KC Hankins grew up in Manchester, NJ and moved to New York City to study mathematics and economics at Pace University. Living in the city opened his eyes to what it meant to live authentically and he hasn’t looked back since.
Today, KC is a proud math teacher at a public high school in Coney Island, where he has the privilege to be an out teacher, thanks to the leadership of the queer colleagues who came before him. Being a teacher is a huge part of who KC is, and he considers teaching each day a radical act of love for his students.
On nights and weekends, KC sees grassroots activism and politics as some of many mechanisms that can be used for positive social change, and they are levers he is very passionate about pulling. To that end, he is the Vice President of the Young Democrats of Richmond County, as well as the LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair for the New York State Young Democrats. KC’s proudest acts of activism has been twice leading a group of protestors to stand in solidarity with the Pride Center of Staten Island after they’ve been denied entry to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. By forming a human rainbow and running the annual Forest Avenue Mile, which precedes the parade, they were able to show Staten Island that Irish people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions, and their allies, have a place in our community.
In his free time, KC enjoys riding his longboard in Silver Lake Park, playing video games, and cooking. During the summers, he has been fortunate enough to travel with his fiancé on lengthy road trips, adventuring with family and friends around the United States.
Lois and Richard Nicotra
Lois and Richard Nicotra, Staten Island’s largest private real estate developers, own and manage more than 1 million square feet of prime commercial space and acres of meticulously manicured grounds. The Nicotra Group properties include 8 Class A office buildings, as well as their Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Nicotra’s Ballroom, Above Weddings & Rooftop, Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Bar & Cabaret – all located in a 415 acre natural woodland preserve in their Corporate Park of Staten Island. Recognized for environmentally-friendly development, and recipients of the prestigious Arbor Day Award, they founded their nonprofit Bloomfield Conservancy which preserves wetlands and surrounding areas through daily maintenance and public art.
At their COMMONS café, your meal is on a mission to 'Eat Good. Do Good.'; a quick-service eatery established in 2011 with their $1.6 million gift, the café donates 100% of its profits and has awarded nearly $650,000 in grants to Staten Island nonprofits and scholarships for the Nicotras’ employees’ children. The menu features healthier options and a ‘Best Burger on Staten Island’. The café caters, and nonprofit organizations can earn 100% of the profits from their catering order.
The café is rooted in the Nicotras' love of food. In 1976, they opened their first Everything Yogurt store near Manhattan's Wall Street, expanding to more than 250 franchises internationally. In 2003, they sold Everything Yogurt. Richard is a nationally recognized expert in shopping center/food court development.
The Nicotras' hospitality venues affect a social good. In 2005, the Nicotras hosted a benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims raising nearly $375,000, absorbing 100% of the event costs. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy which severely impacted their beloved borough, the Nicotras were feted nationally after refusing to ask Island residents to vacate hotel rooms at their Hilton and Hampton Inn for NYC marathoners. Island residents seeking refuge counted on their hotels; the hotel housed the Red Cross. The Nicotras later hosted a Sandy relief benefit, donating event costs; the 800 attendee event raised $150,000 for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. In January 2014, the Nicotras replicated that fundraising model and hosted an 800 person benefit for Philippine Islands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan; attended by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, nearly $75,000 was raised at the event.
For more than 20 years, the Nicotras have hosted the Daughters of St. Paul Christmas concerts at which the nuns perform, raising more than $2 million for this small order of self-supporting nuns.
The Nicotras met as undergraduates at St. John’s University. Lois, a former elementary school teacher, has a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, and a Master of Science degree in Reading. Richard received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. In 1986, Richard was the youngest person in SJU history to receive an honorary doctorate.
The Nicotras' Staten Island is a small town with big opportunity. They are in the design phase for a second eatery following the COMMONS cafè's 100% profits to charity philanthropic model; the Nicotras' investment in this new eatery - Pienza Pizza, Pasta & Porchetta - will double the grants and scholarships awarded to their native borough. The eatery will be a featured part of their next development, Corporate Commons Three, a 330,000 square foot, 8-story Class A office building that will feature a 40,000 square foot Organic Rooftop Garden with an Apiary and Herb Garden. This is their most expansive project to date. Corporate Commons Three will feature the Pienza eatery, large scale Sculptures, a Vineyard that will produce edible grapes grown for local food pantries, as well as an Outdoor Classroom for students to visit and learn about the environment.
The Nicotras’ social enterprise will extend beyond their lifetime; their life's work is a legacy for Staten Island.