Our club leadership is happy to welcome you! Please join one of our meetings and get to know us!
Virginia Krompinger - President
Virginia Krompinger resides in Spuyten Duyvil with her husband Scott and two pugs, Friday and Pepp. For 20 years, Virginia has worked in risk and compliance roles providing services to financial institutions, including regulatory risk and anti-financial crime advisory support. She is a graduate of John Jay College, Seton Hall Law School, and is admitted to the New York Bar. In her free time, Virginia enjoys participating in various unpaid opportunities. Between 2006 and 2008, Virginia participated in a program sponsored by the Harlem Children's Zone teaching elementary school children financial literacy. After that, she had the privilege of serving as a mentor to a high school student as part of the NYC the iMentor program. From 2010 to 2016, Virginia was an active member of Curly Tail Pug Rescue and spent that time fostering dogs, conducting background interviews with potential adoptive families, and providing social media support. She also volunteered over the years with various organizations cooking and serving food in homeless shelters. From 2017 to 2021 Virginia served as a Board member of a cooperative in Woodlawn where her sister lives and is a cooperator. She was elected to serve as an Alternate Judicial Delegate to the Democratic Judicial Convention in August 2021. Prior to her current role, Virginia served on the Executive Committee of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club and co-chaired the 2021 Fundraising Committee.
Bruce Feld - Vice President
Former faculty member and associate dean of the faculty of Barnard College. Former staff member of the U. S. Senate and the Democratic National Committee, deputy director and director of the Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit (CAU) 1978-1990. Holds degrees in political science from the University of Miami, Rutgers University, and Columbia University; former Fellow of the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Former board member and officer of the Lehman Performing Arts Center. Current President and CEO of the not-for-profit, non-sectarian Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Westchester County. In this 81st assembly district, the Democratic state committeeman for 10 years, followed by 10 years as the Democratic male district leader. Active club member for the past 30 years. In 2017 was club president, since then and years before a vice president. Lived in the community 55 years.
Helen Morik - Vice President
Helen Morik has been a member of the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club for more than 35 years and has served as President, Vice President, State Committee member and Executive Committee member. Professionally, Helen served as District Administrator for Congressman Ted Weiss when he represented Riverdale and more recently as Vice President for Government and Community Affairs for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for 26 years. Helen has lived in Riverdale for more than 45 years and also serves on the Boards of Riverdale Senior Services, Riverdale Neighborhood House and Ft Tryon Park Trust. She strongly believes in supporting community organizations and advocating for community issues.
Ira Bigeleisen - Vice President
Ira Bigeleisen –Vice President - I am a life-long Democrat. While living in Brooklyn in the 1980’s, I leaned about New York City’s system of neighborhood clubs, and our unique access to our elected representatives. When I lived in California, the Chairman of the LA County Democratic Party was my personal friend. When Debi and I moved back to NYC, one of the first things I did was to register as a Democrat and visit the Ben Franklin Club. My first campaign at the club was working to help Jamaal Bailey get elected. Since then, I have been honored to serve on the Bronx County Committee, the BFRDC Executive Committee, as Delegate to the Judicial Convention, Chair of the 2019 Nominating Committee, Program Committee Chairman, and Recording Secretary. Along with my activities in the club, I have been privileged to serve on the Steering and Planning Committees of the NW Bronx Indivisible. In my spare time, I serve as the Secretary of my Coop Board, and am a Past Commodore of City Island Yacht Club, where I run the Junior Sailing Program serving the wider community of the East Bronx. I also have a private Voice Studio. As Vice President, I commit myself to working to elect the Ben Franklin Club’s endorsed candidates, and undertaking any other duties assigned to me by the Club President.
