Ivan Leshinsky

Athlete, social entrepreneur, activist, traveler, father, husband, grandfather, and author


About Ivan Leshinsky

As a young boy, Ivan Leshinsky grew up in a middle-class traditional Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York, the son of first-generation American parents. Nothing exceptional here except that he was exposed to range of experiences at a young age which broadened his horizons and exposed him to opportunities he never even dreamed could come his way.

After graduating from Midwood High School in Brooklyn in 1963, he was awarded a full scholarship to play basketball at Long Island University. He was just sixteen years old when he enrolled, a year or two younger than his freshman teammates. He became an integral part of the Blackbirds’ 20 straight wins, #1 small college ranking, and run-up to the 1968 NIT, the first year the tournament was played in the new Madison Square Garden.

Upon graduating with a B.A. in Sociology-Anthropology, Ivan went on to play professionally for three years in Israel and one year in France. Basketball was a springboard to a lifetime of international travel and diverse work experiences leading to a long career as an executive with a cutting-edge nonprofit organization in Baltimore. He earned an M.A. in special education and became an activist for juvenile justice reform, alternative education programs and a leader among individuals and organizations striving to improve the city’s response to a range of socio-economic and neighborhood failings.

In retirement, he has parlayed his experience to cofound a new nonprofit organization with a mission to create pathways for disadvantaged children and youth through sports-based youth development to meaningful and productive adulthood. Ivan has also written and published his memoir, TEAMING UP, A Memoir About Sports, Work, Travel, Family and Neighbors.

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