Fulcrum Fellows: Cohort 1

Allison Allbee, ChangeLab Solutions (CA)
Ain Bailey, The San Francisco Foundation (CA)
Nora Bloch, Boston Community Capital (MA)
Damon Burns, The Finance Authority of New Orleans (LA)
Ja’Net DeFell, IFF (MI)
Rudy Espinoza, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (CA)
Adriane Harris, City of Nashville (TN)
William Lambe, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (GA)
Monica Mitchell, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (OH)
Ethan Nelson, City of Eugene (OR)
Stephanie Smith, City of Baltimore (MD)
Chris Story, City of Spartanburg (SC)

Allison Allbee
Senior Planner, ChangeLab Solutions
Oakland, CA

Allison Allbee is a Senior Planner at ChangeLab Solutions where she guides a team of public health analysts, planners, and lawyers focused on expanding access to safe, stable, affordable housing and healthy neighborhoods. She has expertise in community-based research and policy development with a focus on city planning and housing. Previously, she was a program director focusing on equitable educational assessment systems and worked in jails, schools, and youth development programs for nearly 15 years. Allison graduated from University of California-Santa Cruz with a degree in community studies and received concurrent master’s degrees in building science and city planning from University of California-Berkeley. When she isn’t working, she’s avoiding disasters and conjuring magic on the dance floor, in her art studio, and kitchen.

During Allison’s fellowship, she’ll be focused on leading a team to develop a series of projects that help local governments and institutions understand policies that expand access to safe, stable, affordable housing, specifically focused on supporting people and communities who historically and currently face housing discrimination or exclusion.


Ain Bailey
Associate Initiative Officer, The San Francisco Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Ain Bailey is the Associate Initiative Officer of the Great Communities Collaborative, an initiative of the San Francisco Foundation and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. She focuses on the nexus of affordable housing, transportation, and climate resilience through a community-driven development lens. Prior to joining the San Francisco Foundation, Ain worked in the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency where she managed the citywide infrastructure grant programs for small, local businesses and the development of real estate development projects. She also played an integral role in the establishment of citywide departmental racial equity teams, including the development and facilitation of racial equity training modules in partnership with the City Administrator’s office. Ain holds a Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College and a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College, where she matriculated as a member of the National Urban Fellows program. She has served as an Oakland Library Advisory Commissioner since 2013 in her beloved, adopted hometown of Oakland, CA.

During Ain’s fellowship, she’ll focus on advancing solutions to the nine-county Bay Area affordable housing crisis, specifically on centering and amplifying community-driven strategies for low-income and communities of color.


Nora Bloch
Senior Loan Officer, Boston Community Capital
Boston, MA

Nora is a Senior Loan Officer at Boston Community Capital. She develops and implements new loan products to meet evolving community needs, including acquisition, pre-development, construction and permanent loans for community facilities, commercial economic development projects, healthy food financing, and affordable housing. She and her partner generate, underwrite and structure new loans that meet the Boston Community Loan Fund (BCLF)’s social and financial underwriting criteria. Nora has also led BCLF’s efforts writing federal Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund Financial Assistance and Healthy Food Finance Initiative applications, and successfully received awards in four application rounds. Prior to joining the BCLF, Nora worked at Wainwright Bank on the community development lending team and more recently at Eastern Bank. A graduate of Grinnell College, she also holds a Master’s degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University, with a specialization in finance and nonprofit management. Nora lives with her husband and two sons in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. She is a member of Quality Education for Every Student (QUEST) and is the Treasurer of the Friends of the Escuela Rafael Hernández.

During Nora’s fellowship, she will focus on developing strategies to add a racial equity lens to the implementation of BCC’s five-year plan to double both the size of the Boston Community Loan Fund portfolio and its impact.


Damon Burns
Executive Director, The Finance Authority of New Orleans
New Orleans, LA

Damon Burns is a New Orleans native and public finance professional with more than 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship, investment banking, corporate banking, and economic development. He is currently the Executive Director of The Finance Authority of New Orleans, a housing and economic development finance agency that has financed more than $600 million of affordable housing and economic development projects in New Orleans. Prior to this position, he founded Munivestor, a financial data and technology company focused on the municipal bond industry using $200,000 in private investor capital. Munivestor was selected to participate in some of the nation’s premier startup programs including Techstars’ Risingstars Bootcamp, Morgan Stanley’s FinTech Investor Showcase. and PowerMoves NOLA. Damon is also an Investment Committee member of the New Orleans Startup Fund, which provides early stage capital to New Orleans based companies with high-growth potential. Damon earned a Marketing degree from Texas Southern University and an MBA with a finance concentration from the University of New Orleans. He also earned a professional certificate in Urban Redevelopment from the University of Pennsylvania.

During his fellowship, Damon will be focused on the development of a homebuilding program designed to produce affordable homes built with historic New Orleans architecture while also being energy efficient and environmentally resilient.


