Tamar Shapiro Named as New Chief Executive of the Center for Community Progress (Press Release)

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Tamar Shapiro, a widely respected leader in the field of urban and regional policy, has been chosen by the Board of Directors to become the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Community Progress, the nation’s preeminent organization promoting neighborhood revitalization through the prevention and creative reuse of vacant and abandoned property.  Ms. Shapiro, who will assume the positions on December 1, 2012 replaces founding President and CEO Dan Kildee, who was recently elected to U.S. Congress, and Amy Hovey, who served as Interim President since May while the search for a new leader was conducted.

Ms. Shapiro, who currently serves as Senior Director of Urban and Social Policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), brings long and broad experience to her new role. At GMF, Ms. Shapiro launched the highly regarded Cities in Transition Initiative, which convenes land use and economic development practitioners from America’s “rust belt” cities, as well as federal and state officials, with their European counterparts to explore shared challenges and effective strategies.  In her role at GMF, Ms. Shapiro also spearheaded the launch of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellowship Program, working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other partners to place highly qualified mid-career professionals in selected pilot cities in order to build local capacity and promote innovative economic development strategies.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, from 2000-2005 Ms. Shapiro worked as a practicing attorney with a primary focus on affordable housing law.  From 2005 to 2010 Ms. Shapiro served as Associate Director and then as Director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design at Smart Growth America. In this capacity, she worked with governors and their cabinet officers to design and recommend state-level policies addressing urban growth and development. During the past decade Ms. Shapiro has also been a Robert Bosch Foundation fellow in Berlin, where she worked at the Berlin Administration on Urban Planning and Environment and the German Institute for Urban Affairs.  Ms. Shapiro later returned to Germany as a McCloy Fellow in environmental affairs where she researched urban revitalization strategies in former East German cities.

William A Johnson, Jr., Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology said of their decision, “Over the past three years Community Progress has forged a strong network of communities from across the nation, who together are grappling with challenges and opportunities in ensuring healthy and vibrant futures for their cities and towns based on smart land-use strategies.  We have full confidence that Ms. Shapiro’s broad and varied experience and demonstrated leadership will enhance the work of both the network and our organization.”

The Center for Community Progress is one of the nation’s foremost voices on land reuse and neighborhood revitalization. Through policy development, technical assistance, research and advocacy, Community Progress has provided support to government and activists across the country as they address the challenges of vacant properties and blight.