Housing Partnership Equity Trust
Board of Directors Board of Directors

Board Members

David Adame: President and CEO, Chicanos Por La Causa

David serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC). Prior to being appointed President and CEO, David served as CPLC’s President and Chief Economic Development Officer responsible for managing the economic development arm of the organization in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, including overseeing property management, real estate & commercial development, single and multi-housing services, housing counseling services, small business lending, employment services, and social ventures. Prior to this appointment, he served as CPLC Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. CPLC is a regional community development corporation with more than 40 years of experience serving communities in the areas of Education, Economic Development, Housing and Health and Human Services. CPLC is the third largest non-profit in the County.

He has more than 20 years of operational management experience in both for-profit and non-profit environments. Prior to joining CPLC, Adame served as Vice President of Arizona Operations for McCormack Baron & Salazar. Adame was responsible for overseeing the firm’s role in Henson Village, a HOPE VI project located in Phoenix, Arizona that is funded in part by a $35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This 611-unit mixed-income/mixed-financed residential development has a total development cost of $115 million.

Prior to joining McCormack Baron & Salazar in 2003, Adame was the Senior Deputy Director of Fannie Mae’s Arizona Partnership Office. Working in tandem with the Director, Adame was responsible for implementing “HouseArizona,” a five-year, $15 billion investment plan to finance affordable housing throughout the state.

David also spent three years as Program Officer with the Phoenix Office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), where he managed the HOMESTART program, a for-sale affordable housing development project. He also worked for Bank One Arizona for eight years, managing and underwriting residential and commercial loans.

Adame is chairman of the Arizona Housing Commission, a position appointed by the Governor of Arizona. He holds a B.S. in Business from Arizona State University (ASU) and an MBA from the ASU School of Global Management.

Luke Apicella: Associate Manager, Prudential Impact Investments

Luke Apicella has over nine years of impact investing experience. As an associate with Prudential Impact Investments, he is responsible for the origination and asset management activities to grow the portfolio to $1 billion. He covers numerous relationships, industries, private asset types, and impact objectives.

Mr. Apicella serves on the boards and/or committees for several portfolio companies including a Real Estate Investment Trust, a Community Development Finance Institution, and a local start-up. His signature transactions include a term loan for an innovative charter school in New York City with performance pay for teachers, a co-investment with a leading private equity fund in a high growth sustainable consumer goods company, and a next vintage investment in the top performing affordable housing private equity fund. Mr. Apicella started his career with Prudential and soon after became an analyst with Impact Investments responsible for the portfolio management activities including valuation, forecasting, and reporting. Mr. Apicella has degrees in sustainability management from Columbia University (MS), finance from New York University (MBA), and entrepreneurship from Syracuse University (BS).

Thomas Bledsoe: President and CEO of HPN

Thomas A. Bledsoe is the president and chief executive officer of the Housing Partnership Network (HPN), one of the nation’s leading nonprofits and community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that promote affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and economic opportunity for low and moderate income people. Organized as a peer-to-peer network of the nation’s top 100 social entrepreneurs in the housing and community development field, HPN helps nonprofit leaders and organizations collaborate to achieve break through innovations that advance their collective impact.

Under Tom’s leadership, HPN has created more than a dozen enterprises that utilize private sector strategies to help its members achieve their social missions. These include a captive insurance company to protect 60,000 affordable apartments, the nation’s first real estate investment trust (REIT) owned by nonprofits, a development company which is rebuilding New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina, a mortgage resolution fund to help homeowners and communities impacted by foreclosures, an online technology company that provides education and advising to first time homebuyers, a group purchasing organization for products and services, and a newly launched development company based in Detroit. HPN also spearheaded and coordinates the International Housing Partnership, a consortium of the leading nonprofits in the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

HPN has been recognized for its innovation and impact by Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist Award, the MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Organizations, and the Wells Fargo NEXT Award for Opportunity Finance. Its social enterprises have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NPR’s All Things Considered, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Tom helped found the organization in 1992 becoming its first full-time president in 1998. He has led the growth of the network and its social enterprises which operate in most major markets and every state in the US with offices in Boston and Washington. He serves on the boards of the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, Capital Impact Partners, and the National Community Stabilization Trust as well as a number of HPN affiliated companies.

Prior to HPN, he was the executive director of the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, the Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development and director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services in Boston. He started his career as a community and labor organizer, and was the initial staff and field director for the Committee to Elect Ray Flynn Mayor of Boston in 1982. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and received a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Collete English Dixon: Executive Director, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, Roosevelt University

Collete English Dixon has more than 30 years in investment management with a focus on commercial real estate investing. Prior to her current role at Roosevelt University, she was Executive Director – Transactions for PGIM Real Estate (formerly known as PREI), a business unit of Prudential Financial, and co-leader of PREI’s national investment dispositions program. In that role, she oversaw the sale of more than 201 investment properties located throughout the US, with a total value of more than $8.7 Billion, on behalf of PREI’s investment funds. Prior to her role in dispositions, English Dixon was responsible for sourcing more than $2.75B of wholly-owned and joint venture real estate investment opportunities in the Midwestern markets covering all property types, including office, multi-family, hotel, industrial and retail properties. Collete’s experience also includes property development and asset management.

