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Tondra Lynford, MS, CSW, is a clinical psychotherapist, civic leader, and private philanthropist who has worked extensively with children afflicted with disabilities and their families for over three decades. She has advocated for greater educational support and opportunities for many deserving young individuals, ranging from the pervasively developmentally handicapped and autistic to the exceptionally gifted in numerous forums and venues, both domestically and internationally. Tondra is the Executive Director of the Lynford Family Charitable Trust which has four targeted areas of giving: education and health, historic preservation and environmental conservation, the performing and visual arts, and research relating to public policy.

She is Co-founder and Trustee Emeritus of Resources for Children with Special Needs, Inc. (RCSN), one of New York City’s leading nonprofit organizations that works across all five boroughs to ensure that children with disabilities are able to access the full range of public services they need in order to become contributing, independent citizens. RCSN guides parents to make informed choices as they navigate the challenges they face and helps educators, service providers, and public officials to provide responsive, responsible services.

As an advocate for special needs children, Tondra serves in many roles and capacities, currently as Chair of the Advisory Board of Hunter College’s Research, Practice, and Policy Center; as a member of the Executive Committee of the Anderson Center for Autism Foundation Board of Directors (Staatsburg, NY); and as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the NYU/Silver School of Social Work. Previously she has served as the President of the Board of Trustees of the Vista Vocational Life Skills Center (Madison, CT), and as a Trustee Emeritus of the Maplebrook School (Amenia, NY). 

Internationally, Tondra advises NGO’s operating in many nations, including Ethiopia, Bhutan, China, and India. Through the Lynford Family International Fellowship Program (endowed at the Weill Cornell College of Medicine in 2005) four medical students are selected annually to travel to provide medical treatments for under-served populations in developing nations. To date over 30 doctors have cared for indigent patients in 17 of the world’s poorest nations. Tondra is a founding trustee of the Ethiopian School Readiness Initiative (ESRI), a multi-faceted pre-K program integrating cognitive learning, parent education, micro-finance, medical and nutritional components.  Established in Addis Ababa in 2007 with 80 students ranging in age from three to six years old, this program today serves over 10,000 pre-school children. Most recently, in conjunction with the Bhutan Foundation, Tondra has organized an International Fellowship program at the Anderson Center for Autism to enable Bhutanese graduate students to come to the United States to learn more effective and evidence based treatments for autism.

Tondra has been a long-time participant in both the visual and the performing arts. From 1982 to 1992, she worked in the Impressionist and Modern Arts Department at Sotheby’s in New York and Los Angeles. She has served as a Trustee of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (Katonah, NY) and is a continuing contributor of works of art to numerous museums and schools, including The National Portrait Gallery, New York University, The New York Historical Society, the Society of Illustrators, and The Millbrook School.

In recognition of her hand-on work, Tondra has been the recipient of awards from many of the organizations she has assisted, including:

Tondra holds a BA from Barnard College, a MS from Columbia University School of Social Work, and attended Bank Street Graduate School of Education. She is married to Jeffrey H. Lynford, the CEO of Educational Housing Services, Inc. (a nonprofit organization that provides safe and affordable dormitory housing for New York City’s college students) and who serves as a Commissioner of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and as a Trustee of New York University. They are proud parents of four children.