New KRVC leader already a community leader


Levine-Pinedo assumes the role of interim executive director with the KRVC beginning July 1. She succeeds Tracy McCabe Shelton, who is stepping down after 14 years at the helm.

And there is a lot Shelton says she’s proud of, especially since she shepherded KRVC not just through funding cuts in 2018, but also the coronavirus pandemic.

“When I started at KRVC in April 2010,” Shelton said, “my goals were to open a new office, make the organization better known in Riverdale, develop funding sources for the organization, and to serve the community at a high level through a robust series of programs and events,”

And she did just that — something that became even more of a reality following the pandemic when Levine-Pinedo became more active.

The first project the two worked on was a merchant alliance association on Bailey Avenue. That project gave Levine-Pinedo a taste for community building, and she never looked back.

Levine-Pinedo’s brainchild, the 4BronxProject, joined forces with KRVC officially in 2022, but the two organizations have worked together since the pandemic. The 4BronxProject is a community service-focused organization, dedicated to supporting the underserved while bringing diversity and inclusion to the community.

Levine-Pinedo has always respected and admired the KRVC, and says she will keep much of the same programming that already exists. Like the art space at Gallery 505. The monthly book club. Workshops. And other community events.

“I think this community should be celebrated,” she said. “We have so many amazing people with incredible stories. I think many times these stories are not told and not heard, so I really focus and dedicate my time to changing that narrative. When we come together, we realize that we’re more alike than we think.”

It’s important for her that her work develops a safe space for everybody where people can be themselves. It’s why she helped co-found Riverdale Pride, the now annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

In part of her effort to focus to give voices to locals, she has also developed a podcast, Bronx CommuniTea, which highlights business owners and neighbors. It pairs alongside the small business spotlight series she posts to her organization’s Instagram that provides insight into local businesses.

4BronxProject was partially born out of Levine-Pinedo’s passion for working in shelters. This past Valentine’s Day, the project threw a “Galentine’s Party” at a shelter that she says had an “unbelievable” turnout with numerous donations, volunteers, and meals served.

In all her work in the community, Levine-Pinedo said she’s never felt unsupported. Every time she has turned to her greater Riverdale community, they have been nothing but generous and supportive.

“My goal is to spread the KRVC machine throughout our borough,” she said, “whether it’s dropping off donations, or bringing awareness to our community and really being an advocate for the KRVC.”

Her interim position will conclude in two years if the search for another executive director is unfruitful. After that, Levine-Pinedo says she would love to take on the position officially.

“The 4BronxProject is a pretty robust programming schedule,” she said, “so I’m kind of going to merge the two of them and that will be my programming for our small business spotlights.”

Moving forward, Levine-Pinedo aims to bring more of the community into the fold. She wants the art gallery and her podcast to truly represent the people of the neighborhoods she works in.

One of the upcoming events for the 4BronxProject is a collaboration with Female Fight Club in North Riverdale. Johanna Edmondson, its founder, has worked alongside Levine-Pinedo and the 4BronxProject for several years. She believes the efforts of both of them align in many ways, making their partnership an obvious one.

The upcoming event, held at RiverSpring Living, will highlight four residents there who own their own businesses — all in celebration of Women’s History Month.

“We want to support them, elevate them, showcase them, and talk about their work,” Edmondson said. “There’s a lot of women that own businesses here.

“Laura is amazing. She does so much. I’m so happy that I’m working with her on this project. There’s more to come. We’re already planning for our event next year.”

Shelton knows she’s leaving KRVC in the right hands.

“I believe she is a natural for the position,” Shelton said of Levine-Pinedo. “She has been approved and embraced by our board. I am grateful for that, and have also supported Laura and will continue to do so.

“I see great things ahead for KRVC.”

KRVC interim executive director Tracy McCabe Shelton Riverdale community 4BronxProject Bailey Avenue merchant alliance Community building initiatives LGBTQ+ community celebration Riverdale Pride Bronx CommuniTea podcast Small business spotlight series Galentine's Party at shelters Riverdale community support Female Fight Club collaboration Women's History Month event Johanna Edmondson RiverSpring Living Women-owned businesses Community partnerships Laura Levine-Pinedo Future of KRVC