She is a Past President of CREW Network, a Past Chair of the CREW Network Foundation, a Past President of CREW Chicago, a full member of ULI and the 2016-2019 Chair of the UDMU Council/Purple. She is a former member of the Advisory Board for the Graaskamp Center at the University of Wisconsin, a board member of Lambda Alpha International-Ely Chapter and of the Chicago Forum of the International Women’s Forum. In addition, English Dixon is a member of the Board of Directors of the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.

Neal Drobenare: Vice President New Business Development, NHP Foundation (NHPF)

As the Vice President of New Business Development with NHPF, Mr. Drobenare is responsible for acquiring new affordable housing developments. The NHP Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to making investments that preserve and create affordable multifamily housing for low- to moderate-income families and seniors. The Foundation also provides a comprehensive array of programs and services to enhance the quality of life for its residents. In 1991 Mr. Drobenare graduated from SUNY Buffalo Law School. He went on to join the New York State Assembly Majority Leader for the Legislative Counsel.

Aaron Gornstein: President and CEO, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH)

Aaron Gornstein became the President and CEO of POAH, Inc. in June 2015.  He provides overall leadership and oversight of the organization, including strategic planning, financial management, supervision of the executive team, and external relations and partnerships.

From 2012-2015, Gornstein served as undersecretary for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), under former Governor Deval Patrick, where he greatly expanded rental assistance and homeless prevention programs, reformed and improved state public housing, and launched a comprehensive supportive housing initiative.

Prior to that, he served as executive director of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) for 21 years, where he spearheaded passage of state and federal legislation, launched innovation programs, and helped to form numerous coalitions.

Gornstein earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and his Master of Arts degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University.  He is a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and serves on the board of directors of the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Massachusetts Community Preservation Coalition.

Cindy Holler: Senior Vice President of National Real Estate Development Strategy, Mercy Housing Inc.

Cindy M. Holler is the SVP of National Real Estate Development Strategy for Mercy Housing Inc. and a member of its Senior Leadership Team. In this role, Cindy chairs the organization’s Investment Committee, provides support to local real estate development teams in Mercy’s regional offices. Over the last 18 months Cindy has constructed a housing preservation platform for Mercy, acquiring existing multifamily apartment buildings, raising capital and sourcing potential transactions through its regional offices and a broker network she has developed. She is Vice-Chair of the Board of the Housing Partnership Equity Trust (HPET), a non-profit REIT formed to acquire real estate in this asset class. A ten-year veteran of Mercy Housing, she formerly held the role of President of its Chicago subsidiary, Mercy Housing Lakefront, which more than doubled in size during her tenure, expanded into Wisconsin and the Chicago suburbs, and acquired the first building under the newly formed HPET REIT.

Prior to joining Mercy Housing, Ms. Holler was a National Director for Housing and Community Development for Fannie Mae, where she was responsible for making housing and community development debt and equity investments with for-profit and not-for-profit developers as well as housing authorities and state and local governments throughout the nation. Ms. Holler and her staff of 10 people invested over $1 billion in communities across the United States.

Ms. Holler has deep expertise in large scale real estate development including both market rate and subsidized multi-family and single-family housing. She has served as President/Chief Operating Officer of both for-profits and non-profit real estate development companies in New York, Ohio and Chicago including Shorebank Development Corporation, New Cities Redevelopment Corporation and Progress of People’s Development Corporation in Brooklyn, NY. In these roles, she has overseen the development of over 5,000 units of housing, making significant impacts in local neighborhoods and regional markets.

Ms. Holler received a Bachelor’s degree in political science/rhetoric and communications from Kent State University and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning/Real Estate from the Pratt Institute in New York City. Her post-graduate work includes a degree from Harvard’s Advance Management Development Program. Her honors include a Henry W. Miller Fellowship from the Urban Land Institute, the Robert S. Weinberg Award for Academic Excellence in Urban Planning, and from the American Planning Association, New York Metropolitan Chapter.

Jeff Meyers: Director, Structured Lending and Investments, Citi Community Capital

Jeff Meyers is a Director in the Structured Lending and Investments group of Citi Community Capital, a department within Citi’s Municipal Securities Division responsible for the bank’s impact investing and community development lending activities.

Since joining Citi in 2010, Jeff has been involved in the origination, structuring, closing and portfolio management of various structured debt and equity investments, including those in the affordable housing, charter schools, healthcare, energy efficiency and alternative financial services sectors. Prior to joining Citi, Jeff spent six years in the Investment Banking and Debt Capital Markets divisions of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he focused on debt and equity financings for clients in the real estate, gaming and lodging sectors.

Jeff graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Economics and Mathematics and holds his Series 7 and 63 securities licenses from FINRA.

