HURC Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Jeanne Golliher - Board Chair

CEO, Cincinnati Development Fund

Jeanne Golliher has been CDF’s CEO since 1998. She directs all aspects of the organization’s mission and strategy including securing loan and investment capital, capital deployment, community outreach, and provision of technical services. Cincinnati Development Fund, a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), provides real estate development financing intended to revitalize urban neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati.

Kathy Schwab - Vice Chair

Former Executive Director, LISC

Cincinnati real estate development veteran Kathy Laker Schwab was the Executive Director of LISC from 2008-2020. She brought expertise in real estate to LISC, having spent 20 years of her career running her own real estate brokerage, management, and development company. A life-long urban advocate, Schwab helped to establish the first SID (special improvement district), Downtown Cincinnati Inc., where she served as Vice President of Residential Development from 1998 to 2004. There she was responsible for formulating and executing strategies for residential revitalization in the urban core. She has also directed the formation of several CDCs in Cincinnati, and has served as a development consultant to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the University of Cincinnati, 3CDC, and the Uptown Consortium. Schwab is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she serves as a member of the UC Real Estate Executive Advisory Council.

Alisa Berry

Executive Director, Cornerstone Rental Equity

With more than 20 years of social service experience, Ms. Berry has played key roles in building and enhancing non-profit programs. She began her career as a case manager, helping teen mothers access community resources and parenting education, and was later an analyst at the Office to End Homelessness in Norfolk, Virginia. After collaborating with community partners and designing a central intake for homeless families, she became supervisor of the organization’s Homeless Action Response Team (HART). Under her leadership, the program was recognized as a “promising practice” by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

In 2013, Ms. Berry moved back to Cincinnati to be closer to her family. Shortly after, she became the Director of the Refugee Resettlement program at Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, where she formed departments for Legal Services and Language Services, both of which serve as social enterprises today. Ms. Berry moved from Catholic Charities to the Talbert House, where she served as Regional Director of Corrections, overseeing two halfway houses and one community-based correctional facility, experiences that provided her great insight into the complexities of the criminal justice system and how incarceration affects the entire household.

Prior to becoming Executive Director of Cornerstone Renter Equity, Ms. Berry served on Cornerstone’s Board of Directors for two years, volunteering her time and talents to strengthen the organization’s impact on the community. In 2018, Ms. Berry was recognized as Northern Kentucky University’s “Public Administration Distinguished Alumni of the Year.”

Dawn E. Grace

Vice President for Housing & Community Investment, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati

Dawn Estes Grace is the Vice President for Housing and Community Investment at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati where she manages the day to day departmental operations and the maintenance of effective internal operating and reporting controls. She also manages the development and implementation of projects and programs that encourage member institutions to actively participate in the provision of affordable housing and community lending finance and in the preservation, redevelopment and revitalization of urban and rural communities. She previously worked for 22 years for the City of Cincinnati in the Department of Community and Economic Development as a Senior Community Development Analyst and Program Manager for the Rental Rehabilitation Program (RRP) and Cincinnati Homeowner Infill and Rehab Program (CHIRP). She holds certifications from both the National Development Council (NDC) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) including NDC Certified Housing Development Finance Professional (CDFP), NDC Certified Economic Development Professional (CEDP), and HUD Certified HOME Program Specialist – Regulations and Administration.

LaVerne Mitchell

Council Member, Village of Lincoln Heights

Council Member LaVerne Mitchell has proudly served the Village of Lincoln Heights in a variety of capacities. In addition to her four previous council positions, she has held the position of Village Manager and served four terms as Mayor.

Throughout her municipal career, which began in 1984, Ms. Mitchell has and will continue to focus on ensuring residents are provided quality services and programs for the community, securing economic development opportunities, and building viable partnerships with other organizations and neighboring municipalities. She is Chair of the Finance Committee and serves on the Law Committee and the Economic Development Committee. Prior to her return to Council, she was a member of the Charter Review Committee.

Her past accomplishments include obtaining law enforcement grants, construction of new homes in 2005 in Martin Luther King Estates, the creation of the Lincoln Heights Legacy Awards presented at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, Respect My Block, and leadership support for the re-development of the Valley Homes. In partnership with the Community Action Agency and the Valley Boosters, the Mobile Food Pantry was started. Ms. Mitchell also initiated the family safety program series with the help of Children’s Hospital and the Valley Boosters. She was also instrumental in implementing WeThrive to Lincoln Heights.

Ms. Mitchell is the recipient of numerous community awards including Who’s Who in Cincinnati, Community Action Bridge Builder Award, Town’s Chapel Woman of Character, YMCA Black Achiever, Princeton PROS Award, Cincinnati Herald Nefertiti Award and St. Simon’s Woman of the Year. She is a board member of The HealthCare Connection, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, and a former board president of Centennial Estates.

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Councilwoman Mitchell began her employment with Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Services as a community organizer. Her corporate experience was gained at Xerox Corporation. She currently teaches at Cincinnati Job Corps. Councilwoman Mitchell has three children and six grandchildren. She enjoys every opportunity to mentor youth and young adults. Her favorite quote from Dr. Cornell West expresses her advocacy for the Village of Lincoln Heights: “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people.”

Jessica Powell

Vice President of Housing, Talbert House

Jessica Powell serves as Vice President of Housing at Talbert House. Talbert House is empowering children, adults and families to live healthy, safe and productive lives. The agency’s network of services focuses on prevention, assessment, treatment and reintegration. Services are provided at multiple sites throughout Southwest Ohio. Last year, Talbert House served over 21,000 clients face to face with an additional 96,000 receiving prevention and hotline services.

Powell brings to the position more than 15 years of legal experience in the areas of housing and neighborhood improvement. Prior to joining Talbert House, she served as Vice President of the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation for four years. She also served as Chief Counsel at the City of Cincinnati’s Law Department, where she focused on improving neighborhood quality of life through affirmative litigation and other strategic advocacy. Before that, she served as Senior Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, LLC. Her experience includes advocacy related to affordable housing and local and statewide legislative advocacy related to neighborhood blight.

Powell earned her juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She was nominated by City of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley to the FC Cincinnati Community Coalition. She also serves on the Hamilton County Foreclosure Policy Group, Vacant Properties Task Force and the City of Cincinnati’s Community Development Advisory Board.

Sarah Thomas

Executive Director, Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation (NEST)

Sarah Thomas is a dedicated Northside resident and business owner. Her passions meet at an intersection of urban density, historic preservation and the idea that thoughtful development bolsters great communities. When Sarah isn’t working for NEST she is running Grey Rock Development with her partner, Chris, and serving on the boards of the Northside Business Association, HURC: Homesteading and Urban Redevelopment Corporation, Homebase, and Cincinnati Neighborhood Business Districts United. You can often find her walking her dog through Northside’s historic alleys or listening to Sunday bluegrass at The Comet. She strives to use her position with NEST to further Northside as a thriving neighborhood that welcomes others to discover the same sense of community she has found.