Corresponding Secretary – Ivan Nedds
Ivan “DUFFY” Nedds has been an active club member since 2012 and has had the honor of serving as the Corresponding Secretary since 2015. As Corresponding Secretary, Duffy has continued to improve the methods by which the club communicates. In 2018 he converted the club’s previously antiquated Gmail system to Constant Contact, where emails can be scheduled in advance and outreach data can be recorded. Outside of his officer role, since 2014 he has led the club’s petitioning efforts to place all of the club’s endorsed candidates on the ballot for election and has worked on numerous campaigns. Additionally, he coordinates sign in efforts before each club meeting and provides all necessary material to ensure club meetings run efficiently.
Recording Secretary – Nona Louise Dunbar
Louise Dunbar has lived in Spuyten Duyvil since 2015 and joined the Ben Franklin club not long after the 2016 election. Her first club activity was petitioning to get Darcel Clark on the ballot for Bronx district attorney. Since then, she has petitioned for numerous other candidates and campaigned for Eric Dinowitz for City Council. When not politicking, Louise keeps busy volunteering for her church, traveling (not so much since the pandemic!), reading (more since the pandemic!), and raising money for her alma mater, Wellesley College. Louise has served on the the BFRDC Executive Committee and as Delegate to the Judicial Convention for 81AD.
Treasurer – Robin Weinstein
Robin Weinstein is the longtime Treasurer of the club. Professionally, she is a nursery school teacher with an MS in bilingual education (Spanish). Over the past 16 years in the position of treasurer, she has kept club expenses under tight control by careful bookkeeping and active cost-reduction, including looking for savings by changing our insurance company to a firm in the community, which has saved $1,000/year; taking advantage of Verizon plans to reduce the phone bills; keeping expenses down on annual dinners and brunches as a member of the team that produces the events. She also served as Recording Secretary and for over 20 years as a member has been an active phone banker, petitioner, and campaigner for club-endorsed candidates.
Committee Members At-Large
DELORES DIXON began her notable career as a child organist in her Harlem church. She graduated the High School of Performing Arts (classical piano and cello), graduated City College, and became vocalist of the folk trio New World Singers touring the South with SNCC on programs with Martin Luther King, Jr. Employment director of HARYOU-ACT. She was a music education teacher for 35 years, offered teacher workshops and Head Start classes. Worked with handicapped organizations, NYC Mission Society, USO, and member of NAACP, NY Coalition 100 Black Women, SAG-AFTRA, Actor’s Equity. Longtime club member serving on the executive committee.
JULIA ENGEL had been a long time member of the BFRDC. Helping friends and neighbors gain greater access to the voting process is a huge passion of hers. Julia learned at a very young age from her parents (life long public servants) and grandparents (proud union members when it was unfashionable to be so) the importance of civic duty and giving back to the community. Julia is a lawyer by profession, and likes to call herself an advocate and problem solver by nature. Julia currently works as senior in house counsel at a large financial institution. And has engaged in pro bono representation, with the resources of her employers, to represent clients in family court, immigration, and human rights matters. Julia lives in North Riverdale and is currently the Treasurer of her coop’s Board of Directors.
NICHOLAS FAZIO has built a successful business, taught at a local university, and been a volunteer and activist in his community, including as a consultant for start-up businesses, a mentor for military veterans, and collaborator with non-profits on research and fundraising. He is a member of Community Board 8 and its Economic Development and Education Committees, the Northwest Bronx Indivisible Steering Committee, a career advisor and mentor with American Corporate Partners, and the VP of Public Relations for the Riverdale Bronx Toastmasters Club. He has been a club member since 2018 and has contributed to numerous club efforts to help elect the right candidates to office.
ELLEN FELD is a 40-year club member, its president four separate times, has served as vice-president, and has been and a member of the club’s executive committee for decades. Former staff of the U.S. Senate, the Democratic National Committee (in the then-Office of Women’s Activities), the American Jewish Committee, the Boston U. Human Relations Lab, and NY State Assembly. Currently and for 37 years a Riverdale real estate broker. Awarded Realtor of the Year and former president Bronx Manhattan-North Association of Realtors. Ellen has lived, worked, and been active in our community for over 50 years. “For 60 years, our club has represented liberal and progressive Democratic principles and practices. I’m proud to have been part of that story. I hope to continue to play a role in its leadership.”
