Amalia Betanzos is President of Wildcat Service Corporation, a non-profit multi-million dollar employment program. Founded in 1972, Wildcat’s goal is to bring the chronically unemployed – ex-offenders, public assistance recipients, former alcohol and substance abusers, high school drop-outs, youth involved with the criminal justice system and persons with limited English language proficiency into the regular labor force, thus breaking their cycle of welfare dependency, addiction and crime.
Ms. Betanzos is the founder of the John V. Linday Wildcat Academy, a charter high school program funded by the New York City Board of Education. The Academy, founded in 1992, is presently one of the most successful high school programs in the country. Today, its students’ levels of achievement, measured by the classic standards of attendance, graduation rate, college enrollment and SAT and RCT scores, well exceed the performance of New York City’s other high schools.
A native of New York, Ms. Betanzos was born, raised and educated in the South Bronx. She is a graduate of New York University, and has extensive experience in the public and private nonprofit sectors. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appointed her Chair of the New York City Commission on the Status of Women in May of 1995, and she served until June of 2002. She has been a member of the Temporary New York State Commission on Constitutional Revision and the New York City Commission on the Redevelopment of Naval Station New York.
Ms. Betanzos has also served as a member of the Citizens Commission on AIDS, as a member of the NYC Board of Education and is a trustee of Catholic Charities. In addition, she has been elected Chairperson of the National Puerto Rican Coalition on several occasions. She has been appointed by the past five NYC Mayors to a number of important positions, including the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Police Management and Personnel Policy and as Chairperson of the Rent Guidelines Board. Ms. Betanzos also served on the Sovereign Commission on Integrity in Government, a joint appointment by Governor Cuomo and and Mayor Koch.
Prior to Wildcat, she served in a variety of positions in the Lindsay, Beame and Koch Administrations. As Commissioner of the Youth Services Agency, she was charged with the destinies of the more than one and one-half million New York youth under 21. She gained a reputation for being an outstanding administrator with an untiring capacity to meet new challenges. Ms. Betanzos was Executive Secretary to Mayor John Lindsay, in charge of programs for the underprivileged and physically and mentally handicapped. Before that time, she was Commissioner of Relocation and Management Services in the Housing and Development Administration. In this post, she was directly in charge of coordinating relocation services to families in conjunction with the City’s Urban Renewal programs and emergency housing. She also served as a member of the NYC Housing Authority for five years. Before joining the City Administration, she was Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Community Development Project and President of the National Association for Puerto Rican Civil Rights.