opening keynote

from neighborhood to national change

paul weech
president & ceo + neighborworks america

Paul Weech is the new President and CEO for Neighborworks America.  Weech brings to the position more than 25 years of leadership experience in housing, community development, and financial services.

Weech comes to NeighborWorks America from the Housing Partnership Network, a business alliance of the nation’s top performing nonprofit development organizations.  As the Housing Partnership Network’s executive vice president for policy and external affairs, Weech was responsible for policy development and advocacy leadership for the organization, including producing its policy treatise, “Toward a Housing Policy Reform Agenda.”  In the two years before joining the organization full time, he provided policy leadership for both the Housing Partnership Network and the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future.

Weech has served as chief of staff at the United States Small Business Administration, staff director for the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development for the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and senior analyst for Housing and Credit for the U.S. Senate Committee on Budget.  He also worked in various mission-related roles in the National Community Lending Center and the office of corporate strategy at Fannie Mae.

Whether in the public or private sector, Weech has made service to others the cornerstone of his career.  “I believe that by working together we have the opportunity to lift people up, to increase their opportunities and outcomes and help them to provide a better life for their children,” says Weech.  “I have been blessed to have a career where I wake up every day with meaning in my life.”

Weech serves on the boards of several organizations, including the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the National Housing Conference, the Bollinger Foundation, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, and the Ford School of Public Policy's Alumni Board. He received a Master of Public Policy degree from the Ford School for Public Policy Studies at the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Duke University.

kevin jordan
senior vice president for national programs + lisc

Kevin Jordan is LISC’s Senior Vice President for National Programs and directs their Family Income and Wealth Building work. In his role he helps LISC implement their comprehensive community redevelopment strategy called Building Sustainable Communities.

He also assists LISC local offices in developing and implementing programs that support income and asset building for low-to-moderate income families, including leading their Financial Opportunity Center integrated service delivery initiative, which was recently recognized with the national Social Innovation Fund Award.

Prior to LISC, Kevin served at the Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation for over 10 years, where he ended his tenure as the Director for the Working Families Department. Kevin has his B.A, from Le Moyne College, and a MA in Community Planning from the University of Maryland at College Park.

digital divide in place

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jordana barton
senior advisor + federal reserve bank of dallas

Jordana Barton is Senior Advisor in Community Development for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio Branch. She supports the Federal Reserve System’s economic growth objectives by promoting community and economic development and fair and impartial access to credit in low- and moderate-income communities. Her focus areas include: Community Reinvestment Act (CRA); community development finance; financial education/capability; affordable housing; workforce development; healthy communities; and small business development. Jordana is lead author of the recently released report, “Las Colonias in the 21st Century: Progress Along the Texas-Mexico Border” (2015). She holds an MPA from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

maria vasquez
director of strategic partners + act

Maria Vasquez is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Advancement of Underserved Learners division at ACT working with existing and new partnerships fulfilling ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success. Maria brings over 20 years of education and technology experience to ACT.

Maria’s previous positions include classroom teacher, Federal Program Director, Educational Consultant in Curriculum and Design for Region XIII Educational Service Center, Educational Consultant for Math and Science Initiatives for Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL). International manager for Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), National Director for Strategic Initiatives for Promethean, National Director for Strategic Initiatives Carnegie Learning, National Manager for Strategic Initiatives and Business Development for Apple Computer.

Maria is the 2008 recipient of The National Achiever Award given by the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE). Maria currently, serves on The University of Texas at Austin Advisory Board for the College of Education, and as an Advisory Board member for ITEN Organization of American States (OAS) Maria is a graduate from The University of Texas.

vibrant communities

starting in the classroom

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bill crim
president & ceo + united way of salt lake

Bill Crim is the Senior Vice President of Collective Impact and Public Policy for United Way of Salt Lake. He has worked for over 23 years on issues related to economic opportunity, health care, education and poverty – first as a research fellow for the Coalition on Human Needs in Washington, D.C. and then as a researcher, policy analyst, community organizer, lobbyist, and executive director for Utah Issues.

