Lutheran Social Services of New York Selects 
Damyn Kelly as New President and CEO

New York, NY January 13, 2017 — Lutheran Social Services of New York (LSSNY), a leading social service agency serving more than 7,000 New Yorkers every day, announced today that its board of directors has chosen Damyn Kelly as the organization’s next President and CEO. Mr. Kelly, who recently served as the Executive Director for Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Centers, Inc., will succeed the Rev. Dr. David Benke, the agency’s interim President and CEO, on February 13, 2017.

Mr. Kelly was selected from a pool of highly-qualified individuals because of the scope of his experience and the sensitivity and inclusiveness with which he manages programs for the benefit of all New Yorkers, especially those most in need. “During this time of LSSNY’s continuing growth and delivery of quality social services, I am delighted to welcome Mr. Kelly as the next CEO and President of LSSNY,” said Zoë Jasper, board chair. “His leadership and vast experience in human services will ensure that LSSNY remains an agency of excellence. I am confident that he will propel our programs to reach a greater number of our neighbors in need.”

Mr. Kelly is a skilled strategic leader who has worked for more than 18 years as the chief executive of organizations serving many disenfranchised members of the community. His work has improved the lives of the formerly incarcerated; those living with mental illness, developmental and intellectual disabilities; and the homeless. He has leveraged his experience, industry knowledge and strong commitment to community advocacy, to bolster the business practices and financial success of several social service agencies. At Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Centers, Inc., Mr. Kelly had great success managing a multi-service agency serving more than 6,000 children and families in a variety of educational, vocational and behavioral treatment programs across 11 facilities.

“I am truly humbled and honored to be appointed President and CEO of LSSNY. The breadth and depth of its services, the commitment of its Board of Directors and the hundreds of volunteers and congregations engaged with the organization were very attractive to me as a human services professional,” said Kelly. “LSSNY enjoys an excellent reputation in the nonprofit community and has a staff that is competent, committed and compassionate in its service delivery to those who are less fortunate. I look forward to joining this wonderful ministry in serving the most vulnerable amongst us.”

Mr. Kelly has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Adelphi University and a Juris Doctor from the Antioch School of Law. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Newark Emergency Services for Families and Congregations Linked in Urban Strategy to Effect Renewal (CLUSTER, Inc.). He and his wife, Diann, an Associate Professor and Chair of the BSW Program at Adelphi University, have two children.

Interim President and CEO, the Rev. Dr. David Benke, who steps down after a hugely successful year at the helm of LSSNY, caps off his tenure with a recent award as one of City & State’s “50 Over Fifty.” Recognized as a distinguished leader with diverse experience in faith-based, community activism, Dr. Benke has worked seamlessly with LSSNY’s board to support the fiscal and programmatic integrity of the agency’s diverse portfolio of services in foster care, housing, immigration, education and food security. “I’m excited to see how Mr. Kelly uses his diverse experience and energetic, relational leadership style to aid in the progress of LSSNY’s services,” said Benke.

The selection of Mr. Kelly followed a comprehensive, nationwide search facilitated by Diversified Search, an executive search firm that specializes in placing executives in some of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations. LSSNY is eager to welcome Mr. Kelly and will be hosting a Welcome Reception on Monday, February 27th, at LSSNY headquarters at 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY. “We wanted to host a special evening to have a meet-and-greet with Mr. Kelly, and to thank Dr. Benke for his commitment to the success of our programs in his role as Interim President,” said Brian Gavin, VP of Advancement and Communications. “Last year, we celebrated the agency’s 130th anniversary—we now look forward to helping many more in need in the years to come under the capable leadership of Mr. Kelly.”

For details on LSSNY’s CEO Welcome Reception, or to RSVP, contact:
Brian Gavin, Vice President of Advancement and Communications
(212) 870-1124;

About Lutheran Social Services of New York:
Founded in 1886, Lutheran Social Services of New York is a nonprofit social service organization devoted to strengthening lives, families and community. Lutheran Social Services of New York has developed a wide range of educational and community programs to assist 7,000 people across New York every day to reach their full potential. To learn more about their programs, visit