2024 Schenectady Community Champions Celebration: Breaking Barriers

Join us as we recognize the incredible work of SiCM’s community programs and Schenectady’s barrier breaking community leaders!

One of SiCM’s core values is Breaking Barriers. What does that look like for us? It is expanding access to resources beyond traditional limitations, removing stigma, and charting new ground in the community!

Breaking Barriers will be the theme for SiCM’s 2nd annual Schenectady Community Champions event. This celebration will uplift SiCM and local community members who uphold this value.

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 5:00-7:00 PM EDT

Join us on Thursday, March 21st at the Covenant Hall of the First Reformed Church of Schenectady as we recognize the incredible work SiCM’s colleague and Director of Public Health for Schenectady County, Keith Brown.

Phenomenal speakers and leaders in our community will encourage our celebration:

Kristi Milligan, Community Programs and Grants Director for the Schenectady Foundation.

Willie Deane, Author and Entrepreneur

Keith Brown

Keith Brown, MPH, was appointed Public Health Director of Schenectady County in December 2022 after initially joining for COVID-19 response in March 2020 and being appointed Interim Director in August 2020. Prior to that, Keith was an independent consultant as well as Director of Community Health and Safety at RPRT, working with states, municipalities, and organizations to advance health-based policies and strategies that address complex public health and safety issues. Keith has over 20 years of experience providing direct services to individuals impacted by HIV and other chronic illnesses, and prevention services for communities and individuals at risk for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other conditions. He holds a Master’s in Public Health from SUNY Albany and a BA in Community Mental Health from SUNY Buffalo and is a member of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health.

Willie Deane

Willie Deane was born and raised in Schenectady, New York, and is a proud husband and father of three. Currently, he is an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 236 member, and runs his nonprofit, L.I.F.E. Enrichment Inc. Not only has he spent time giving back to the less fortunate in his hometown, but he has also made a global impact in the 12 countries he’s lived in.

Willie is a graduate of Schenectady High School’s Technical Program where he was the captain of the first New York State Section II Championship basketball team in ’98. He still holds the school’s all-time scoring title surpassing the legendary Pat Riley who previously held the record. Willie then attended Purdue University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Mathematics. Upon graduating, Willie devoted 15 years to his professional basketball career, playing for the Washington Wizards and in Europe. While overseas, he was the 2 Time Bulgarian Finals MVP and led his teams to winning multiple championships including 3 Bulgarian Championships, 1 French Championship, 1 Italian Championship, and more. Willie was inducted into the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame in ‘06 and along with Purdue’s Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Schenectady City School District Hall of Fame in ‘19. Inspired by his two young daughters, Willie published his first children’s book LOVE.

Kristi Milligan

Kristi Milligan has lived in the Capital Region for nearly 20 years and has been the Director of Grants and Community Programs at The Schenectady Foundation for almost a decade. With a love for listening and empowering people to make positive changes in their community, she has devoted much of her time to local organizations in the Capital Region. Serving as the Grants Manager for CEO in Troy, NY, and a board member for the Voorheesville Community & School Foundation in the past.

Currently, she is managing the Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge, a unique initiative that aims to empower Schenectady residents and organizations to create positive change in their communities; and the Schenectady County Food Council, which invites all community members to join forces against the root causes of food insecurity in Schenectady County. Through her tenure are director of grants and programs, she has developed and maintained relationships with various stakeholders, from local government and service providers to neighborhood groups and individuals, facilitating collaboration, trust, and partnership among them. Kristi earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Stonehill College and an MA in Social Psychology from SUNY Albany. In her free time, she enjoys running, jewelry making, and spending time with her two children.

Schenectady Community Champions: Breaking Barriers