Power Broker: Mitchell Draizin

Mitchell Draizin
Mitchell Draizin Toronto Globe
Toronto Globe, Courtesy Draizin

Mitchell Draizin is more than just a successful business person and a political powerhouse, he is a beacon of advocacy for countless causes and nonprofits that advance progress locally and nationally.

Draizin’s most notable philanthropic endeavors are within the LGBTQ+ community.

As one of the most visible LGBTQ+ advocates in the New York metropolitan region, Draizin has developed relationships with LGBTQ+ elected officials and changemakers on the local, state and federal level, including New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, New York State Assemblyperson Deborah Glick, United States Congressman Ritchie Torres, New York City Councilman Danny Dromm and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

His ability to catalyze progress and advance the needs of the underserved, landed him on the 2020 “Pride Power 100” list by the city and state of New York—a coveted list of New York’s most influential political figures, activists, advocates and elected officials.

Draizin’s philanthropic portfolio is diverse and varied, only superseded by his volunteerism. He is actively involved with the City University of New York (CUNY) LGBTQ Leadership program, of which he is a co-founder, and also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Congressional Award Foundation, the New Leaders Council, the Williams Institute, the Housing Rights Initiative and the American LGBTQ+ History and Cultural Museum Project in addition to the Board of the NYC Economic Corporation.

A person who embodies the expression “paying it forward,” Draizin’s main goal in life is to help build a foundation for progress, equality, equity and fairness, to continue into the future.

Draizin created, volunteers at and also teaches a financial empowerment and literacy program for students at CUNY, and is the Chair of the New York State Comptroller’s task force with 15 other business leaders, composed of educational and financial leaders who help improve financial education for New Yorkers from Buffalo to Montauk.

When asked what keeps him going, Mitchell says: “Equity and social justice—I work to advance equity through providing opportunities.

“What motivates me is for the youth to lead successful and meaningful lives,” says Draizin. As a member of the Advisory Board of the Mayor’s Fund for New York City, Draizin has supported the creation of a manual which is relevant and important to the success of young LGBTQ+ New Yorkers and their career paths. The manual is also important to the thousands of middle and small sized companies who want to recruit qualified employees, but in many cases are inhibited from reaching out to the LGBTQ+ community because of a lack of understanding or knowledge of how to engage and communicate with its members.

Draizin was particularly relevant throughout the 2020 Presidential election among the Democratic candidates for President of the United States, given his close ties with both Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg (who has since made history as the first gay man to hold a major role in a presidental administration’s
cabinet).

As a notable advisor to Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign on LGBTQ+ issues, as well as one of its financial backers, Draizin was a regular in political discussions and appeared in the The New York Times, among other national publications, for his involvement in the Democratic nomination process.  Draizin is also the co-founder of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee LGBT Council, which has broad reach in electing Democratic candidates to the House of Representatives across all 50 states.

“Out of the Council, grew the Congressional Equality PAC, and soon coming is the Congressional Equality Institute. All are designed to educate and encourage LGBTQ+ voters to register and educate the general population on all LGBTQ+ issues,” emphasizes Draizin.

Outside of the Beltway and New York City’s grid, Mitch Draizin is a Sag Harbor resident and one who has been tremendously active in local affairs. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Suffolk County Boy and Girl Scouts, where he helps with recruitment of the Board of Directors, helped secure funding from the private sector and the state of New York, as well as promoting the Congressional Award Foundation among their youth.

Draizin can often be seen alongside the East End’s political elite including Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, as well as with many of our most high profile and noteworthy neighbors.

“I am very interested, as are my peers, in affordable rental housing for Senior LGBT folks. For the last eight or nine years I have worked with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and David Kilmnick the CEO of the LGBT Network to identify a location, locate a developer partner and the financing to create an LGBT Senior Affordable Rental property in Bay Shore, composed of 80 living units and a common area,” says Draizin. “Through the collective work of so many advocates, financers and government leaders, we were able to get this done for Suffolk County and Long Island,” he adds. The affordable housing location will now be in Bay Shore.

He is also “very proud to be a supporter of the Heart Project of the Edie Windsor Health Center in Hampton Bays.” Draizin says he feels fortunate to have known Hamptons resident Edie Windsor and to work with her widow, Judith Kasen-Windsor to advance this project.

When he is not at his home in Sag Harbor, you can likely find him at the local gym, walking his dog and enjoying the iconic Hamptons scenery and—a sign of the times—can be found on Zoom, fundraising anywhere from Washington, D.C., New York City or Los Angeles. He also is excited to enjoy the new-and-improved Sag Harbor Cinema, a cultural center which will soon be a hub for entertainment, he says.

“Our house has a beautiful view of the Peconic Bay and the North Fork,” says Draizin.

“I enjoy walking the beach, the Morton Sanctuary, and taking photographs of interesting looking individuals, animals and houses. I love taking pictures of the quaint villages and the character that makes the East End what we have come to know and love.”

Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.

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