About Sunday’s Guest Preacher, Jonathan Soto
Associate Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Jonathan Soto is a community organizer and social justice activist with over a decade of experience building coalitions and organizations within government, academic and grassroots spaces. Soto currently serves as the Associate Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives at Union Theological Seminary. Union is the country’s oldest independent seminary and shares an affiliation with neighboring Columbia University.
In 2015, Mayor de Blasio appointed Soto to serve as the Senior Community Liaison for the first-ever Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council, which engages communities of faith in the formation of City policy and administration of public services. In 2017, Soto created the City’s Center for Faith and Community Partnerships (CFCP) and served as its Executive Director. The CFCP empowers neighborhoods and forges partnerships with community and faith leaders by building capacity to spur civic action and deliver City services. At the Mayor’s Office, Soto mobilized thousands of community-based organizations and houses of worship to serve New Yorkers impacted by issues of mental health, homelessness, immigration, domestic violence, and domestic workers’ rights. Soto worked with City agencies to create programming that supported the creation of affordable housing and small business development. After Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, Soto was on the leadership team that deployed 150 NYC employees to provide technical assistance to municipalities and the central government of Puerto Rico. Soto advised City Hall on the creation of NYC’s Hurricane Evacuee Center that provided services to people displaced by hurricanes Maria and Harvey.
In 2012, after Superstorm Sandy made landfall in NYC, Soto formed the Bronx Long Term Recovery Group (BLTRG) and served as its Chair. The BLTRG was dedicated to the physical and economic restoration of communities affected by the storm, and Soto launched a city-wide community resilience initiative alongside the the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
In 2011, Soto served as Policy Director for the Bronx Clergy Roundtable, where he crafted policy agendas for coalitions of faith leaders and advocacy groups. Soto’s work led to the creation of anti-recidivism programs and grassroots mobilization for living wages and fair scheduling within the fast food industry.
Soto received his B.A. from Fordham University and J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.