MITZIE FINLEY, a CPA, worked in NYC Social Services for over 35 years. Active in local DC37 pension and political action committees, Mitzie served as secretary, sergeant-at-arms, as a member on candidate screening board, as Chair of the NYC validation test board. Mitzie was also a leader of the Dress-for-Success program for 300-400 young women, for which she received numerous HRA awards. MItzie visits at-home ill and shut-ins in hospitals and nursing homes through church eucharistic ministry. She earned an accountancy degree from NYC Technical College and BS from Mercy College. As a 20-year club member, Mitzie is a dependable petitioner. She also served as a County Committee Member.
MICHAEL FRIEDMAN has been a Reform Democrat since the early 1970’s and has always been committed to progressive politics. Service is a major part of his life which is evident in his career as a special education teacher since 1979. He is proud of the work he has done with his students. Michael also teaches in an alternative education program for young adults who work to obtain their high school equivalency exam. He is the union representative for a program that has 80 sites in all five boroughs.
MICHAEL HELLER has a life-long passion for public service and democratic party politics. Previously the President of the BFRDC, he has held every executive position over his 40-year membership. Dating back to high-school, he has volunteered in countless campaigns. Holding degrees from Columbia University, he has an extensive career in public affairs, community/government relations at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jacobi/NCBH, Maimonides MC, St. Joseph’s RMC, and the NYCTA. Mr. Heller, former district manager of Bronx CB 8 and chair of the Traffic and Transportation Committee, donates time to locally-based organizations as a board member for BronxNet, Association of Riverdale Co-ops/Condominiums, and Friends of the Hudson River Greenway. He looks forward to many more years of helping to elect democrats.
JAKE HERRING is a 25-year resident of Riverdale and has been involved in New York politics and government for longer! Jake is an experienced political operator, currently serving as Managing Director of one of the state’s leading government relations and political consulting firms. Prior to that, Jake was Chief of Staff for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s legislative affairs office in Albany, and he also has been a member of the staff for three Speakers of the New York City Council. Jake has volunteered throughout the years on a number of campaigns in the Bronx and beyond. A proud, life-long Democrat, Jake is a native of Albany, New York. He graduated from Manhattan College with an BA & MBA, and earned his J.D. at the Fordham University School of Law Evening Division while working for the City Council.
PATRICK HILL was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and lived there all the way up until college. He attended Manhattan College where his Uncle, Father George Hill, was Chaplain. Patrick has been a resident of the Kingsbridge area for several years. In addition to being a resident, Patrick has worked as a constituent services liaison for a multitude of elected officials for areas throughout the Bronx and most recently has working for Council Member Andrew Cohen right here in the Northwest Bronx. Furthermore, he has experience with organizing canvasses in order to campaign for candidates for various elected offices.
JERALD KREPPEL is presently a member of the Executive Committee and has been a member of the Ben Franklin Club for many years. As a member of our community, Jerald cares about what happens in it. To that end, he has served a member of Community Board 8, is on the Board of Directors of the Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Van Cortlandt Development Corp., and is a member of the 50th Precinct Community Council. Jerald is an attorney specializing in real estate and landlord/tenant litigation, primarily representing tenants.
