Our People

Meet The Founder


Godni Amir founded A Free Bird in 2008 when he witnessed firsthand the potential in art to heal. His voice teacher, Gail, gave up teaching to become the primary caregiver for her husband when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Soon after, Gail received a cancer diagnosis herself. Gail’s husband tragically passed away. But Gail herself made a full recovery, spurred on by her passion for music and photography.

Since then, Godni has made it his goal to bring the therapeutic power of the arts to those who have the most to live for: children. His years of experience in theatre, dance and music help and empower children battling with cancer to use their choice of art as a tool to achieve their artistic dreams.

His work for A Free Bird has led him to establish partnerships with hospitals, various artistic networks, celebrities and corporations. He is the creative director and publisher for A Free Bird Magazine,, the director and host of “The Goods” talk show, and the event planner for A Free Bird’s Annual Gala, a few of the AFB’s leading initiatives. He is also working towards the launch of ‘I Am A Free Bird’ fragrance, the first ever cause driven dual-purpose perfume aimed to help children battling cancer.

Under his leadership, Godni has led a significant effort to cultivate AFB relations and partnerships with schools, universities, hospitals, art and culture institutions including Columbia University, Baruch College, NYU, CUNY, FIT, several New York public schools, the Guggenheim, Broadway, New York City Ballet, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Maimonides Medical Center, fashion week, bridal week, Madison Square Garden, Alvin Ailey, Metropolitan Oprah & Barclay Centre.

Always philanthropic by nature, Godni started giving back to his community as a child in Israel while volunteering for an autism house and local hospital ER. The amount of love witnessed during his early days of volunteering set a lifelong foundation.

Godni graduated from Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and has developed an extensive background in theatre, dance and music. He was cast in Across the Universe and American Idol. Godni has also worked alongside renowned producer and songwriter, Bob Esty, and in 2016 wrote, produced and composed “I Am A Free Bird,” an anthem for pediatric cancer.

In 2000, Godni began his career as a makeup artist, working with Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, among others. He also served as the Artistic Director of hair and makeup for Sarah Jassir Bridal, Marc Ecko’s Tikva Organization, and numerous events for Bobbi Brown and Chanel throughout New York City. During his work as a makeup artist at Bobbi Brown at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street in New York, he interacted with a number of celebrities on a daily basis. Among the people that Godni helped while working at Bobbi Brown was former Ms. World Aishwarya Rai and UN Head Commissioner and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson.

Godni’s work as a makeup artist has been prominently featured in print, on the runway, and at private events. His national print work is included on covers such as: Women’s Wear Daily, New York Times, Bride Magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine, Wedding Wire, The Knot, The Cut, Inside Wedding, Equally Wed, Style Me Pretty, Intelius, and Vogue Australia. Through his work with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, he amassed an enviable list of celebrity clients including Rihanna, Veanne Cox of One Life To Live, actress Brooklyn Sudano, and photographers Gail Hadani and John Healy. He has worked for the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights, Mary Robinson, Einstein Foundation, and numerous brands during New York Bridal Fashion Week, including Nico & Adrian.

Given the reach of his work at Bobbi Brown, Godni decided to use this network to help grow his knowledge of the nonprofit world. At one point, he made it a personal goal to obtain three business cards every day to help him, growing his network to understand this ins and outs of the nonprofit world and gain expertise.

One day while working at Bobbi Brown at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street, R&B star Rihanna came to the counter. Using his makeup expertise and charisma, Godni developed a relationship with Rihanna and her assistant, so that every time she came to Bloomingdale’s, Godni was the only artist she wanted to work with. Using his newly acquired business acumen, Godni immediately called Bobbi Brown’s PR department and said in exchange for Rihanna’s assistants’ contact details, he would like to host the first-ever A Free Bird event at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street. And that’s how the first (of many!) AFB event came to be!

Volunteer Appreciation


At A Free Bird, we are proud to be a 100% based volunteer organization. Our volunteers are the reason we can deliver amazing experiences to AFB children, and without them the great impact we cause on the lives of many would not be possible. That is why, it is pivotal for us to offer a fun, learning environment for our tutors, volunteers and interns.

We believe that beyond working together, every member of A Free Bird is part of a big family that keeps growing. We provide our volunteering body with constant encouragement and training. AFB members have the chance to participate in How to build your resume, graphic design writing, digital marketing and cyber security workshops.

We also celebrate volunteer appreciation week as a way to return to our volunteers a bit of all the work and talent they bring to our organization. As part of our norm, we support candidates until they successfully complete their commitment with us. And, once their time with us has come to an end, we’re happy to provide them with references and recommendation letters in order to help them succeed in their future endeavors.

It is always our hope that volunteers learn and improve their skills during their time at A Free Bird, and eventually contribute to society by using them to help others. We genuinely think that as a social enterprise, the success of our volunteers and interns is our own. Invest time on them, provide them skills.

Party

Mahalia Jackson

Happy Birthday to our amazing
head stylist Mahalia Jackson !

Stephanie Yasmin Banat

Awards

Rachel

Our very own PR Coordinator Rachel was honored by the city for her amazing work with A Free Bird!


Congratulations to our volunteers for being recognized by mayoral service recognition program!

Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC

So honored to be recognized by Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Service for the 4th time for our service towards helping children fight cancer through arts!

We are so thankful to all our wonderful volunteers who are always in the spirit of uplifting our mission to benefit children diagnosed with cancer through arts!

As part of our volunteer appreciation program, we partnered with Employee Awareness Association and Cetera Financial Group to provide a financial wellness workshop!


Volunteer of the Month

Ibrahima and Kadiatou

Ibrahima from PR, and
Kadiatou from fundraising

Nurshat, Peter and Kodou
Jannat and Sabrina
Smitha, Jennifer, Mohamed

Smitha from Programs,
Jennifer from HR
and Mohamed from Billing