Home » Press Releases » Four Community and Economic Development Leaders Sign on to Center for Community Progress Board (Press Release)

Four Community and Economic Development Leaders Sign on to Center for Community Progress Board (Press Release)

May 19, 2020


Carey Shea, Brett Theodos, Mijo Vodopic, and Jay Williams join the Board of Directors for National Community Revitalization Nonprofit

News Release (PDF)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 19, 2020 – Today, the Center for Community Progress, America’s leading resource on issues of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties, announced that the newest appointments to its Board of Directors include leaders from the MacArthur Foundation, the Urban Institute, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Coalition and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

“Before COVID-19, as a part of our work, we committed to diversifying our leadership and widening the perspectives at our decision-making tables,” said Dr. Akilah Watkins-Butler, President and CEO.

“Today’s challenge makes that effort even more important. We are grateful for the growing diversity in our Board leadership and for the enormous commitment that each member is demonstrating to our cause as we activate to help residents and localities across the U.S.”

About the New Board Members

HEADSHOT, CAREY SHEACarey Shea is the founder of the Neighborhood Homes Investment Coalition, a national policy effort to revitalize distressed single-family home neighborhoods. A former Director of several community development corporations, including Home by Hand and Project Home Again, Shea’s experience includes galvanizing millions in investment for American communities and grassroots neighborhood development.

As a loaned executive to the City of New Orleans, she worked with the City’s Director of Housing Policy and Community Development to design and implement a $52 million soft-second mortgage program that enabled more than 900 residents to become first-time homeowners. Her experience also includes launching and implementing a $25 million Community Revitalization Fund in post-Katrina New Orleans, and leading community revitalization programs at the Surdna and Rockefeller Foundations, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Habitat for Humanity. Shea is an alumna of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and has been cited in leading publications including the New York Times and Shelterforce. 

HEADSHOT, DR. BRETT THEODUSDr. Brett Theodos is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Community Economic Development Hub at the Urban Institute. A long-time housing and policy researcher, throughout his career Dr. Theodos’ work has focused on economic and community development, neighborhood change, affordable homeownership, and consumer finance.

His research has been leveraged by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Policy Development and Research, the District of Columbia’s Fiscal Policy Institute, and localities nationwide to better understand and inform equitable community development. Dr. Theodos has been recognized for his evaluations of the Economic Development Administration, the New Markets Tax Credit program, Opportunity Zones, and the HUD’s Community Development Block Grant and Section 108 programs. Dr. Theodos is an alumnus of Northwestern University, George Washington University, and Georgetown University.

HEADSHOT, MIJO VODOPICMijo Vodopic is a Senior Program Officer, Climate Solutions at the MacArthur Foundation. A former senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Vodopic has worked on a variety of issues impacting affordable housing, homelessness, and community development throughout his career. His experience includes, serving as director of property and asset management at Heartland Housing Incorporated, where he managed a portfolio of properties that offered on-site social services and worked to help revitalize severely distressed public housing communities. In addition, he advocated on behalf of homeless families during a period of welfare reform while at the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Initially at the MacArthur Foundation, Vodopic focused on preserving affordable rental housing across rural and urban communities working directly with state and local governments on policy innovations. Currently, his portfolio includes domestic and international grantmaking to advance clean energy and sustainable development in the United States, India, and China. A German Marshall Fund fellow, Vodopic is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and the University of Chicago where received his master’s degree in Public Policy.

HEADSHOT, JAY WILLIAMSJay Williams serves as President of the Hartford Foundation, a community foundation for the Capitol Region of Connecticut. A former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, his experience includes leading the federal economic development agenda as the head of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, served as Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at The White House, and the Mayor of the City of Youngstown, Ohio.

Today, in addition to his Hartford work, Williams serves on the boards of the MetroHartford Alliance, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center/AdvanceCT, and the CHEFA Community Development Corporation.  He is also an active contributor to the State of Connecticut’s Governor’s Workforce Council and the Community Foundation Opportunity Network Governing Council. Williams is an Alumnus of Youngstown State University.

For a full list of the Center for Community Progress Board of Directors, visit

“We are pleased to welcome these influential leaders to the Community Progress team,” said Jeanne Wardford, Board Chair and Senior Program Officer for the Kellogg Foundation.

“Their wealth of insight and expertise will be a tremendous benefit as we work to respond to the growing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic and America’s ongoing challenge of property vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration.”

For media interviews and more information about the Center for Community Progress, email [email protected] or call (877) 542-4842 ext. 153.


About the Center for Community Progress

Since 2010, the Center for Community Progress has helped more than 300 communities transform vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Through offices in Michigan and Washington, D.C., Community Progress works to create a future where all people live in strong, healthy, just communities where widespread vacant properties no longer exist. For more information, visit

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