Bill has been with United Way of Salt Lake since 2004 and currently leads United Way of Salt Lake’s community transformation initiatives – developing and supporting collective impact cradle-to-career collaborations in six communities along with statewide public policy advocacy efforts. In 2013, Bill helped facilitate the first “pay for success” transaction for early childhood education, helping make high-quality preschool available to 600 additional low-income children in several communities in Utah.

martha rodriguez
program manager + bachman lake together

Martha Rodriguez is currently the Program Manager of Bachman Lake Together and the Bachman Lake Together Family Center, an initiative powered by the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative. Previously, she was the Community Engagement Manager at The Concilio, a Dallas nonprofit dedicated to helping families overcome obstacles that interfere with their education and health. Martha is a Leadership ISD alumni where she was empowered with the skills necessary to support educational excellence and equity for students in Dallas. She attended the University of Texas at Arlington where she obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Finance Concentration and previously worked in the private sector as a Corporate Credit Analyst. Martha left the corporate sector to pursue her passion of working with the community. She was born in Laredo, Texas and raised in Dallas.

jonathan feinstein
director of community engagement + commit! partnership

A former classroom teacher in his home state of North Carolina, Jonathan has taught in both traditional and charter school settings through Teach For America and KIPP. After leaving the classroom in 2007, he was hired by a Dallas marketing agency where he led strategic initiatives to improve the agency’s social impact, including a pro bono program that delivered more than $2 million in marketing services to selected education-focused organizations. As the Director of Community Engagement since the Commit! Partnership’s earliest days, Jonathan has helped it become the largest of StriveTogether’s national network of 60+ backbone organizations working to improve educational outcomes for students across the country. He is currently focused on supporting other local place-based partnerships develop the capacity they need to accelerate change within their neighborhoods.

dealing with neighborhood change

preserving our future

celia smoot
director of housing + lisc

Celia D. Smoot is currently the Director of LISC's LISC Housing Group. As Director she oversees the technical assistance delivery and analysis of the financial viability and capacity of nonprofit entities in their management and operation of subsidized affordable multifamily housing. In addition, she oversees all Housing lending that ranges from underwriting lines of credit, predevelopment and acquisition loans dealing with preservation, recapitalization of housing authority assets and low income housing tax credit projects, as well as, the regulatory reviews of HUD assisted financing, rent subsidies and low income. Celia has extensive real estate finance background, specifically in the areas of affordable housing and community development. Prior to joining LISC, she was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and later in private practice with Hessel, Aluise and Neun, P.C, a national law firm with a focus on affordable housing, and Kutak Rock, LLP in their tax credit practice. Celia received her Bachelor's in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University.

shannon nazworth
executive director + ability housing of northeast florida

Shannon directs the operations of the agency. She chairs the State’s Council on Homelessness, is board president of the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition, board secretary for the Florida Community Loan Fund, a former gubernatorial appointee to the Florida Affordable Housing Study Commission and a former board member of the Coalition of Affordable Housing Providers.

She serves on the National Low Income Housing Coalition advisory committee; and was recently awarded “Advocate of the Year” by the Southeast Institute of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

tom davis
director + u.s. department of housing and urban development

Tom Davis is the Director of the Office of Recapitalization, within HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs.  Tom joined HUD in June, 2015. Mr. Davis will oversee the Office’s efforts to further financial stability and viability for the preservation and recapitalization of affordable housing. The Office’s key programs include Mark-to-Market (M2M), Section 236 Preservation, Senior Preservation Rental Assistance Contracts (SPRAC), and the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).

Immediately prior to joining HUD, Tom was Senior Vice President of Recap Real Estate Advisors, a Boston-based affordable housing consulting firm, where he led the firm’s affordable housing consulting practice, focused on the recapitalization and preservation of existing affordable housing through transactional, strategy and policy engagements.  At Recap, Tom’s work on behalf of public, private and non-profit clients included structuring and project managing recapitalization transactions and strategic business planning.  Tom focused heavily on public housing recapitalization transactions, particularly under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.  Tom served as a consultant to Enterprise/HUD on RAD and worked with housing authority clients to develop repositioning and recapitalization strategies for their portfolios, in each case structuring and financing the transactions with care to preserve affordability and maximize opportunities for residents.

