Phyllis E. Gunther, a longtime leader from Ansonia Independent Democrats, Manhattan Community Board 7 (CB7) member and advocate for social and economic justice, has been a cornerstone of the Upper West Side community in which she has been active for well over four decades.
As one of the longest-serving members of CB7, Ms. Gunther has played a leading role in many local initiatives, including improving access to public transportation, the development of a ordable housing and the redevelopment of the 59th Street Recreation Center—an invaluable resource for area children and families, particularly those of limited means.
More than two decades ago, Ms. Gunther helped to establish Lincoln House Outreach, a non-profit organization providing activities and support services to residents of the middle-income Lincoln Guild housing cooperative, which is a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). A Lincoln Guild cooperator and NORC Vice Chair, Ms. Gunther has also been a strong advocate for her neighbors at the New York City Housing Authority developments Amsterdam Houses and Amsterdam Addition. Along with her late husband Ed, Ms. Gunther was instrumental in an effort to integrate two racially, socially and economically disparate neighborhood elementary schools.
Like a true Westsider, Ms. Gunther fuses her advocacy with a passion for performing. She has served for 15 years as an alto singer in the New York City Labor Chorus, which promotes union solidarity by expressing through song workers’ struggles for economic and social justice.
For all the many ways she contributes to our society, and for the grace and generosity of spirit with which she does it, Phyllis E. Gunther is truly a contemporary woman of distinction.