Nakeefa Garay


Nakeefa Garay entered the Global Urban Studies PhD program with seven years of experience in New Jersey’s nonprofit community development industry. Most recently she served as a Program Officer at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) where she provided hands on technical assistance and support to government, nonprofits and resident leaders working to revitalize under-resourced neighborhoods in greater Newark. Prior to working for LISC she worked as a Communications and Development Associate at New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) in Paterson, NJ. During her time at NJCDC and LISC, Nakeefa raised over $4.5MM to support urban revitalization work in Newark and Paterson.  

A two time graduate of Rutgers University, Nakeefa is an alumna of both Cook College (Bachelor of Science, Environmental Policy, 2007) and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy (Master of Public Policy, Community Development, 2010). Nakeefa’s research interests include civic engagement, social capital, and collective efficacy in low income communities. By exploring issues and trends in civic disengagement, Nakeefa hopes to use the tools of academia to strengthen resident engagement efforts within the community development industry. Born in Trinidad, and raised in Jersey City, Nakeefa is a proud resident of Newark, New Jersey.