Ja’Net Defell
Lead Developer – Michigan, IFF
Detroit, MI

Ja’Net Defell is Lead Developer for IFF’s Michigan office, responsible for managing all major real estate development initiatives in the Michigan market, including the critical initiative to develop early care and education (ECE) centers in underserved areas of Detroit. Prior to her current role, Ja’Net launched IFF’s real estate services group in Michigan, managing a team of real estate professionals providing comprehensive real estate consulting and development services to nonprofits in the Detroit metro area and managed several foundation-funded initiatives related to quality ECE facilities and schools in Detroit. Before joining IFF, Ja’Net gained development and management experience at the Village of Oak Park in Illinois, Arthur Andersen, and Protiviti. She holds a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and LEED Green Associate.

During Ja’Net’s fellowship, she will continue and deepen IFF’s work to improve the ECE facilities landscape in Detroit, including developing shared priorities among ECE providers and stakeholders, and facilitating access to capital for and development of new ECE facilities.


Rudy Espinoza
Executive Director, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN)
Los Angeles, CA

Rudy Espinoza is the Executive Director of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN), a community development organization designing innovations to responsibly revitalize low-income, urban areas. At LURN, he leads advocacy efforts in support of the working poor and microfinance programs that support microentrepreneurs. Rudy specializes in designing economic development initiatives in low-income communities, researching the informal economy, building private/nonprofit partnerships, and training the working poor to participate in the socioeconomic revitalization of their neighborhoods. Rudy has worked at Emerging Markets Inc. and the AARP Foundation, where he designed and managed place-based initiatives with financial institutions, foundations, and regional non-profits. Most recently he worked at a CDFI in South Los Angeles providing microloans and business assistance to street vendors. He serves on Board of Transportation Commissioners for the City of Los Angeles, the Advisory Boards of the LA Development Fund, Investing in Place, and the LA Food Policy Council, and the Board of Directors for the LA Kitchen and Esperanza Community Housing Corporation. Rudy holds degrees in business administration and urban planning.

During his fellowship, Rudy will focus on developing a large-scale microfinance initiative that will support business owners at the “bottom of our economic pyramid,” like street vendors and home-based entrepreneurs.


Adriane Harris
Director, Mayor’s Office of Housing, City of Nashville
Nashville, TN

Adriane Bond Harris is the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing, which is focused on Nashville’s efforts to fund, build, and preserve affordable and workforce housing units. In this role, she has overseen the commitment of more than $50 million dollars to housing efforts for low to middle income residents and families, including implementation of the Barnes Housing Trust Fund, the voluntary Inclusionary Housing and the Housing Incentives Pilot Programs, and the use of Metro-owned property for housing development, which have helped preserve more than 1,900 affordable or workforce housing units over the past two years. Adriane began her career as a land use planner 15 years ago at the Metro Nashville-Davidson County Planning Department and later joined the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency to manage over $30 million in grants as the Neighborhood Stabilization program manager. Continuing this stabilization work, she consulted with nonprofit housing developers as the owner and principal of Impetus Strategies. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Adriane worked with The Housing Fund, a local community development financial institution, focused on creative financing and funding for affordable housing development. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middle Tennessee State University and a Master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

During Adriane’s fellowship, she will focus on creating an action plan for mixed-income housing and an economic opportunity plan for existing residents aimed at preventing displacement in an area of Nashville that is experiencing tremendous growth and redevelopment.


William Lambe
Senior Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Atlanta, GA

Will Lambe is a senior community and economic development advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He specializes in development finance and has written and spoken on topics ranging from rural development, public-private partnerships, tax credit programs, philanthropy, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, Will was director of community and economic development programming at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government, where he carried out research and advised local governments on partnerships for attracting private investment into distressed areas. He has published numerous articles and a book on community economic development strategies for smaller towns and cities. In 2015, Will was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship to travel and study public-private finance in China. He serves on the board of directors for the Grove Park Foundation in Atlanta (a Purpose Built Community), and the advisory boards for Enterprise Community Partners and Neighborhood Lending Partners. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Public Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

During Will’s fellowship, he will focus on developing a framework and narrative around community investment that aligns with the Southeast’s political culture, test it with new audiences, and attract new champions to ultimately unlock more resources for community investment in the region.


Monica Mitchell
Senior Director, Community Relations, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Monica Mitchell is the Senior Director of Community Relations and a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Behavioral Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In her roles, Monica leads efforts to advance community engagement, community outreach, community giving and employee volunteerism. She also consults and collaborates with numerous non-profit organizations to advance evidence-based practices, translational research, training, and leadership development in the community. She is nationally known for her research in sickle cell disease and for the program evaluation efforts that she leads through Innovations in Community Research. Monica also serves as the Co-Director of the Community Engagement Core for the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training and has a joint appointment at the University of Cincinnati, where she mentors graduate and undergraduate students, particularly underrepresented minority students. Dr. Mitchell serves on local advisory committees and boards, including the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Gabriel’s Place, ACDC, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, and the Youth Commission of Cincinnati (YCC). Dr. Mitchell has received several awards and honors, including Society for Pediatric Psychology (SPP) – Diversity Award (2016); Links Health and Human Service Award (2014); Cincinnati Children’s (2009); 40 Under 40 by the Business Courier (2008), Career Year Award, Herbert Nickens Fellowship Award, American Academy of Medical Colleges (AAMC; 2003); YWCA Rising Star (2003).

