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Making Lives Better Today





The mission of The Lois E. Rochford Foundation is to improve the quality of life for youth and their families, beginning with Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood.

Vision and Purpose

To provide services and resources that will empower youth and their families to thrive economically, educationally and emotionally.

Mission Statement

Making Lives Better Today!


The Lois E. Rochford Foundation Scholarship Fund 

The LER Scholarship is presented annually to a student who is enrolled in an Associate's degree, Bachelor’s degree, or Vocational Program at an accredited higher education institution.


Rev. Dr. Cheryl Anthony

As an artisan and visionary, Rev. Dr. Anthony is the Founder, CEO and Pastor of the renowned and awarded JUDAH International Christian Center, Inc. (JUDAH), in Brooklyn, New York.  A thirty-five year veteran committed to community and human development, Dr. Anthony and JUDAH have been nationally recognized by former President Bill Clinton, as well as, President George W. Bush as a progressive and cutting-edge leader and outstanding organization in the faith based community, addressing wholistic faith-based development and empowerment. Dr. Anthony is the leader of Women of Faith Advocating Change which addresses the major health issues affecting women and girls: breast and cervical health, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and mental health and illness. Dr. Anthony served on Mayor Bill de Blasio's Clergy Advisory Council of New York City and has advised current New York City Mayor Eric Adams. She serves as Director of Governmental Affairs for Dunamis Covenant Connection, a national network of churches. 

Dr. Cinnamon Green

Dr. Cinnamon Green is an educator in the Merrick United Free School District in Merrick, Long Island and has worked in public schools for over 16 years. She began her teaching career in New York City's Department of Education as a special education teacher working in inclusive settings and self-contained classrooms.  In addition, she has served as an Adjunct Professor for The College of New Rochelle in the School of Education where she has taught courses in Elementary and Special Education. Ms. Green earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education at St. Thomas Aquinas College. She went on to receive her Masters Degree in Elementary Education at Sacred Heart University, and an advanced degree in Educational Leadership and Technology at Adelphi University. Dr.  Green received her Doctoral Degree in Literacy from St. John’s University in Spring 2016.

Dr. Hakim Lucas

Dr. Hakim Lucas is an education executive par excellence. He currently serves as the President of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Lucas has previously served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bethune Cookman College, a historically black college in Dayton Beach, FL. He also served as Director of Development at State University of New York at Old Westbury and the Dean of Institutional Advancement and Development at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Lucas earned his Bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College. He went on to receive a Master’s degree in education from Tufts University and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Lucas earned his doctoral degree in education from Fordham University.

Shellie McDowell

Shellie McDowell is the President and Chief Designer of Shellie McDowell Hats. After working for years in the Social Security Administration office, Ms. McDowell sought out a new career in the fashion industry. She accidentally enrolled in the wrong course at the Fashion Institute of Technology and ended up developing a passion for millinery design. Her countless hat creations have adorned the heads of a myriad of church first ladies, preachers and well known Gospel artists such as Shirley Cesar and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey. In 2002, Mrs. McDowell appeared on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Style edition and was declared the top designer of Ladies’ church hats. 

Archbishop Robert J. Rochford Sr.

Archbishop Robert J. Rochford Sr. is the Senior Pastor and Founder of New Life Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, where he has served for  45 years. He also is the Founder and Chief Prelate of Dunamis Covenant Connection, an organization through which he provides Apostolic oversight to pastors and churches. As a visionary, pastor, preacher, musician and author, Bishop Rochford has dedicated more than half of his life to serving God and the church. His experience as a husband and father coupled with his passion for ministering to families was the source of inspiration for his first book Bone of My Bone, Flesh of My Flesh, a relationship manual emphasizing the importance of marriage.

Pastor Robert J. Rochford II

Pastor Robert J. Rochford II is the Executive Associate Pastor and Chief Financial Officer of New Life Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. Driven by a passion for economics, politics and community development, Robert has used his influence to launch several initiatives to impact East Brooklyn communities including personal finance workshops and an employment program for both juvenile offenders and drug rehabilitation participants. Robert earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from State University of New York at Old Westbury. He most recently earned a Master of Business Administration at Virginia Union University.

Lois E. Rochford Biography


Lois Elaine Rochford was the Senior Executive Pastor & First Lady of New Life Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Born Lois Elaine Banks on February 6, 1955 to Floyd J. Banks Jr. and Geneva Melruth Banks, Lois was a Brooklyn girl through and through, raised in the Brownsville neighborhood and educated through the New York City public school system. Lois attended and graduated from Midwood High School and went on to further her education at Baruch and York Colleges. 


A multi-talented woman, Lois traveled extensively blessing thousands with her practical and often humorous preaching style. Her aim was to empower people to live balanced and productive lives. Lois often taught women the importance of balancing the demands of home and work, with home being the first priority. Her book, entitled A Do Right Woman, underscored her commitment to well-rounded womanhood, and has been used a resource for teaching on the Proverbs 31 woman, a biblical heroine.

In addition to her ministry assignments, Pastor Lois was an accomplished business executive. As the Founder and President of Your Sunday Best Every Day, Inc., she assisted women in maximizing their God-given potential to express a fusion of faith and fashion—inner beauty with outer manifestation. She completed coursework at New York’s renowned Fashion Institute of Technology in image consulting, and was also certified by the Association of Image Consultants International. She frequently hosted workshops, seminars and private consultations. Lois was highly touted for her brilliant fashion sense, which was a blend of timeless elegance with sophisticated modern edge. 


A dedicated wife, Lois happily served in ministry alongside her husband, Bishop Robert Joel Rochford Sr. for over 34 years. From their union came her most prized gifts -- her two children, Melaine Robyn and Robert Joel II whom she absolutely adored.


On Saturday, October 18, 2014 Lois E. Rochford passed away after a long battle with sarcoidosis,  a respiratory illness. Nearly 5,000 people attended the memorial services to pay tribute to her life. Through the foundation named in her honor, she leaves a legacy of Love, Excellence and Responsible servanthood for all to model.

About LER
Board of Directors
LER Scholarship

Every year we award a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving  student who resides in New York to help them further their education. In 2023, in addition to our main scholarship, we also awarded two $250 Amazon book scholarships to exemplary students.

Our 2024 LER Scholarship Award application is now open!

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