Raul Russi, Chief Executive Officer
Raul Russi is the Chief Executive Officer of Acacia Network, Inc. As such, he provides executive management of the day to day operations of the largest Puerto Rican-founded organization in New York, with an annual budget of more than $300 million in revenue and $400 million in assets. Acacia Network employs more than 2,500 individuals and serves over 120,000 people a year in the areas of Primary Healthcare, Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse Treatment, Affordable Housing, Transitional Housing for the Homeless families and individuals in partnership with the City of New York, Real Estate Development and Management in New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as Economic Development. In 2012, Hispanic Business magazine recognized Acacia Network as the 2 nd largest Latino Non Profit Organization in the United States and in 2013 and in 2013 Hispanic Executive Newsletter (http://hispanicexecutive.com/2013/acacia-network/ featured Raul in an article New York’s Finest.
Raul was born in Patillas, Puerto Rico and migrated to Buffalo, New York with his family as a child. His professional career began in 1971, when he joined the Buffalo Police Department and became Buffalo’s first Hispanic police officer. During his fifteen year career as a police officer, he excelled as a dedicated and conscientious officer and arrested and convicted more violent offenders than any other officer in the department’s history. He is also credited with implementing recruitment initiatives to increase minority hiring. He retired after he was shot in the line of duty in 1985. He was awarded the Department’s Purple Heart. He then joined the State Commission of Correction’s Citizens Policy and Complaint Review Council. In 1986, he became Superintendent of the Erie County New York Correctional Facility. Three years later, he was appointed Chairman of the New York State Parole Board and CEO of the Division of Parole by Governor Mario Cuomo. In 1995, he became the first Puerto Rican/Latino Sheriff of the City of New York. As Sheriff, he led an agency of 346 personnel and managed the collection of approximately $100 million in outstanding judgment debts on behalf of the City of New York and private sector clients.
Raul also built an impressive record of accomplishment in the human service arena beginning in the early seventies. In 1973, he created the Consortium of Spanish Speaking Organizations, the first full service agency headed by a Puerto Rican/Latino in Buffalo, followed by the founding of the Western New York Hispanic and Friends Civic Association. He provided the leadership and spearheaded the creation of Western New York’s first residential substance abuse treatment program, Horizon Village, then incorporated and chaired the board of La Alternativa, Buffalo’s first Hispanic based substance abuse prevention program. He then merged La Alternativa with two other organizations to create Buffalo’s largest Hispanic Organization, Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo, which has joined the Acacia Network as an affiliate since 2011.
In 1996, Raul was appointed Commissioner for the New York City Department of Probation, the nation’s second largest Probation Department. Additionally, he has held positions as the Executive Vice President of America Works, where he developed a program that focused on training and securing employment opportunities for individuals affected by the criminal justice system. In 2001 he became the Executive Director of Basics, Inc. and led Basics until 2009 when it affiliated with Promesa and established the network he now leads, Acacia Network, Inc.
Raul Russi has four children and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Rody Reyes-Russi, his daughter Crystal and his youngest son, Joshua.
Lymaris Albors, Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff to the CEO
Lymaris Albors is an exceptional, proactive, hands-on C-level executive with nearly 20 years of experience in the non-profit arena, with a rich mix of healthcare, housing, business development, and operations experience. Her strong commitment to quality, extensive managerial background, and dedication to lean processes has been asset to Acacia Network since she joined the organization in 2012. Her experience managing overall program organization budgets, low income tax credits, project based section 8, pre development and construction experience are all assets to the Acacia mission.
Currently, Ms. Albors serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff to the CEO of Acacia Network, working hand in hand with the organization’s top executive in running the day to day operations of one of the premiere Hispanic non-profits in the nation. In this role, Ms. Albors oversees the Senior Leadership Team in guiding the direction and future of the organization. She counsels, enlightens, and anchors the key decision makers in the organization to ensure alignment with Acacia’s long term strategic vision. Ms. Albors has spent the last two and a half years serving as a major change agent in the organization, working directly on the organizational restructuring of Acacia. She has led the organization’s Business Development division, spearheading all new ventures and joint ventures of Acacia’s for-profit entities, ensuring their growth, revenue, and sustainability. Her passion for the last 12 months has been the AYUDA Puerto Rico Relief Fund of Acacia Network that has generated nearly $2 million in new revenue, as well as the tremendous growth of the Acacia presence on the Island. All this, while also managing the entire organization’s marketing, communications, and fund development.
Ms. Albors earned a Master’s Degree in Public Communications from Fordham University and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico. She also holds an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School and an Executive Leadership Certificate from the Center for Creative Leadership.
Jose A. Rodriguez, Esq., Chief Legal Officer
José Antonio Rodriguez has been in the private practice of law during most of his 39-year career as a lawyer. He has handled matters involving corporate law, representing both business and non-profit corporations, among other areas of law. Mr. Rodriguez received his B.A. Degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, where he majored in Community Relations and Organization. He graduated Cum Laude in 1974 and was awarded the Leonard E. Reisman Medal for Scholarship and Service, at the time, one of the most prestigious awards given at graduation. Mr. Rodriguez has been involved in the community over the years. He represented Basics, Inc. since 1994, and when Basics, Inc. and Promesa Systems, Inc. were joined in 2009, he became the Board Attorney for the newly formed and branded Acacia Network. Mr. Rodriguez is Executive Vice President and Special Counsel of Acacia where he oversees the Real Estate and Asset Management Division, the Administration Division, and the Business Development Division.
Milton A. DeRienzo, CPA, Chief Financial Officer
Milton A. DeRienzo brings more than 30 years of experience in financial and operational management to support the mission and values of the Acacia Network. Mr. DeRienzo's experience includes serving as Executive Director for Business and Financial Management at New York City College of Technology (CUNY). He is a Certified Public Accountant with a BS in Accounting and Information Systems, as well as in Economics. He earned a Master of Science in Accounting from Queens College (CUNY). He is also a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation holder. Mr. DeRienzo was awarded the Leon Lowenstein Award for Administrative Accomplishments at FDNY, and a certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers' Association. He maintains memberships in a number of professional organizations including the NYS Society of CPA's (NYSSCPA) and the American Institute of CPA's (AICPA).
David C. Collymore, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. David C. Collymore is the Chief Medical Officer of Acacia Network. He is a native New Yorker, born in the South Bronx and raised in Jamaica, Queens. Dr. Collymore is a proud alumnus of Howard University and a product of Howard’s B.S. – M.D. Accelerated Medical Program. He was awarded a National Health Service Corps Scholarship and a W.K. Kellogg Community Medicine Fellowship while in medical school, and in May of 2000, at the age of 23, Dr. Collymore earned his medical degree. Dr. Collymore also earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration with a Focus in Health Care from George Washington University. In March of 2011 Dr. Collymore became the Chief Medical Officer of the Acacia Network. In this role, Dr. Collymore provides clinical leadership to this dynamic multi-faceted organization that offers primary and specialty healthcare services, substance abuse services, mental health services, housing, day care, and economic development to communities throughout New York City. Dr. Collymore has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including commendations from the New York State Senate and the Comptroller of New York City, serving as the keynote speaker for the National Health Services Corp, being named one of America’s Top Pediatricians, and being named as a Top 40 Under Forty Achiever by The Network Journal. He is also a member of the Clinical Committee of the Community Health Care Association of New York State, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Clinical Affairs Committee of the Affinity Health Plan.