Board of Directors

Jonathan L. Cohen

Chairman of the Board
Founder and President, Generated Materials Recovery LLC

Jonathan L. Cohen is the founder and President of Generated Materials Recovery, a national provider of recycling services for manufacturing and industrial facilities. He is the Chair of the Board of the Anne Frank Center USA, having previously served as a trustee for 10 years. He serves on the national board of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Manufacturers Council, is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (Manhattan and Arizona Chapters) where is on the executive committees for the Manufacturing Excellence Network and Sustainable Business Network. Jonathan graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where he received a BA, majoring in both English Literature and German. Jonathan is an avid reader, traveler, skier, and tennis player. Raised in New York, he now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Dara, and their children, James, Leo and Lana.

Charles H. F. Garner, Esq

Managing Director & General Counsel, M-III Partners

Charles Garner has more than 25 years of legal, advisory and operational management experience in international law, real estate investment, telecom and technology. Charles is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and has a JD from NYU. He also previously served as Chairman of the Board of the African Medical & Research Foundation and as a Director of Continuum Health Partners.

Sharon R. Douglas

Board Secretary & Chief Executive Officer
Philanthropist

A passionate advocate for the Anne Frank Center for nearly a decade, Sharon Douglas currently serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. With her husband Preston, Sharon was the 2016 winner of the Spirit of Anne Frank Distinguished Advocates Award. She holds a BA in Education, with graduate study at Queens College and St. John’s University.

Anthony Polak

Board Treasurer
Investment Advisor, Aegis Capital

Tony Polak continues the tradition of the Polak family’s support of the Anne Frank Center, with his parents Jack and Ina Polak having been champions of the organization since the early 1980s. He has an MBA from American University in Washington, DC. Tony has actively volunteered with the youth basketball programs at the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club and YMCA.

George Fechter

Board Treasurer
Entrepreneur • Civil rights and social equity advocate

Irene R. Gottlieb

Board Treasurer
Founder, Garnet Media Group • Author • Photographer

Pieter Kohnstam

Holocaust Survivor
Author, A Chance to Live: A Family's Journey to Freedom

Pieter Kohnstam was born in Amsterdam in 1936. His parents, Hans and Ruth Kohnstam, were forced to flee from the Nuremberg/Fuerth area in Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, during the early days of the Nazi regime.

It was by chance that the Kohnstam’s apartment in Amsterdam was downstairs from the fam ily of Anne Frank. Ruth became a close friend of Edith Frank, and Anne, the youngest daughter, became Pieter’s babysitter. Both children attended the local schools in the neighborhood.

When Nazi persecution of Jews in The Netherlands became intolerable, the Franks went into hiding, but Pieter’s parents decided to flee Amsterdam. After a year-long trek through Bel gium, France and Spain, they reached safety and freedom in Argentina.

In 1963, Pieter immigrated to the United States where he pursued a career in the specialty chemical industry, focusing on pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. He became a U.S. citizen in 1968. He and his wife, Susan, married in 1965 and have two children and three grandchil dren. Now retired in Venice, Florida, Kohnstam is active in community affairs.

Pieter’s book was published in The USA in 2006, The Netherlands in 2008 and in Germany in 2016.

Sally Levine

Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust

Sally N. Levine has served as Executive Director of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust since 2013. Sally Levine joined the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust from the Breman Museum in Atlanta where she served as the Specialist for Teacher and Curriculum Development. She previously served as a Regional Educator for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. In these roles, and as a Museum Teacher Fellow, she has conducted workshops for educators locally and throughout the country, focusing on Holocaust history and pedagogy. Prior to her assignments as a museum educator, Levine was a classroom teacher and social studies department coordinator for over twenty years. She has taught both social studies and language arts.

Mark Shemtob

Board Member

Mark is a retired pension actuary having run his own consulting practice for many decades. He currently serves as a volunteer for several actuarial organizations focusing on national retirement security public policy issues. He has taught at the Rutgers University Business school as an adjunct professor on retirement finance. Among Mark’s other volunteer experiences include being a US Peace Corp volunteer in the 1970s, Habitat for Humanity builds, as a consultant to veterans starting businesses, and the expansion of the Actuarial Foundation Math Motivators Program in NYC. He has traveled extensively around the world. Mark received his BA from SUNY Albany and his MA from Columbia University both in mathematics.

Sybil Rosenberg

Sponsor, Jacob Salzman SAFA Scholarship

Advisory Council

The AFC Advisory Council engages an accomplished group of professionals as ambassadors, occasionally lending their expertise and presence. Advisory Council members include scholars, clergy, industry leaders, public figures, and others with backgrounds as varied as the communities we serve. The Advisory Council is distinct from board membership, as there are no philanthropic or time commitments beyond serving as an ambassador on the AFC’s behalf.  

