Erin Cordiner, 29
Director of Volunteer Programs
Westchester Parks Foundation
Pivoting into a career that tapped into her passion for the environment is paying off for Erin Cordiner — and for the county’s parks. Cordiner, now director of volunteer programs, joined the staff at the Westchester Parks Foundation in 2018. The year before her involvement, volunteers were contributing 5,541 hours annually and there was $24,900 in donations, sponsorships, and grants. By 2019, under her watch, volunteer hours were up more than 32%, and donations, grants, and sponsorships soared to $142,253.
Cordiner, a Hawthorne resident, started her position at the philanthropic organization, which provides support to preserve the county park system, in May 2018, after spending almost five years working for a fire protection company.
At the foundation, she’s been instrumental in the launch of the group’s Green Squad Program, which enables community members and organizations to perform park cleanups, expanding it to 18 new park locations. She also launched the Entergy Nature Ambassador Program in 2019, which trains volunteer naturalists how to go to urban and underserved schools to engage teachers and students in using the parks as a natural classroom.
In addition, Cordiner established a lake revitalization project, which includes a volunteer program. The project involves four county parks, including Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers and Twin Lakes County Park in Eastchester. She also started the Clean River Project, which seeks to catalog trash in the Bronx River, hold the appropriate businesses accountable, and prevent the trash from making its way into the river.
“I love my job because I have the opportunity to interact with all kinds of people and companies throughout Westchester,” she says. “I’m enhancing parks and making the environment better for future generations.”