Jessica Lappin is the President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. The organization manages the country’s largest Business Improvement District (BID) and provides sanitation and public safety services downtown, serves the street homeless, runs a free bus service, and uses research and marketing to generally advance Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st century Central Business District. Lappin also serves as the President of its sister organization, the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association, founded in 1958 by David Rockefeller.
A lifelong New Yorker, Ms. Lappin has a distinguished record in civic life and public service. Since taking the helm of the Alliance in February 2014, Lappin has emerged as the voice of the downtown business community and ensured that the BID remains at the forefront of efforts to shape the neighborhood. Under her leadership, the Alliance has provided crucial grants and assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID, advocated successfully for tax incentives to improve the business climate, placed hundreds of homeless individuals into permanent housing, run award winning marketing campaigns, and helped secure nearly $100 million in resiliency funding for Lower Manhattan. Lappin has also led the organization’s economic development efforts to create a first-of-its kind innovation hub, work space and collaboration center called Lower Manhattan HQ.
Prior to her tenure at the Alliance, Lappin was elected to serve two terms in the New York City Council, representing the Upper East Side, East Midtown, and Roosevelt Island, and was praised by the New York Times for her “steely resolve, dedication, and energy.” She played a key role in bringing the Cornell-Technion Applied Science and Engineering Campus to Roosevelt Island, oversaw the approval of over 20,000 new public school seats citywide, helped keep 100 senior centers from closing, expanded the city’s recycling efforts, and spearheaded the successful development of four new waterfront parks. And, as Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus, she authored a nationally recognized, landmark bill to protect women’s health and reproductive rights.
The Aspen Institute, a renowned international think tank, selected Jessica as a Rodel Fellow in 2011. The Rodel program is focused on transcending political partisanship and addressing overarching questions of leadership and effective governance.
She also serves on the boards of the FDR Memorial and Four Freedoms Park, Battery Conservancy, Women’s Forum, International Downtown Association, and the American Skin Association. She sits on the Executive Committee of NYC & Company, New York City’s tourism agency, the Steering Committee of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), and is an Ex Officio board member of the “people’s theater” founded in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello Laguardia, New York City Center.
Lappin lives in Manhattan with her husband and two sons. She graduated from Georgetown University, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, and from Stuyvesant High School.