ALBERT LEVI I serve on the Executive Committee because I want to be involved in continuing to support and grow the unique blend of amenities, events, and people that make our Skyview community such a wonderful place to live! You’ve probably seen me walking the grounds with my wife Alina and my two daughters - Sophie and Nika. We have been Skyview residents since 2016. Since that time, our lives have become inseparable from Skyview and the surrounding North Riverdale Community. I have been a member of the family committee, participated in Skyview’s protest of the Hebrew Home construction, and volunteered to support other Skyview initiatives. In addition, I have opened my law office right here on Riverdale Avenue in order to stay close to home and support my friends and family here. During the past eight years, I have litigated and settled disputes for non-profits and small businesses alike and represented individuals with residential closings, estate planning, and guardianship issues. In my free time I am also a board member and secretary 9f the Riverdale Main Street Alliance a member of the Riverdale Kiwanis Club (a community-based chapter of an international children's fundraising organization), and teach as an adjunct professor of Business Law at The College of Westchester. My personal commitment to our neighborhood and my legal expertise make me an asset to our community and would make me a valuable addition to our board. I hope that you support my candidacy and I can’t wait to meet you all!
HEIDI SCHWARTZ was born, raised and resides in our community. She is an active member of the club since 2004 as Member at Large, Secretary, President and VP. As President from 2008-2011 Heidi organized debate and watch get togethers, revised club logo and branding and collaborated with community organizations. Through these roles, Heidi has worked on numerous committees especially fundraising where she has assisted in organizing brunches, dinners, and charitable drives while phone banking, petitioning and mail stuffing, in order to strengthen the democratic party and BFRDC. As VP of Business Development for a licensing and branding agency Heidi has a strong marketing, networking, organizational and public speaking background. Daily, Heidi negotiates and troubleshoots all types of problems which are positive assets for the Club.
KATE THEOBALD is a registered Democrat. A member of Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club for over five years. She has served in various leadership roles, including Executive Committee Member, Recording Secretary, Bylaws Committee and Nominating Committee. Most importantly, she shows up, e.g. attendance record of approximately 95%, during petitioning periods is out Monday through Thursday from 6-8 p.m. She is currently Chief of Staff to NYC Councilmember Keith Powers and preciously worked as court attorney in Bronx Supreme Court and as legislative counsel to Councilmember Andrew Cohen. She lives in Riverdale and has no fish.
FREDDA TOURIN has been a member of the Ben Franklin club for nearly 40 years. She has been on the Executive Committee since 2021, has been a delegate to the County Committee and a delegate/alternate to Judicial Conventions, and is involved in fundraising for the club. Fredda worked for 5 years as Office Manager/Scheduler for Council Member Andrew Cohen. She is currently an actor, teacher and award-winning photographer.
SERGO VILLAVERDE was born and raised in NYC. The son of immigrants Sergio is fluent in Spanish. He lives in the Bronx and has most of his life. Sergio has been in the service of others all of his adult life. Upon graduation from John F Kennedy HS in the Bronx, Sergio enlisted in the US Coast Guard Reserve and retired with over 32 year of service at the rank of Commander. During his time with the Coast Guard Sergio served in military, legal and law enforcement roles. Sergio received commendations for service in numerous peacetime operations and also served as a reservist during the Gulf war, was activated to service September 11, 2001 and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. Sergio also served as an Emergency Medical Technician for the City of New York. Sergio received commendations for life saving and delivered 18 children (all girls). While a member of the NYPD (now retired) Sergio served the neighborhoods of the mid-west Bronx. His assignments included: Patrol, Community Policing, plain-clothes detail and training officer. Sergio was an active Police Officer in defense of the Community making arrests ranging from armed robbery to spousal and child abuse. Sergio received awards for meritorious service and three integrity awards for arresting criminals who attempted to bribe him. Sergio has always maintained a direct link to the community, which he serves. He was a volunteer baseball coach, mentor, chairman of a local youth services corporation, volunteer attorney for battered women and serves on the Boards of The Bronx County Bar Association and the Association of Naval Services Officers. He was appointed to Community Board 7 and 8 in the Bronx. While working a member of the US Coast Guard Reserve, an EMT and later in the NYPD, Sergio obtained an Associate In Arts Degree, A Bachelor of Arts (political science)-with honors and finally a Juris Doctor from Fordham University Law School.