Sarah Lesser Avins

Senior Vice President of Advancement and Chief Development Officer

Sarah Lesser Avins is Senior Vice President of Advancement and Chief Development Officer for the New York Genome Center (NYGC). In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the organization’s overall fundraising efforts, donor relations, and external communications.

Ms. Lesser Avins brings over 30 years of fundraising and management experience to this position, including serving in several prior roles at the NYGC and NYGC member institution NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP). Prior to her current position, Ms. Lesser Avins was Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer at NYP, where she led one of the most successful healthcare development programs in the nation in support of one of the largest and most highly ranked integrated health systems in academic medicine. Ms. Lesser Avins played an instrumental role in attracting over $1.3 billion in philanthropic support during her six-year tenure in this position.

Ms. Lesser Avins originally joined the NYGC as Vice President of External Affairs and Chief Development Officer, serving in this leadership role from 2013 to 2015. She began an earlier tenure at NYP in 2007, first as Director of Campaign Development and then working in various capacities with progressive responsibility to rise to the position of Vice President for Development in 2013. She has also held previous positions as Director of Development at UCLA; Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the RAND Corporation; Director of Major Gifts at Sesame Workshop; and Director of Development for Sarah Lawrence College.

Ms. Lesser Avins earned her BA in Art History and Political Science from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.Phil in Russian and East European Studies from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.