Senator Squadron Honors Lower East Side’s Mary Spink as ‘Woman of Distinction’


Squadron: Spink's Achievements -- Against All Odds -- Serve to Inspire, Empower Community

ALBANY – State Senator Daniel Squadron selected Lower East Side community leader Mary Spink as one of New York’s “Women of Distinction,” honoring her this week at the annual Senate celebration that recognizes outstanding women throughout the state.

As Executive and Development Director of the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association (LESPMH) and a member of Community Board 3, Ms. Spink has worked tirelessly for the Lower East Side community on issues such as housing, drug and crime prevention, and the arts.

Senator Squadron said, “Mary represents the best of individual achievement against all odds, which she directs entirely at empowering and bettering her community. Her passion, hard work and ingenuity have inspired countless others and made the Lower East Side a better place. I’m thrilled to honor everything that Mary has done to make our community more affordable and diverse."

City Council Member Rosie Mendez and Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer joined Senator Squadron and Ms. Spink in Albany.

Council Member Mendez said, “Mary Spink's work as a low income housing developer and her lifetime volunteerism in community preservation and stabilization in the Lower East Side is worthy of recognition. I am grateful that Senator Squadron honored Mary with the Woman of Distinction Award”

Ms. Stetzer said, “Mary is what the Lower East Side is all about. She is a tough, strong woman who uses her incredible skills to help the most vulnerable in our community—and Mary gets things done! She is a role model and an inspiration for us all.”  

Ms. Spink said, "It was a wonderful event. I want to thank Senator Squadron for including me in the ranks of so many truly great women of New York State."

Ms. Spink’s biography and photograph will become part of a special exhibit on the contributions of New York women. 

(City Council Member Rosie Mendez, Honoree Mary Spink, Senator Daniel Squadron and Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer at the Women of Distinction Celebration)

Mary Spink Biography

Born in Schenectady, N.Y. in 1946, Mary Spink moved to New York City in her late teens. Though life in New York was difficult for a young woman on her own, Mary soon found her way through volunteer work. It was by giving of her time that she found her true vocation. She worked at many different jobs, but her quick mind, her energy and organizational abilities soon pushed her into positions where she could and would make a difference.

Down through the years, Mary has owned and operated a dress shop, a newsstand, a hardware store and Sacred Circle Inc. - all in the Lower East Side. Her long resume lists experience as: cook, record promoter, brick layer, dancer, waitress, plumber, office manager, superintendent, property manager. She has served as Director of Drug Prevention for Archdiocese of New York and now is currently Executive and Development Director of LES Peoples Mutual Housing Association, Inc.

In addition to her work, Mary has given back to the community in many ways. She has volunteered as Board or Committee Member of over twenty organizations including nineteen years as Board or Committee Member of the LES Peoples Federal Credit Union (LESPFCU), fourteen years as Board Member of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (NFCDCU), for nine years served as Board Member and Chair of the LES Girls Club (LESGC).

Mary is the recipient of many awards. She was awarded the “Neighborhood Advocate Award” from the Citizens Committee of NYC for mobilizing against drugs and crime in New York City. She received the “Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award” from the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions for having gone above and beyond the norm to benefit CDCUs and the community they serve throughout the country. She was awarded the “Pioneer Spirit Award” from the LESPFCU for her immeasurable contributions to the credit union.

In 2006 Enterprise New York awarded her the “Andrew Heiskell Community Renaissance Award” for her work in community revitalization within the Lower East Side. Enterprise Community Investment Corp. awarded her their “Innovative Venture Award” which recognized her work in advancing energy efficient sustainable housing before Green became a catchword. Good Old Lower East Side awarded her their “Housing as a Human Right Award” for her housing work in the Lower East Side. In 2007 the Alliance of Residence Theaters presented her with the “Dewitt Stern Local Hero Award” for her support of the Arts.

In 2008 Little Missionary Day Nursery presented her with their Sara Curry Award for Community Service. In 2010, The Lower East Side Girls Club presented her with a Willow Award for her work to see the LESGC build their new headquarters.