Rochester’s Mayor Takes the Reins as League Board Chair

“Looking across the country and world, we’re seeing a decline in democracy, and it’s the local leaders who are making things happen. The League has an important role to play in convening people and sharing ideas and information to help maintain and improve our democracy.”
– National Civic League Board Chair, Mayor Malik Evans of Rochester, NY

Mayor Evans was elected as board chair in November, together with our new vice chair, Mayor GT Bynum of Tulsa, OK. Mayor Evans has served on the League’s board since November 2022 and as mayor of Rochester since January 2022. The League’s previous board chair, Des Moines School Board Chair Teree Caldwell-Johnson, will now serve the board in an ex-officio role.

Mayor Evans takes the helm at the League at a critical time, in conjunction with our work to support communities in maintaining and improving democracy and equitable engagement. Our organization added a Center for Democracy Innovation last spring, and, under the leadership of Matt Leighninger, has already done important work to advance ideas and connections to preserve our nation’s democracy.

The City of Rochester won the All-America City Award in 2020, following earlier wins in 1981 and 1998. Their recognition in 2020 highlighted work by the city to enhance equity, community policing and economic prosperity.

As the leader of Rochester’s executive branch, Mayor Evans is promoting positive, systemic and structural change by providing transparent and collaborative leadership, offering equitable access to essential municipal services, enabling productive intergovernmental, private, and non-profit partnerships, and promoting increased quality of life through investments that create vibrant neighborhoods and employment opportunities, making Rochester a hope-filled city with an exciting future.

Mayor Evans was born and raised in the city and graduated from Wilson Magnet High School before going on to earn his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and his Master’s degree from Nazareth University. The son of parents who were committed to civic activism, Mayor Evans’ dual callings in elected office and the banking industry share the complementary ambitions to help others and share prosperity.

Mayor Evans’ interest in public service can be traced back to his days as a high school student, when he launched a City-County Youth Council to help young people develop an interest in community advocacy. Mayor Evans’ career in elected office began at the age of 23, when he became the youngest person ever elected to the Rochester Board of Education. He served in that role until 2017, including as President of the Board from 2008 to 2013. It was at the School Board that he adopted a mantra that would guide all future decisions in elected office: “We can find solutions to our most pressing challenges by focusing on finding common ground.”

In 2017 he was elected to an at-large seat on the Rochester City Council and held the position through 2021, serving as chair of the Finance Committee.

Prior to becoming mayor, Mayor Evans worked as an officer in the banking industry for more than 20 years, holding various leadership positions at M&T Bank Corporation and ESL Federal Credit Union. He developed a focus to ensure the financial sector responded to the needs of all customers with equity and fairness by ensuring all individuals and businesses have access to the knowledge, tools and information that will help them build a stronger financial future.

His community involvement included various boards and commissions such as Rochester Area Community Foundation Board of Directors and a founding board member of the Commissary Downtown Kitchen Incubator for foodservice entrepreneurs in Upstate New York. Mayor Evans also served on the Board of Trustees at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Path Stone Enterprise Center, RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship Advisory, and the Wilmot Cancer Institute.

Mayor Evans and his wife Shawanda are the proud parents of two sons. Evans enjoys spending time with his family, attending concerts, and traveling to new places.

Visit our website to see a full list of our board of directors.

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