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TBI People


Bertha Lewis

Founder and President
The Black Institute
The Black Leadership Action Coalition
The Black Institute Group

Bertha Lewis has been a community organizer and is the Founder and President of The Black Institute (TBI). TBI is a non-profit “action tank,” a think tank that takes action, founded in 2010 with the aim of addressing the persistent issues faced by people of color, namely in the areas of immigration, environmental justice, economic fairness, and education.

Bertha has worked tirelessly as an activist and community organizer for over 30 years. She is the former CEO and Chief Organizer of ACORN, an influential national organization that mobilized urban communities at the grassroots level, fighting for their needs for over 40 years. Bertha has fought for immigrant rights by advocating at the city, state and federal levels. She’s been an integral part of the low wage workers campaign to guarantee higher pay, paid sick days, and family leave. Bertha has worked with developers to create a landmark community benefits agreement to secure affordable housing, living wages, local hiring and training programs for the community. And most recently, Bertha has led the charge in advocating for Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) in New York City.

Ms. Lewis has been a guest on national TV and radio shows, including The Colbert Report, Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, MSNBC, NBC, Fox News, and CNN, among others. For her effective community leadership, Bertha Lewis received many accolades including Recognitions from the New York State Assembly & Mayor Eric Adams, Essence Magazine’s 2011 list of “28 Most Influential Black Women,” Crain’s New York’s 100 Most Powerful Women in New York, New York Magazine’s “Most Influential in Politics”, The Brooklyn District Attorney’s “2020 Black History Month Justice Award” City & State’s “The Power of Diversity Black 100” and “BK Power 50”, AM Metro New York’s “Cannabis Industry Power Players”, The New York Knicks’ “Nat ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton City Spirit Award”, Miss Abbie’s Kids’ “Honoree Award for Stellar Leadership”


Tuulikki Robertson

Director of Operations

George Cayasso

Community Organizer

Jacob Scupp

Research Director
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