Founded in 1999 by Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, BUILD is dedicated to proving the power of experiential learning through entrepreneurship and igniting the potential of youth in under-resourced communities


BUILD launched in NYC in 2016. In our inaugural year we served 435 students throughout the New York area. Spread out over 10 schools, 90 volunteer mentors supported our youth entrepreneurs in launching their own businesses.

Meet the Team

At BUILD, we know that the people we work with, and the communities we serve, are our greatest assets and strengths.  We are proud to inspire students from under-resourced communities to stay in high school, develop critical job skills, and achieve post-secondary success through the power of entrepreneurship.

Chymeka Olfonse

Regional Executive Director

Chymeka Olfonse has dedicated her entire professional career to empowering individuals through education. She has worked in programming, development and management capacities at the New York City Department of Education and at The After-School Corporation (TASC).



Dwayne Wellington

Director Of Curriculum & Instruction

Dwayne Wellington was born and raised on Long Island. Dwayne graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelors degree in Mathematics and graduated from St. John's University with a master's in Secondary Education. Dwayne served as a high school math teacher from 2009-2016 before joining BUILD NYC.

Miranda Bellizia

Community Engagement Manager

Miranda Bellizia has a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. At BUILD NYC, she manages the volunteer program and helps to maintain corporate partnerships.  Miranda also manages BUILD NYC's social media presence - follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Ali Chin

Student Success Program Manager

Ali, hailing from NJ, attended the University of Michigan and earned a bachelor's degree in Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience. Prior to joining BUILD, she worked in programming at Student Sponsor Partners (SSP), a four-year high school scholarship program for New York City youth supporting the management of SSP's school partners and scholars, including student recruitment and placement.

Pamela Minetti

Major Gifts Officer

Pamela Minetti has spent her career in the nonprofit, financial services and technology sectors. Her diverse experience encompasses fundraising, relationship management, institutional sales, and talent acquisition. Pamela is dedicates to child welfare and education; she has also served as a volunteer and board member for over twenty years.



Student Experience Program Manager

Hailing from Los Angeles, Cindy attended the University of California Berkeley and received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Public Policy. Upon graduation, she worked on educational policy reform on Capitol Hill. After, she worked as an Academic Advisor for Upward Bound, a nonprofit at the Latin American Youth Center. Her interest in international education led her to pursue a Master’s in International Education at NYU.


Stay Informed

Get the latest news from BUILD NYC!