Home » Press Releases » Center for Community Progress Welcomes Akilah Watkins-Butler as New President and CEO (Press Release)

Center for Community Progress Welcomes Akilah Watkins-Butler as New President and CEO (Press Release)

June 19, 2017


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News Release (PDF)
Dr. Watkins-Butler’s Bio
About Center for Community Progress


FLINT, MICH. – The Center for Community Progress today announced that Akilah Watkins-Butler, Ph.D., will be taking the helm as the national nonprofit’s new president and CEO. Dr. Watkins-Butler steps into the role in early July 2017 and will be based in the organization’s Washington, D.C., office.

“Dr. Watkins-Butler brings a rich background of working at the intersections of research, practice, and policy to the work of Community Progress,” said Erika Poethig, chair of the Board of Directors. “She has an expansive vision about how to better integrate people and place-based strategies to improve community wellbeing and achieve better outcomes for residents. We are excited for this next chapter in Community Progress’ growth and impact.”

Dr. Watkins-Butler’s career spans two decades of experience working to strengthen families and communities. Most recently, she headed up the Opportunity Institute, a consulting firm dedicated to creating opportunities for vulnerable communities, and served as associate director at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. She has also served as director of National Partnerships at NeighborWorks America. Dr. Watkins-Butler earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Illinois.

“Building resilient communities requires vigilant awareness, partnership, and resources all focused on removing systemic and economic barriers that undermine opportunity,” said Dr. Watkins-Butler. “For that reason, I’m excited to join the team at Center for Community Progress—a team that is steadfastly committed to this important work.”

Dr. Watkins-Butler’s full bio can be viewed here.

About Center for Community Progress

The mission of Center for Community Progress is to foster strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Founded in 2010, Community Progress is the leading national, nonprofit resource for urban, suburban, and rural communities seeking to address the full cycle of property revitalization. The organization fulfills its mission by nurturing strong leadership and supporting systemic reforms. Community Progress works to ensure that public, private, and community leaders have the knowledge and capacity to create and sustain change. It also works to ensure that all communities have the policies, tools, and resources they need to support the effective, equitable reuse of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. More information is available at

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