Founders & Staff

United by a passion for social justice & Michigan football, Scott Thomas & Sammy Politziner founded Arbor Brothers in 2009 and continue to co-lead it today.

  • Scott Thomas


    After graduating from the University of Michigan with an engineering degree, Scott began his career teaching middle school mathematics with Teach for America in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. He went on to earn an MBA from NYU, where he helped launch the nation’s first student-managed venture philanthropy fund. Scott then joined Lehman Brothers and later Neuberger Berman, where he managed investments in infrastructure and alternative energy companies.

    In addition to co-leading Arbor Brothers, Scott serves on the New York and National Boards of Summer Search, a national youth development organization.

  • Sammy Politziner


    Sammy graduated from the University of Michigan and moved to New York City, where he taught second grade in the South Bronx with Teach for America and founded a small academic summer camp for his students.  After a stint of world traveling, Sammy moved north for a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and then down south to teach at a KIPP school in North Carolina.  Sammy returned to New York for a job in investment banking at Kildare Capital, a boutique firm, where he spent five years providing sell-side M&A and capital formation advice.

    In addition to co-leading Arbor Brothers, Sammy serves on the board of directors of Exponent Philanthropy, the nation’s largest association of funders, and All Our Kin, an Arbor Brothers alumni grantee.

  • Erica Hamilton


    Prior to joining Arbor Brothers, Erica served as the Executive Director of City Year New York where she oversaw a $12M budget and led 50+ staff members to recruit, train and manage 250 AmeriCorps Members in NYC public schools. Before City Year, Erica spent nearly two decades in roles across the social enterprise and private sectors.  She has managed educational programs at Prep for Prep, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, iMentor and the Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship and led strategy and sales teams in the US and abroad at Goldman Sachs and Citi.

    Erica currently serves on the boards of Arbor Brothers and the Community Roots Charter School in Brooklyn; she also teaches at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Erica earned her MBA at Wharton, her MPA at Wagner, and her BA at Harvard.  Erica resides in Brooklyn where she and her husband are raising their two children.

  • Jess Cabral

    Senior Associate

    Jess was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and made her way to the east coast to attend Princeton University. After graduating, she joined Teach For America and taught Kindergarten in the South Bronx while earning a Masters degree in teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education. She went on to join the TFA-New York Regional team, first as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development and later as a Director of Programs, all the while coaching TFA corps members, alumni and school leaders to pursue transformational results in schools. Jess is currently a Senior Associate at Arbor Brothers.

Board of Directors

This core group of supporters bears fiduciary responsibility for the organization and ultimately selects the constituents of each grant portfolio.

  • Ken Glassman

    Arbor Brothers Board Chair | CEO & Chief Investment Officer of RWN Management, LLC

  • Cathy Bacich

    Attorney (retired)

  • Michael Braner

    Managing Partner at 325 Capital

  • Ingrid Dyott

    Managing Director at Neuberger Berman

  • Geoff Goldstein

    Senior Director at HFF LP

  • Erica Hamilton

    Principal at Arbor Brothers

  • Melissa Harris

    Senior Executive Director for NYC Department of Education

  • Emily Keenan

    Teach for America (retired)

  • Mac Levine

    Former Partner at Corvex Management

  • Sammy Politziner

    Co-founder of Arbor Brothers

  • Chris Rush

    Co-Founder and Chief Program Officer at New Classrooms

  • David Sambur

    Senior Partner at Apollo Global Management

  • Sean Sauler

    Partner at Redwood Capital Management

  • Scott Thomas

    Co-founder of Arbor Brothers


Board of Advisors

From the beginning, the generously shared insights of these experienced social entrepreneurs have played an instrumental role in Arbor Brothers’ development.

  • Nick Ehrmann

    Founder and President of Blue Engine

  • Michael Ellis

    Managing Director & COO at Inherent Group

  • Chaula Gupta

    Vice President of Program Investments at Chicago Public Education Fund

  • Matt Klein

    Executive Director at the Center for Economic Opportunity

  • Rich Leimsider

    Executive Director of the Safe Passage Project

  • Nitzan Pelman

    CEO of ReUp Education

  • Jessica Sager

    Co-Founder and Executive Director at All Our Kin



We are extraordinarily grateful to the people who power our work: our donors.

This generous group of families and foundations has refused to accept that life circumstances should dictate access to opportunity. Since 2009 their investments in Arbor Brothers have helped build and sustain organizations working every day to transform the lives of young people in our community.

Contribute to the Solution

Arbor Brothers finds, funds, and deeply supports the most promising second-stage nonprofits in the tri-state area.