Cynthia Parker: (Chair, HPET) President and CEO, BRIDGE Housing

Cynthia A. Parker, President & CEO, is responsible for the overall direction of BRIDGE Housing, a leading nonprofit developer, owner and manager of affordable housing. She joined BRIDGE as President and CEO in February 2010, bringing over 30 years of diverse and relevant experience to the organization. She previously served as Regional President for Mercy Housing and President of Intercommunity Mercy Housing. Prior to her tenure at Mercy, she was Senior Vice President of Seattle-Northwest Securities, a public finance firm, where she oversaw affordable housing, commercial and public facility real estate financing in five Northwest states. A partial list of her real estate financial advisory clients includes: The Port of Seattle, Port of Olympia, City of Redmond and City of Seattle; the housing authorities of Portland, Everett, King County and Seattle (HOPE VI); the University of Washington, Pacific University, and the University of Portland; and the school districts of Edmonds, Seattle, and Portland. In Alaska, her clients included the Municipality of Anchorage and the Alaska Railroad.

Ms. Parker established the Housing Office of the City of Seattle and served as the City’s Director of Housing under two separate mayors, with responsibility for the City’s housing investment strategies, $100 million annual capital budget and $824 million loan portfolio. Ms. Parker previously developed over 3,500 units in Oregon and Alaska with mixed financing. She assisted the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation with the design of both taxable and tax-exempt housing bond programs and has provided syndication services for tax-credit placements.

A former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Ms. Parker has chaired the Sound Families Initiative for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and currently serves as a director of the National Affordable Housing Trust, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Housing Partnership Network, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, the Beneficial State Foundation and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, and is on the Board of Governors of the California Housing Consortium. Ms. Parker is a graduate of Portland State University.

Mike Pitchford: President and CEO, Community Preservation and Development Corporation

J. Michael Pitchford presently serves as the President and CEO of Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC). In this role, he is responsible for the company’s strategic direction and the leadership of the real estate development, asset management and resident services functions which create and support CPDC’s 30+ affordable housing communities.

Previously Pitchford led the Community Development Equity Group at Bank of America Corporation in Charlotte, NC. The Group developed or rehabilitated 23,000 units of affordable housing and increased LIHTC equity commitments 3,000% to $3 Billion, during his ten years leading the organization.

Pitchford also has participated in or led associations, workshops, conferences, and forums on housing policy, community development, and the sharing of best practices. He has served in leadership roles on the boards of the National Housing Conference, the National Equity Fund and the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors.

Mr. Pitchford is a member of the Urban Land Institute and serves on the Advisory Board of the Terwilliger Center for Housing. He also serves on the Boards of the Housing Partnership Network, the Housing Partnership Equity Trust, the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND), the Boys & Girls Club of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, the Anne Arundel County Affordable Housing Coalition and the Carol M. Jacobson Foundation.

Mr. Pitchford earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Old Dominion University. He presently serves as an Instructor and teaches community development and affordable housing at the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development in the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation at the University of Maryland. He is a graduate of Leadership Greater Washington and Leadership Anne Arundel.

CPDC, founded in 1989, is a 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to expanding the supply of affordable housing in the mid-Atlantic region. Wherever possible, CPDC works to invest in the communities with a technological infrastructure and on-site educational and economic empowerment programs. CPDC has completed nearly 5,000 units of housing and has over 500 units under construction at present.

Brian Shuman: Chief Financial Officer, Forum Real Estate Group

Mr. Shuman is the President and Chief Financial Officer of Forum Real Estate Group. In this role he is responsible for the strategic planning and day to day oversight of the organization along with directing asset management and the back office functions of the company.

Prior to joining Forum Real Estate Group, Mr. Shuman served as Chief Financial Officer for Griffis Residential, Carmel Partners and Mercy Housing and as Senior Vice President of Finance for Aimco, an S&P 500 multifamily housing REIT.

Mr. Shuman graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Economics and Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Shuman has served on the Board or as a Trustee of the Housing Partnership Network, Mercy Loan Fund, Stewards for Affordable Housing, and the National Affordable Housing Trust.

Born in Washington, D.C. and having met his wife in Los Angeles, Brian lives with his wife and three children in Colorado where he enjoys golfing, skiing and fishing.

Peter Vilim: Co-founder and Co-chairman, Waterton

Mr. Vilim co-founded the company with David Schwartz in 1995 and serves as Co-chairman. Mr. Vilim, along with Mr. Schwartz, shares the ultimate responsibility for Waterton’s business activities and operations. Mr. Vilim focuses on Waterton’s strategic initiatives and leads the firm’s audit committee. Mr. Vilim also participates on Waterton’s leadership and investment committees. Prior to co-founding Waterton in 1995, Mr. Vilim was an investment officer with Berkshire Realty Company, Inc., responsible for Midwest acquisitions, dispositions and financings. Prior to joining Berkshire, Mr. Vilim was the investment officer for Amli Realty Co. Mr. Vilim started his career as a certified public accountant, working in the national real estate tax practice departments of both Coopers & Lybrand and Peat Marwick Mitchell.

Mr. Vilim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois and a Master’s Degree in taxation from DePaul University. Mr. Vilim is a member of the Boards of Directors of All Chicago – The Emergency Fund/Coalition to End Homelessness; sits on the Programming Development Committee for Inspiration Corporation and the Development Committee of The Cara Program, and is an Executive in Residence at Elmhurst College.