Tom also developed recapitalization strategies for state-financed public housing, including a major capital planning initiative for the Connecticut Housing Finance Agency.  Examples of his business strategy engagements include the development of a model to use “social impact bonds” to finance service enriched housing for elders, design of a credit enhancement product to benefit public housing authorities seeking to participate in the low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) market and development of a pilot program to reduce LIHTC transaction costs for small properties.

david price
executive director
nuestra comunidad

David Price is the Executive Director of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation, a community development corporation serving Boston’s Roxbury community since 1981 with a legacy of excellence and innovation in affordable housing, economic development, community action and leadership development.  Nuestra Comunidad educates first-time homebuyers, counsels homeowners facing foreclosure, strengthens the financial capability of low- and moderate-income residents and advocates for systems and policy change to improve community wealth and health.  Nuestra’s innovative asset management business extends beyond its portfolio, providing services to other affordable housing owners.

David has been a leader in Boston’s community development field since 1995.  He has extensive experience in community organizing, beginning as a volunteer for Mel King’s campaigns for Mayor of Boston in 1979 and 1983.  David was a real estate attorney at Goulston & Storrs in Boston prior to joining the CDC field. He is a graduate of Harvard College ’77 and Boston College Law School ’91. You can follow David and Nuestra’s work on Twitter @nuestradavid.

luncheon panel

significance of place investments

mark linton
president + linton strategies

Mark Linton is the President of Linton Strategies, LLC, a strategy and policy consulting practice based in Washington, DC.
Before founding Linton Strategies, LLC, Mark served President Barack Obama in a variety of capacities for over nine years, beginning in then-Senator Obama’s Washington office.

Most recently, Mark was appointed by the president as the first Executive Director of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities, a multi-sector, inter-agency initiative seeking to spark economic turnarounds and build capacity in some of America’s most iconic cities. Under Mark’s leadership, the initiative helped communities more effectively leverage private-public partnerships and invest over $360 million in existing federal resources, leading to dramatic improvements in transit, downtown redevelopment, business development, public safety and a range of related issues. Mark helped to scale this model of integrated technical assistance to dozens of additional cities by partnering with a private-sector consortium, which launched the National Resource Network and the Nation’s first “311 for Cities.”

In addition to directing the Strong Cities Initiative, Mark served in a variety of leadership capacities at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including as Acting Chief of Staff and General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional & Intergovernmental Relations. Prior to public service, Mark worked and consulted for a global humanitarian relief and development organization, Catholic Relief Services.

Mark earned his Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages and International Economics from the University of Kentucky. Mark lives with his wife and two children in Washington, DC.

mary lawler
executive director + avenue cdc

Mary Lawler served as Executive Director of Avenue CDC since 1996. She has a Master’s from Harvard University’s Kennedy School and a B.A. from Duke University. She currently serves on the Executive Advisory Board for Bauer College of Business Graduate Real Estate Program at University of Houston, the Advisory Council for Nonprofit Management Program at University of Houston Downtown, the Board of the Greater Northside Management District and is a delegate to SuperNeighborhood Council 15.

evan smith
senior community development advisor + purpose built communities

Evan Smith is a Senior Community Development Advisor at Purpose Built Communities, a non-profit, pro bono consulting firm that believes everyone deserves the opportunity to live and raise their children in communities where they can achieve their full potential. Evan provides consulting and technical assistance to local leaders implementing a proven neighborhood revitalization strategy designed to create a healthy, mixed-income neighborhood with pathways to prosperity for the lowest-income families.
Prior to joining Purpose Built Communities, Evan held several roles in the field of education. As a manager at Teach For America he coached first and second year teachers, created professional development exemplars for a national audience, and championed an alternative goal-setting methodology adopted by multiple regions. He taught at a public charter school in Atlanta and began his career as a middle school math teacher at a traditional public school in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.
Evan currently serves on the Board of Directors at Castlemont Community Transformation Schools, a charter management organization in Oakland, CA, and the Enrollment and Admissions Committee at Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta, GA. He is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. A Florida native, Evan graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in both Economics and Political Science.

why policy is important

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sarita turner
associate director + policy link

Sarita Turner, Associate Director, has over 20 years of experience working in the non-profit sector raising awareness around, and supporting strategies to address institutionalized racism and the disinvestment of people and communities. Sarita has worked in various positions including: direct services, policy advocacy, community organizing, government, community development, and philanthropy.

