Alliance for Racial Equity

The Alliance is a coalition of community development organizations and practitioners dedicated to increasing racial equity with the leadership of the professionals in the field. The Alliance believes in addressing racism, as it is a principal issue within the community economic development history. By focusing on increasing racial equity and access, we aim to foster positive work environments in which all employees are understood, recognized, valued and reach their full potential.

Our Vision of Community Development

When the Alliance was formed, a broad group of stakeholders came together and articulated the following vision:

  • As organizations, we are dynamic, open, welcoming, supportive, and participatory. We value, respect, and celebrate diversity. We encourage open, two-way communication and embrace different leadership styles and perspectives.
  • All leaders (at the staff, board, and community levels) are committed, courageous, and supportive of diverse leadership. As a whole, the leadership reflects the communities in which we work and builds an open, respectful relationship with the community. Leaders actively recruit individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and economic circumstances while setting the tone for an inclusive, supportive organizational culture.
  • Leaders and others within the community development movement acknowledge the existence of race and racism in our organizations and our communities, and demonstrate the will and the commitment to addressing the issues.
  • Learning, teaching and mentoring are valued. Community development organizations create ongoing opportunities for learning and growth among staff, board, and residents at all levels. Current leaders demonstrate their commitment to learning by actively mentoring new leaders of color within the movement.

The community development field is well known and is a career of choice for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, races, and economic circumstances. There are clear paths for advancement and people understand the skills and competencies needed to advance in the community development field.

Alliance Steering Committee Members

  • Jason Boyd (Codman Square NDC)
  • Emilio Dorcely (Urban Edge)
  • John Fitzgerald (JPNDC Board)
  • Andre Leroux (MA Smart Growth Alliance)
  • Anabelle Rondon (MassDevelopment TDI)
  • Marilyn Sanchez (LISC)
  • Veronica Truell (NeighborWorks Housing Solutions)
  • Jennifer Van Campen (MetroWest Collaborative Development)
  • Melinda Vega (NOAH)
  • Karen Wiener (CHAPA)

The Alliance is staffed by Shirronda Almeida, MKI Director and Tiana Lawrence, MKI Program Associate. For more information, please email either of them at Click here to show mail address.

mentor and mentee


Community Development Mentoring Program

The Mentoring Program is designed to promote and support a culture of learning and mentoring within the community development field. The program enhances the preparation of mid- to senior-level professionals of color who demonstrate leadership potential, for advancement and growth into positions of leadership and authority, by facilitating effective and meaningful relationships between and amongst community development professionals. The program incorporates a racial equity lens by looking at the implicit bias and racism that exists in our work.

The 2020-2021 Mentoring Program cycle focused on those who have or are pursuing a career in Housing. This is part of our work to support the pipeline of Project Managers, Real Estate Directors, Asset Managers, Property Managers, etc. joining the community development field. Our goal is to build networks of professionals and support professionals of color in housing careers.

CDMP 2020 - 2021 Cycle Participants


  • Alma Balonon-Rosen, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Andy Howarth, Worcester Community Housing Resources
  • Aspasia Xypolia, The Community Builders
  • Cathy Mercado, Merrimack
  • David Koven, Koven Consulting
  • Gonzalo Puigbo, Somerville CDC
  • Joe Backer, City of Boston
  • Ken Willis, Federal Home Loan Bank Boston
  • Leslie Reid, Madison Park Development Corporation
  • Marty Jones, MLJ Insights
  • Mickey Northcutt, Northshore CDC
  • Noelle Humphries, NeighborWorks Housing Solutions
  • Peter Serafino, Home City Development


  • Amanda Ford, Taitt Gittens
  • Amarillys Rodriguez, Planning Office for Urban Affairs, Archdiocese of Boston (POUA)
  • Chavella Lee-Pacheco, Madison Park Development Corporation
  • Golnaz Tabatabai, State of MA
  • Hana Migliorato, MassHousing
  • Ineudira "Dira" Barbosa, Chelsea Housing Authority
  • Ithzel Polanco, City of Somerville
  • Jason Desrosier, Allston Brighton CDC
  • Jennifer Angarita, BlueHub Capital
  • Kemar White
  • Ricky Smith, The Community Builders
  • Sebastian Zapata, City of Boston
  • Tiffany Leung, Town of Newton
man listens

Undoing Racism Partnership

The Mel King Institute partners annually with Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development and Simmons University to bring The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond Undoing Racism trainings to members of the community development and academic communities.

To learn about the Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond, click HERE.

The 2021 Undoing Racism Appetizer trainings will be held on September 18, 25, and October 2. Learn more and register HERE.