LaKisha N. Williams Honored for Advocacy

LaKisha N. Williams speaks at the #DegreesNYC Citywide Summit 2018

Contact: Trish Anderton, Goddard Riverside Director of Public Relations
o: 212-873-6600 x 300/m: 929-249-1449

NEW YORK, June 13, 2018  ̶  Goddard Riverside’s LaKisha N. Williams was honored with the United Neighborhood Houses Award for Achievement in Civic Advocacy on June 13. The prize recognizes a settlement house employee whose “civic engagement work exceeds their core job responsibilities” and who has made “outstanding contributions to their community.” 

Those words perfectly describe Williams, who works tirelessly for justice inside and outside Goddard Riverside. As the Policy and Advocacy Manager at Goddard Riverside Options Center, she represents the agency in numerous professional organizations working to strengthen college counseling and improve access to higher education. She is the Project Manager for #DegreesNYC, a collective impact initiative with a goal of achieving equity in postsecondary access and completion in New York City.  The vision is that, by 2025, at least 60% of each racial, ethnic, and income group in New York City will have a quality postsecondary credential. She serves as a volunteer leader of our Staff Organizing Committee, and involves youth in advocacy by taking Options students to educate lawmakers in Albany.

“Within the agency, she is a community building and articulate voice of our mission,” wrote Deputy Executive Director Susan Matloff-Nieves in a letter to the awards committee. “She is often the person informing us of significant events in the lives of staff and contributes her attention and efforts to create a sense of family within the agency.”

Outside her role at Goddard Riverside, Williams serves as a Youth and Young Adult Minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Harlem. She travels widely, speaking at youth and women’s retreats and conferences, at rallies and on college campuses. She centers her advocacy, activism and ministry on the issues of people on the fringes of society.

“It’s not unusual for LaKisha to counsel a young person on their future plans during dinner and then take a call at 3 am from a family dealing with tragedy,” said Options Center Director Judith Lorimer. “She is a true force in the good fight.”

Recently, Williams has involved Goddard Riverside in the Poor People’s Campaign, a national movement that is a continuation of Dr. Martin Luther King’s final campaign.

“My advocacy, activism and ministry are all rooted in a deep and abiding belief in the transformational power of love. Love is the thing that keeps me up at night and gets me out of bed in the morning,” she wrote in her personal statement to the committee.

United Neighborhood houses is a member organization for settlement houses in New York City. Williams received the award at UNH’s annual meeting at historic Grand Street Settlement on the Lower East Side.


Goddard Riverside is one of New York City's leading human service organizations. Our 30 programs at 23 sites assist more than 20,000 people yearly with services including early childhood and youth programs, college counseling, supportive housing, employment readiness, older adult services and outreach to homeless people.