Under Sarita’s leadership, infrastructure investments, business improvement district pilots, community development, and crime and safety initiatives have been successfully implemented. Currently, Sarita serves as an associate director for PolicyLink where she works to further equity-focused federal, state, and local policies and place-based strategies. Sarita’a personality type is that of a spirited explorer. She loves the outdoors and since relocating to California has added hiking, golf, and white-water rafting to the list of things she loves doing.

economic opportunity

significance of place investments

connie evans
president & CEO + aeo works

Connie Evans is the President and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) with a strong track record of innovative leadership and a background as a social entrepreneur.

Prior to AEO, Connie was the founding president of the Women’s Self-Employment Project in Chicago, the first and largest urban microenterprise development organization in the U. S. and the first adaptation of the Grameen Bank model to a U. S. urban setting.

She founded WSEP Ventures, a social enterprise nonprofit that catalyzed new ventures by nonprofit community-based leaders serving disenfranchised communities; and she founded CSolutions, a consulting boutique focused on solutions for social change in the U.S and internationally.

She has served on numerous and diverse boards including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Social Venture Network, Ms. Foundation for Women, Global Fund for Women and the CDFI Advisory Board at the U.S. Treasury Department.

measuring impact

driving results in the data

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jessica mulcahy
senior manager + neighborworks america

Jessica Mulcahy has been part of the Success Measures team from its earliest development stages at the McAuley Institute, where she served as the first technical manager of the evolving Success Measures Data System. As a cultural anthropologist with significant experience in mixed-method evaluation, she now directs the development of Success Measures’ shared indicator projects and leads the enterprise’s evaluation research efforts. Jessica also manages custom consulting evaluation projects for national and regional funders, intermediaries, and funding collaboratives. Prior to joining NeighborWorks America with the Success Measures team in 2004, Jessica was a research associate at McAuley. She previously served as program coordinator at the Community Partnership Center at University of Tennessee directing the Participatory Research and Planning Program, and as director of the Community Outreach Partnership Center at University of Florida. Jessica holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College and an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of Florida.

peggy hutchinson
ceo + the primavera foundation

Peggy Hutchison serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Primavera Foundation, a chartered NeighborWorks® America community development organization whose mission is to provide pathways out of poverty through safe, affordable housing, workforce development, and neighborhood revitalization. Primavera serves about 7,500 people annually in Tucson and Pima County, Arizona through a variety of programs including: emergency shelters, homeless intervention and prevention services, affordable rental housing, job training and placement, homeownership services, neighborhood revitalization, and community engagement and advocacy.

mark dahlquist
executive director + neighborworks pocatello

Mark Dahlquist has been the Executive Director for NeighborWorks® Pocatello since 2007. Prior to this, he worked in various capacities at Farmers Insurance for 17 years, including underwriting, marketing and management. He also has experience as a consultant/trainer at the Idaho Small Business Development Center where he assisted entrepreneurs with business planning who were interested in starting up or expanding their small businesses. He holds a BBA from Idaho State University with a degree in Management and Organization.


building to scale

larry james
city square

Larry James has provided executive leadership since joining CitySquare in 1994. Known in the Dallas faith, business and media communities as a social entrepreneur and committed servant to the people of East and South Dallas, Larry came to CitySquare after serving 14 years as senior minister with the Richardson East Church of Christ in Richardson, Texas.He is a graduate of Harding University (BA 1972), Harding University Graduate School of Religion (MA 1973), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv 1977) and Tulane University (MA—American History 1986). His first full-length book, The Wealth of the Poor, was published by Leafwood Publishers in 2013.  Larry spent eight months in 1998 as executive director for the Greater Dallas Community of Churches but returned to CitySquare with a renewed clarity that his place was with the people of Dallas’ inner-city community. Since 1999, Larry and wife, Brenda, have made their home in the inner city and have been active members of First United Methodist Church-Dallas. He currently serves the church in a dual appointment to CitySquare and Highland Park United Methodist Church.