Born in Harlem, Brian A. Benjamin is the son of Caribbean immigrants who came to this country seeking new opportunities for themselves and their family. Although they didn’t have a college education, his parents were fortunate enough to eventually find good-paying union jobs, which allowed them to provide a middle-class upbringing for Brian and his siblings. His parents instilled in him a deep commitment to education, so Brian attended local schools before earning his undergraduate degree in Public Policy from Brown University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Before his election, Brian developed affordable housing as a partner in Genesis Companies. Genesis’ unique community engagement model has allowed Brian to develop over a thousand units of environmentally sustainable, affordable housing while helping young people develop work skills and secure good construction jobs through the Sobro Youthbuild program. Prior to Genesis, Brian worked in finance, served as the Richmond Field Director in Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign and interned in the office of Bill Lynch & Associates.
Brian is heavily involved in his community, having served as Chair of Community Board 10, where he formerly chaired the Land Use Committee, a position he used to preserve the character of our community and help keep Harlem affordable. He has helped countless young people at Harlem’s Wadleigh High School achieve a brighter future since launching a mentoring program in 2013, and he is honored to serve as an alumni-elected trustee of Brown University. In addition to his work in the community, Brian has long been active in progressive politics, serving as a 2012 delegate for President Barack Obama and as a member of President Obama’s National Finance Committee.
Brian is an active member of Harlem’s historic First Corinthian Baptist Church. After graduating from business school, Brian wanted to return to the neighborhood that gave his family a start in life over 40 years ago. It was Harlem Hospital that opened its doors to his pregnant mother without health insurance years ago and while it’s a coincidence that Brian presently lives a few short blocks from that same hospital it is purposeful that Brian looks to give back to Harlem as much as it has given to him.