Chief Change Officer
New York City Department of Design and Construction
Lonni Tanner is Chief Change Officer at the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), where she serves as the Executive Director of See ChangeNYC, an initiative that designs places and experiences that empower at-risk citizens to take charge of their lives.
Before joining the City, Lonni consulted for many non-profits, foundations and companies, using design and ingenuity to draw public attention to the squalid conditions of inner-city poor families and to energize donors to contribute stunning amounts of cash and in-kind.
For 11 years, she served as Director of Special Projects for the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City, where she amassed donations of more than $50 million in cash, goods and services on behalf of innovative poverty-fighting projects. She convinced some of the nations leading architects to design 31 award-winning libraries in public elementary schools. She re-imagined the design of soup kitchens, science labs, childcare centers, playgrounds — and the programs that ignite them. She found innovative ways to affordably furnish apartments for formerly homeless families, designed a successful summer camp for struggling readers and a jobs program for struggling teens.
Lonni also helped launch City Year, an award-winning think and do tank for National Service. She started her career in public relations. Among Lonni's awards: a Lyndhurst Prize, a Loeb Fellowship from Harvard's Graduate School of Design and a national AIA Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement.
Says long-time collaborator, architect James Biber, "She throws herself under a bus everyday — and likes it. And boy, can she move mountains. Her nickname should be Sisyphus.”