Born in Brooklyn, New York – and raised by her grandfather, the late Bishop John B. Elliott, a celebrated pastor who dedicated his life to religious and nonprofit community service – Sarah Blas was so inspired by her beloved patriarch all her life that she automatically gravitated toward her own calling of helping and advocating for people who are disenfranchised. Since 2021, Ms. Blas has been the principal consultant of Community Impact Strategies, a professional development company she founded in New York City, and, since 2019, has been the executive director of health, equity, diversity, and inclusion for Staten Island Women Who March. Previous invaluable roles that have informed and led to her current positions have been as the lead consultant at MindOpen Learning Strategies, the equity and community impact lead at the Staten Island Partnership of Community Wellness, and the service coordinator with Dove’s Community Outreach.
Ms. Blas holds relevant certifications in results-based facilitation from The Campaign School at Yale University and as a chaplain. As the principal consultant at Community Impact Strategies, she emphasizes that her firm does far more than provide professional development services to nonprofit organizations—it brings attention to individuals who have been marginalized and excluded from participating in decision-making arenas. To this end, her responsibilities include helping groups formally transition to 501(c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit status as well as providing guidance on critical functions such as branding, mass communications efforts, fundraising, setting up infrastructure-inclusive human resources teams, executive coaching, and more. Within the next few years, Ms. Blas ambitiously aims to triple her client base to expand the reach of her company’s tools and services for nonprofits internationally. She also is passionate about creating a platform for community members to have a voice in guiding nonprofit strategies.
Lauded often for her accomplishments in recent years and her ability to inspire others, Ms. Blas has been honored with the Black Excellence in Public Health Award from the Office of The District Attorney Richmond County, the Staten Island Women of Achievement Award, the Heartwarming Award for Community Service from the Harriet Tubman Purple Hats Society, the Mayoral Award for Nonprofit Work from New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and a succession of proclamations and citations for her leadership and community services from New York State, the governor’s office, the state legislature , Richmond County, and the city council. Among these achievements, Ms. Blas has been praised for her outstanding community organization and justice efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Believing her success is the result of her upbringing and directly engaging with community members who work toward its betterment, Ms. Blas says the tireless efforts and dedication of others motivate her to keep pushing forward, even during the most challenging times. She perseveres, in part, by staying plugged in as an active member of an array of civic, community action, charitable, religious, and Democratic political service organizations. Deeply family oriented, Ms. Blas is the daughter of Belva Elliott, granddaughter of the Rev. Susie Elliott, and proud mother of six children: Kristy, a Long Island University Post National Presidential Scholar, Nehemiah, Daniel, Logan, and twins Mayah and Elizabeth.