Joyce Ahrens

Foundations Developmental Resources, LLC

Amanda Bailey

Former VP Human Resources Brown University

Lt. Col. Jennifer Bower

Assistant Professor
U.S. Army War College

Maria Esposito, PhD

Associate Professor of Education Molloy College, NY

Josh Lockwood

Division VP, Northeast American Red Cross of Greater NY

Lauren McGowan

Director of Development North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center

Jud Newborn, PhD

Curator/Producer, Cinema Arts Centre
Author, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose
Founding Historian, NY Museum of Jewish Heritage

Joysetta Pearse

Director, African American Museum of Nassau County

Jonathan E. Rothschild

President & CEO, Arterio, Inc.
Roslyn, NY

Ivy Schamis

2018 SAFA Teacher of the Year Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Parkland, FL

Siddhartha V. Shah, PhD

Curator of Indian & South Asian Art, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

Barton Shallat

Rabbi Emeritus Temple Beth El, Huntington, NY

Are you interested in joining our Advisory Council?

Please contact us at welcome@annefrank.com for more information on this opportunity.

Executive Advisors

Sharon R. Douglas

CEO & Board Secretary

As a philanthropist, business advisor, and educator for most of her adult life, Sharon Douglas has taught at the K-12 and adult executive levels. A recent President of the Village of Lawrence Civic Association, she has served on innumerable charitable boards, including the National Council of Jewish Women, Five Towns Music and Art Foundation, Women’s Division of the Long Island Jewish Hospital South Shore, SIBS of South Nassau Communities Hospital, The American Jewish Congress, and the American Red Cross on Long Island. In 1999, she was a member of the delegation to the United Nations for the Anne Frank Declaration of Peace and has for the past two decades represented the Anne Frank Center at numerous events in England and the Netherlands, including receptions for the Anne Frank Trust UK with Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron in June 2011. A long-standing board member of the Anne Frank Center, Sharon has previously served as Interim Executive Director, currently serves as the Secretary of the Board, and, with her husband Preston Douglas, was the 2016 winner of the Spirit of Anne Frank Distinguished Advocates Award. Sharon holds a BA in Education, with graduate study at Queens College and St. John’s University.

Elisa Rapaport, PhD

Senior Fellow

Elisa Rapaport has extensive experience with the Anne Frank Center, having previously served as Chief Operating Officer and on the AFC board of directors, advisory board, and fundraising committee. Prior to her career as a college professor of ethics and philosophy, Elisa was an accomplished graphic designer, creative director, and production manager in the printing/advertising industry and founded her own design and marketing business. Elisa has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including American Forests, the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, and the American Red Cross, where she served on a National Council that developed a strategic planning initiative for philanthropy. For their nonprofit leadership through the Rapaport Family Charitable Trust, Elisa and Peter Rapaport received the 2013 Spirit of Anne Frank Distinguished Advocate Award and the 2015 Humanitarian Award from the American Red Cross. As an active nonprofit volunteer and major donor for many years, Elisa has worked extensively with the AFC executive committee of the board and with Sharon Douglas as a dedicated mentor and advisor to AFC staff. Elisa holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University at Buffalo, where she was awarded the inaugural George F. Hourani Fellowship in Ethics.

Staff Members

Alexandra Gellner

Educational Program

Hailing from Northern California, Alex’s professional work in theatre and film spans 20 years, having appeared on multiple off-Broadway and independent theatre stages throughout New York City. As a teaching artist, she has led workshops at The New School’s Summer Stage Acting Intensive and collaborated with youth theater groups around the country. She is a champion of collaboration, ensemble-building, and bridging differences through the practice of empathy. Alex holds an MFA in Acting from The New School and a BA in Dramatic Arts and Psychology. She likes to spend her spare time rediscovering favorite pastimes, such as cross-stitching, knitting, calligraphy, ink drawing, and water coloring.

Vik Gupta

Finance & Human Resources

Vik Gupta is a consulting director of finance to a number of nonprofits and small businesses. He creates and implements financial systems, improves internal controls, reports to management and board of directors, liaises with outside auditors, and is responsible for overall financial strategy. He works on contingencies to ensure organizational continuity even during adverse times. He works closely with all clients to understand their programmatic missions and how finance can support and further their missions. In his spare time, Vik is a photographer, volunteers with under-served communities, and teaches math to high-school students.

Play Video
Congressman John Lewis speaks at the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards
Support the Anne Frank Center today

Your support helps us to bring more programs to communities throughout America.