Verna Eggleston joined HMI in 1994 as Director of Programs. One year later, she was promoted to Associate Executive Director, which she held for three years before being named Executive Director. Verna served as Executive Director at HMI from 1998-2001, during which time she met and was sought upon by Mike Bloomberg for advice on social services issues in New York. Prior to joining Hetrick-Martin, Verna served as Deputy Commissioner of NYC Child Welfare.
Verna, today, leads the Women’s Economic Development initiatives at Bloomberg Philanthropies—a role she has held since the program’s inception in 2007. The initiatives have impacted over 537,700 women benefiting over 2.15 million family members globally, ensuring their economic independence.
Verna currently holds a permanent seat at the United Nations Economic and Social Development Council (ECOSOC), representing Bloomberg Philanthropies in a consultative status and currently serving as an Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She has also been appointed to the Africa Advisory Board for the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.
Prior to joining Bloomberg Philanthropies, Verna worked for more than four decades in human and social development, both in government and the private sector. She returned to government as the Commissioner for New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) for the Bloomberg Administration. She was the longest serving Commissioner of the agency, serving in this role from 2002 to 2007, and was the first Commissioner appointed to the position twice by the same sitting Mayor.
Under her leadership, HRA developed “We Care”, a mayoral initiative which received the 2008 Innovation Award from the United States Department of Labor. In 2016, Verna received the Civic Leadership Award from the Citizens Committee in New York and in 2017 received the Radical Generosity Award from the New York Women’s Foundation.
Verna also served for 12 years under the administrations of Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins at HRA, working on many social issues including opening the first facility for infants with AIDS, to being appointed Deputy Commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services and Deputy Administrator of the Emergency Assistance Units in the five boroughs of New York City.
Verna was named one of the 100 Black Executives by Black Enterprise magazine and received the Arthur Ashe award for social development. She presented her work on social reform before Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and the Presidents of Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. She worked with Oprah Winfrey and the Governor of Illinois on legislation against child abuse, and Attorney General Janet Reno on hate crimes.