Arthur Palevsky, Executive Director
Mr. Palevsky began his career in social services in 1975 after receiving two Masters Degrees from Columbia University. He entered the field working in direct service before advancing to managerial and executive roles. Throughout his distinguished career, he has been dedicated to enhancing the lives of developmentally disabled individuals. With specializations in program development and quality assurance, Mr. Palevsky is strongly attuned to familial challenges associated with caring for a loved one with special needs. Prior to joining Independent Living Association, Inc. in January 1991, he worked for a parent-run service provider for more than a decade. Under Mr. Palevsky’s outstanding leadership at ILA (he was appointed Executive Director in 2003), the agency has grown significantly and continues to expand to serve many more Individuals and families across New York City.
Frank De Lucia, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Executive Director
Mr. De Lucia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from St. John’s University, and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1984. After working as an auditor for the City of New York and then a major bank, Mr. De Lucia spent 13 years in public accounting, performing audits and tax services. In 1986, he performed the first fiscal audit of Independent Living Association, Inc., and then joined the Agency as its Chief Financial Officer in 1992. He was also named Deputy Executive Director in May 2003. Mr. De Lucia specializes in Medicaid funding, Not-for-Profit accounting, financial projections and budgeting, as well as internal control policies and procedures. He wrote ILA’s manual of accounting policies and procedures, which has been lauded by auditors from the State of New York and independent auditing firms. He is well- respected in the not-for-profit industry.
Ava Morgan, Director of Operations
Ms. Morgan joined Independent Living Association, Inc. in 1993 with 15 years of dedicated service to the developmentally disabled under her belt. Ms. Morgan worked for voluntary and New York State service providers before becoming a standards compliance analyst for New York State, where she audited community programs and became an expert in regulations. During her tenure with ILA, Ms. Morgan has held a range of leadership positions, including Director of Quality Assurance and Director of Residential Services. In her current role as ILA’s Director of Operations, Ms. Morgan is responsible for overseeing four departments, 32 programs and more than 600 employees.
Tisha Jones, Director of Human Resources
Ms. Jones has worked in the field of Developmental Disabilities since 1994. She began her career as a Direct Care Counselor before advancing to management and supervisor positions. In 2010, she was appointed Administrator of Residential Services. As an administrator, Ms. Jones worked closely with Human Resources professionals handling issues such as conflict management/resolution, performance management, and union contracts. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Professional Studies in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Richard Gruber, Director of Quality Assurance
Mr. Gruber has been working in the field of Developmental Disabilities since 1981. It was his work as a direct care counselor that first inspired him to pursue a formal career in the “helping professions.” Mr. Gruber has been affiliated with ILA since 1990, working as an Applied Behavioral Sciences Specialist before being named Director of Quality Assurance in 2007. In addition, Mr. Gruber has worked as Supervising Psychologist for the agency and later served as Coordinator of Psychological Services. He has also presented at national AAMR conferences and at regional NYSACRA conferences. Mr. Gruber holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Psychology.
Steven Bonici, Director of IT Services
Mr. Bonici joined ILA in January 2006 as an IT Manager and was quickly promoted to IT Director. During his tenure with the agency, he has been committed to helping ILA quickly adopt new technology, while streamlining processes to improve productivity and better serve ILA’s Individuals.
Mr. Bonici began his career as a system administrator at a reinsurance company, where he was the sole creator of a Network and email system that helped to enhance communication between multiple offices. He later became a systems manager for a large retail company where he was instrumental in a Network redesign that connected three offices, a Point-of-Sale (POS) system, 70 outlet stores, and a warehouse.
In his spare time, Mr. Bonici, along with his wife and three children, perform a great deal of community service. During the holidays, they organize an annual toy drive in the name of Mr. Bonici’s brother in-law, a former New York City police officer whose life was taken while off-duty. The heartfelt event has been brightening the lives of children and families in need since 1995.
John DeGroot, Director of Purchasing
Mr. De Groot began working at ILA in March 1993 as the Purchasing Manager and was named Director of Purchasing in 2005. His experience in the restaurant industry (working as a General Manager) has allowed Mr. De Groot to bring his knowledge of inventory maintenance, billing practices, vendor relationships, problem solving, cost-management and menu planning. He has cultivated strong relationships with suppliers across the New York area. When ordering goods and services, Mr. De Groot’s exceptional leadership and negotiating skills have consistently helped to secure fair pricing and quality items for ILA’s residences and administrative offices. He continues to monitor costs to ILA and adapt the agency to an ever-changing, challenging financial climate.