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Donor Biography

Roger Juan Maldonado

Roger Maldonado, photo by Ari Mintz

Roger Juan Maldonado is a trustee emeritus of The Trust, partner at Smith Gambrell Russell LLP, and a past president of the New York City Bar Association. He established a fund in The Trust in 2007 and is a member of our Legacy Society.

“My father and grandfather were both Army veterans and my mother gave birth to me at a military base, so I was literally born into a world of public service.

While in law school, I worked one summer helping people in Vieques, Puerto Rico, who were trying to stop the U.S. Navy from using a portion of their island as a bombing range during military exercises. After that experience, I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’

When I moved to New York, I joined South Brooklyn Legal Services, which let me continue to serve those who needed help. I also have advocated for years on behalf of children with disabilities.

Joining The Trust’s board was a natural extension of my desire to serve people in need. For decades I have felt deeply tied to the communities of New York City that I have been involved with throughout my legal career. That work has helped me both understand what’s important in life and what is needed to give back.

When I created a fund in The Trust, I stipulated that staff could use it in whatever way they thought was best. It was easy to make that call because The Trust makes grants to wonderful organizations that are frequently trying something new to address what had been an intractable problem.

I learned from discussions with The Trust’s grantees about the devastating health and economic impact of the pandemic within so many communities of color. It was just so sobering to get a sense of how COVID was exacerbating what were already difficult conditions. It was a ‘wow’ moment that cemented my desire and commitment to continue to help.

Whether it is through work with my clients or through The Trust, I’ve been able to help make a difference and that’s important to me and incredibly fulfilling.”