Phillip A. Saperia

(         June 2001

I, Phillip, am 55. I am Executive Director of a an association of community based mental health agencies. I am a graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor's degree in Politics and a Master's from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. I was briefly a secondary school teacher. For most of my professional life, I have been a Jewish communal professional in several national and international organizations. I was Director of the New York City Mayor's Office of Jewish Communal Affairs in the last administration. I am active in local (and citywide) politics in Brooklyn where I live. I have for many years been active in neighborhood preservation and in civic concerns. I serve as an officer in my synagogue and spend weekends in my house in New Jersey with my partner of 27 years, James Golden where we garden, read and entertain.

My grandfather Abraham emigrated from Leeds with my grandmother, his wife Tema (Monchar). I know very little about them. Abraham died in his mid 50's and Tema died before I was born. I know that Abraham was President of his shul in East Boston and family legend has it that they were very charitable and quite generous in both the Jewish and Italian communities in their neighborhood. They had four sons: Joseph (who family lore has it ran away from home in his late teens and who could never be found despite some investigations and other attempts to find him; Meyer who married Bessie (both deceased); Eli who, I believe, was in Southampton during the war and connected with the family--Eli died in his late 40s, leaving his second wife, Vicki (the first wife, Jean, died in childbirth with his first child, Terry) Terry Saperia Schwartz and Barry, who is a physician and surgeon; and Irving (Israel), my father who died this past January 10. Irving married Pearl (Misiph) who had four children. My sisters are Judith Bohrer (who has a 13 year twins--recently b'nai mitzvahed, Barbara Zwart and my brother is Bruce, married to Vicki with a son, Adam who is 8 years old.

Eli Saperia died on 1/31/62 at age 47. He is buried in Pride of Boston Cemetery (in the Levine lot--his wife Vicki was a Levine). Emma Monchar Saperia (and I have heard her also referred to as Tema--perhaps her Yiddish name?) died on 9/20/41 at age 60. Isaac Saperia died on 7/1/37 at age 57. Jacob Saperia (Isaac's brother) died on 2/7/51 at age 81. Benjamin Saperia (another brother of my Dad's)--died at 4 yrs. 6 mos. on 9/2/14. They all are buried in Congregation Ohel Jacob Cemetery of East Boston.


Phillip A. Saperia began as Executive Director of CVMHA in October 1994.  Since his arrival at the Coalition, Mr. Saperia has been immersed in mental health public policy, government support of community mental health, the evolution of public managed care programs for people living with mental illness and the emerging area of employment for people with psychiatric disabilities. He has overseen the Coalition’s program of education advocacy and technical assistance to the diverse community-based behavioral health providers of New York City. Mr. Saperia has been in the fields of community and government relations for over 20 years. Before coming to the Coalition, Mr. Saperia was a consultant to several not-for-profit agencies on matters related to community siting of special care housing and on the development of local community advisory boards. During the administration of David Dinkins, he served as Director of the Mayor's Office of Jewish Community Affairs.  Mr. Saperia has been active in community organizations in the brownstone neighborhoods of Brooklyn.  Mr. Saperia graduated with a B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University. He holds an M.A.T. from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education where he was elected to Phi Delta Kappa, the National Honorary Education Society.

The Coalition of Voluntary Mental Health Agencies, Inc.  (CVMHA) is the umbrella advocacy organization of New York City’s mental health community, representing over 100 non-profit community based mental health agencies that serve more than 500,000 clients in the five boroughs of New York City. Founded in 1972, the Coalition is entirely membership supported with limited foundation and government funding for special purpose advocacy and assistance projects. The 500,000 adults and children aided by Coalition agencies come from every neighborhood, borough and walk of life; most are working poor or living below the poverty line. Member organizations sustain some of New York City’s most vulnerable citizens: those with psychiatric and addictive disabilities, the homeless, persons with HIV, struggling families, the fragile elderly, and troubled children. The Coalition is a (501)(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, governed by a board of 30 agency executives and leaders of New York City’s mental health community.