Ray Knights is the Chief Executive Director of Elmy’s Special Services, Inc. (ESS). ESS is a not-for-profit organization operating under the auspices of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Office for Children and Family Services, and the New York State Department of Health. ESS has successfully provided a variety of supports and services to numerous individuals with developmental disabilities in underserved minority communities within New York City.

Ray Knights began working in the field of social services over 25 years ago. He has served in many capacities, including Head Teacher, Apartment Coordinator, and Residential Supervisor. During this time, Ray observed that there was a gap in services in many minority communities, such as Bedford Stuyvesant. Residents were unable to obtain services for their loved ones because they did not have access to the information that would help them. As a result, Ray established Elmy’s Special Services, Inc. (ESS) in 2002.

As part of the organization's commitment to assist individuals residing in underserved communities, Ray and his leadership team worked tirelessly to identify areas in need throughout New York City. He has been an advocate for all individuals with special needs and their family members. His adage is “These individuals should be treated with the utmost care, dignity, and respect regardless of their economics and/or the community they live in.”

Ray Knights participates in a number of organizations within and outside the realm of the OPWDD service industry. Because he believes in giving back, he is an active member of the Bedford Stuyvesant community. He makes personal contributions to organizations there and works closely with leaders in the community.

Ray holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He completed an executive leadership and certificate program for Entrepreneurship at LaGuardia Community College. In 2006, he was appointed by former City Council Member Al Vann, to serve as a Member of the CB3 Brooklyn Neighborhood Advisory Board. He did this for four years. In 2009, Ray was appointed by former New York State Governor David Patterson, to the Commissioner’s Advisory board in Albany, New York, This committee put Mr. Knights at the forefront, enabling him to engage in issues and influence changes that had a tremendous effect on the developmentally disabled population.

Ray is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the Interagency Council; the Secretary and a founding Board member of the New York Association of Emerging & Multicultural Providers, Inc; and former Chair of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities Queens Multicultural Taskforce. From 2009- 2011 he was also the Legislative Chair and a member of the Executive Board of the Brooklyn MR/DD Council. In 2015 he graduated from the New York City’s Citizen’s Police Academy to learn how we can bridge the gap between police and the Bedford Stuyvesant community where he lives. He is currently the Public Relations Officer of Brooklyn’s 79th Precinct council, appointed by the Chairperson Dr. Kim Best. He is also a board member of Boys and Girls High School, appointed by Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

In his ongoing efforts to bring services to the underserved areas of New York City, Ray is committed to highlighting the importance of Public Policy and advocacy as it relates to these areas. He has dedicated his life to building a better future for individuals with special needs. “These individuals should be treated with the utmost care, dignity and respect regardless of their socio-economic status and/or community.”

“These individuals should be treated with the utmost care, dignity and respect regardless of their socio-economic status and/or community.”

– Ray Knights














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