Kelsey Addy is the Strategic Planner at CARES, Inc. Kelsey works with homeless service and housing providers to create community-wide strategic plans to address homelessness throughout New York State. She works with agencies to collect information on homelessness needs through community forums, client focus-groups and HUD best practices, in order to prioritize strategies to best address homelessness as a community. Kelsey also supports writing and developing grant proposals to HUD for homeless housing and service programs. Kelsey works with the Capital Region Coalition to End Homelessness to organize trainings and workshops on homeless housing and service best practices. She has a variety of experiences in the Community Organizing and Community Development fields. As a Community Asset Builder with the Central Baltimore Partnership, Kelsey supported the growth of neighborhood and business associations, while addressing issues such as gentrification and public safety. Kelsey also consulted with Johns Hopkins University to create a public investment plan that would mutually benefit the university and community, which the university pledged $10 million towards implementing. Kelsey has experience working for New York State Homes and Community Renewal and for The Community Builders, Inc., a non-profit affordable housing developer. Kelsey received a psychology and sociology degree from the University of Delaware, and a Master of Public Administration from the University at Albany, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. Kelsey is excited to join the ACAP Board and play a role in supporting the important work of this organization. Kelsey lives with her husband in the City of Albany.
Karissa Sawyer
Board Bio Coming Soon
Jonathan Jones
My daycare, preschool, and preK years were spent with Head Start. My mom was my toddler teacher, and I can vividly remember some highlights several decades later. Now as a board member, it is my charge to ensure that the next generation of Head Start kids and their families are empowered to succeed.
Bakary Janneh
I'm driven to stand up for those in need and to be a voice for the unheard because of my experience serving at the pleasure of both the Speaker of the NYS Assembly and the Albany County Executive, working as an EMT, combatting human trafficking, resettling refugees, responding to the 2009 Crisis at the American Civic Center, and as a UAlbany division one student-athlete with a passion for photography.
Catherine Fahey
Catherine Fahey is a long time public servant who cares deeply about her community. She looks forward to assisting with ACAP’s important mission of supporting individuals and families to improve their quality of life. Her background is in education and human services. She is currently an elected official in the City of Albany in her 4th term as a member of the Common Council. In addition, she serves as Chief of Staff for Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy. Her advocacy work at both the local and state levels has enabled her to fulfill her lifelong goal of service to others and having a positive impact on people’s lives.
Jamel Burgos
Board Bio Coming Soon
Andre Lewis
Andre D. Lewis is the founder and lead pastor of the Empowerment Center based in Albany, New York and serves on the governing board for the IMPACT Fellowship of churches in New York City. He holds a Master of Arts in Africana Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Studies from the State University at Albany. Andre is an international motivational speaker and community advocate, specifically for youth and disadvantage communities. He is an encouragement to all that engage him in conversation and has an overwhelmingly genuine passion for people. Andre is an accomplished leader with 15 years’ experience in managing community-based organizations and his community work afforded him the honor of receiving the “People Making a Difference Award” in 2009. He is the Co-host of WVCR 88.3 Power and Praise Morning Radio Show with a listening audience that ranges from North Eastern New York to South Carolina and currently resides in the City of Albany, New York.
Hassan Elminyawi
Hassan Elminyawi has been a resident and active community member of the City of Albany since 2004. He has held positions with the NYS Senate, NYS Department of Transportation, SUNY Research Foundation, NYS Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, and is currently an analyst for the NYS Thruway Authority. He is also the owner of Urban Aftermath Inc., an online media business and community book shop he founded in 2010 while attending graduate school for urban planning at UAlbany. Hassan is a proud graduate of the Head Start Program and traces his love for learning and the classroom back to his time there. Hassan chaired the Head Start Policy Council for Albany County from 2016-2017 and is now an ACAP board member. He is passionate about promoting Head Start and expanding ACAP’s early childhood education services for working parents. In his spare time he enjoys reading, traveling, making art, exploring architecture, and spending time with family and friends. He resides in the DelSo neighborhood with his wife, son and cat Ender.
Leif Engstrom
I became an ACAP board member because early childhood programs are key to improving every child's ability to learn, grow and achieve. Making sure that all children in my city have access to quality programing is vital to Albany's revitalization. Beyond childhood programs, helping people reduce their energy costs and connecting people with skills and jobs moves our community towards economic and environmental sustainability while maintaining the diversity and character of our neighborhoods. ACAP is one of the cornerstones of Albany County's support network and I'm proud to be involved with moving its mission forward.
Lynne Lekakis
Lynn Lekakis Board MemberLynne Lekakis is an Albany County Legislator representing District 8, predominantly comprised of parts the Delaware and Helderberg neighbhorhoods. She was appointed Deputy Majority Leader of the Legislature in April 2018. She is vice-chair of the Personnel Committee, and a member of the Health, Conservation & Improvement and Mass Transit committees, and serves as co-Chair of the Albany County Legislative Modernization Task Force. The Modernization Task Force is working on moving the legislature to greater transparency with the use of computer software accessible to all. Lynne currently serves as the facilities coordinator at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. She is also a partner in the consulting firm Kane & Lekakis, applying her organizing, facilitation, and program management skills to nonprofits and businesses in the Capital Region since 2002. Kane & Lekakis has worked with Equinox, United Way, Women’s Bar Association, Neighborhood Resource Center and many others. Her volunteer participation in the greater Albany community includes work with the Delaware Avenue Neighborhood Association, Albany Unitarian Universalist, and Historic Albany. She lead the Honest Weight Food Co-op through several governance changes and the move to its Watervliet Avenue location.  
Wendy Wahlberg
Board Bio Coming Soon
Jasmine Whitbeck
Board Bio Coming Soon


Our Board Meetings are open to the public; the schedule for the year is listed below.

Meetings are held at 5:30pm at Albany Community Action Partnership Main Office - 333 Sheridan Ave, Albany


Tuesday, January 19, 2021


Tuesday, March 2, 2021  -- Annual Meeting


Tuesday, April 13, 2021


Tuesday, July 6, 2021 -- Annual Audit Presentation


Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Tuesday, November 9, 2021


Tuesday, December 7, 2021


Hope to see you there!