During Dr. Mitchell’s fellowship, she will focus on advancing community investment efforts and outcomes, particularly in ways that increase leverage and collaborative funding for Cincinnati Children’s $11.5 million Community Partnership and Investment Initiative.


Ethan Nelson
Intergovernmental Relations and Sustainability Manager, City of Eugene
Eugene, OR

Ethan Nelson is the Intergovernmental Relations Manager for the City of Eugene, OR, managing local, state, and federal relationships with governmental and non-governmental entities. He also works on policy development, lobbying, and implementation for the city’s priorities. Prior to his current role, he spent seven years as the city’s Waste Prevention and Green Building Manager, where he led the development and implementation of a variety of community sustainability programs including: commercial composting, green building incentives, business conservation assistance, and a plastic bag ban. Ethan has served on many regional work groups, including as the Sustainability Chair for the 2012 and 2016 US Olympic Trials Track and Field and the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships. Ethan served on the Oregon Global Warming Commission’s Subcommittee on Materials Management, instructed at the University of Oregon on land development, and is the past Chairman of the Board for the Council for Responsible Sport—an international sport event certification non-profit. Before joining the City of Eugene, Ethan worked as Planning Manager for a regional assisted living developer and spent eight years as the Director for the largest private youth conservation corps in the west. Ethan received two degrees from the University of Oregon—a BA in Political Science with honors in 1994 and a Master of Regional Planning in 2006, completing his research in community bio-energy systems at the University of Oslo, Norway.

During his fellowship, Ethan will focus on developing strategies to increase the effectiveness and social equity impacts of Eugene’s Community Climate and Energy Action Plan update, the main vehicle for implementing their Climate Recovery Ordinance, one of the most aggressive community based greenhouse gas reduction ordinances in the U.S., which has been slow to implement since its approval in 2014.


Stephanie Smith
Assistant Director for Equity, Engagement, and Communications, Baltimore Department of Planning
Baltimore, MD

Stephanie Smith is an Assistant Director for Equity, Engagement and Communications in the City of Baltimore’s Department of Planning. In this role, Stephanie leads the implementation of the agency’s Equity in Planning Action Plan and its overall communications program. Prior to joining municipal government leadership, Stephanie worked in the federal policy arena advancing public health, voting rights, affordable housing, and environmental justice for the most vulnerable communities. A former Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow, Stephanie is passionate about including the views and voices of underrepresented populations in policymaking because she knows that “if you aren’t at the table, then you’re on the menu!” Active in her local Baltimore community, Stephanie has served on a host of nonprofit boards and currently serves as a Commissioner on the Baltimore Community Relations Commission (CRC), which combats unlawful discrimination in employment, public accommodation, housing, education, and health and welfare services. Stephanie is a proud graduate of Hampton University (BA), the University of Delaware (MA), and the Howard University School of Law (JD). A member of the Maryland Bar Association, Stephanie and lives in East Baltimore with her husband and toddler son.

During Stephanie’s fellowship, she will focus on her new position’s charge to operationalize the Equity Action Plan and enlist the support of other Baltimore agency leadership to establish an action-oriented, interagency work group on equity.


Chris Story
Assistant City Manager, City of Spartanburg
Spartanburg, SC

Chris Story has served as Assistant City Manager for Spartanburg, SC, since 2009. In his role, he provides leadership to the city’s efforts in economic development, planning, development services, budget, finance, human resources, technology, and strategic communications. In addition, he serves on the core team supporting Spartanburg’s Way to Wellville health investment initiative and as a leader in the design and development of a proposed unique outcomes-financed continuum of early childhood services. Chris began professional public service in 1995 with an effort to raise funds to enhance the new public library in Downtown Spartanburg. Shortly thereafter, he served as the first Executive Director of a city-initiated community visioning and strategic planning process. From there, he joined the management of Spartanburg County serving as Assistant County Manager for nine years. Chris’s spouse, Jessalyn Wynn Story, is the Director of the Center of Community-Based Learning at Wofford College, which is also Chris’ alma mater. They have two children, a son Wynn who is an almost nine-year-old goalkeeping Padawan, and Suzanna, a four-and-a-half-year-old sunshiny artist.

During Chris’ fellowship, he will focus on implementation of Hello Family, Spartanburg’s new continuum of support model that aims to improve outcomes for young children and their families by providing services to all children born in the City of Spartanburg, from prenatal care through age five. Success will require several autonomous public entities, each with their own concerns and priorities, to make unprecedented cooperative commitments, and Chris will use his fellowship to work on this challenge.

Transforming investment in communities

CCI is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment, and The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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