Community Advisory Council
The Community Advisory Council (CAC) is made up of experts and leaders who reflect the diversity of the Fourth District and represent issues of concern to underserved and lower-income individuals and communities. These experts and leaders are focused on topics such as financial health, housing, small business, workforce development, and community development investments.
The CAC helps to inform the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Community Development staff, senior leadership, and president about current and emerging economic and social issues and trends impacting underserved and lower-income individuals and communities in the Fourth District. This information is used to help guide the priorities of the Community Development Department.
Eric P. Avner
Vice President and Senior Program Manager, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, People’s Liberty
As vice president of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./US Bank Foundation since April 2008, Eric Avner directs the foundation’s community development grantmaking, focusing on Cincinnati’s distinctive urban neighborhoods, talented regional workforce, and culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. He is also founder and CEO of People’s Liberty, the foundation’s 8,000 ft2 philanthropic lab for foundations interested in investing in place by investing in people.
Previously, Eric advised Cincinnati's top CEOs on economic development issues as associate director of the Cincinnati Business Committee; launched Soapboxmedia.com, a weekly magazine focused on the region’s economic and physical transformation; and led efforts to convert an abandoned railroad bridge across the Ohio River into an award-winning linear pedestrian park, the Purple People Bridge.
Eric holds a BA in urban systems from McGill University (Montréal) and an MA in historic preservation planning from Cornell University. He serves on the boards of Philanthropy Ohio, Cincinnati Development Fund, Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky, and ArtWorks Cincinnati.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Toledo Community Foundation
Keith Burwell is president and chief executive officer of the Toledo Community Foundation, a community foundation serving northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, with an emphasis on the Greater Toledo area. Since assuming his role in February 2004, he has led his staff in a variety of roles—including responsive grant maker, educator, catalyst, and convener for key community issues—that have contributed to the foundation’s success as the largest philanthropic organization in northwestern Ohio.
He has also served in leadership roles and is collaborating with partners on several initiatives, including the Overland Industrial Park project, a human trafficking initiative, a low-birth-weight reduction project, and several education initiatives.
Keith holds a BA from Campbell University and an MDiv in philosphy and religion from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Heidi L. Gartland
Chief of Government and Community Relations, University Hospitals
Heidi Gartland is a healthcare executive, community leader, and lobbyist at University Hospitals of Cleveland, a $4-plus billion healthcare system with 18 hospitals and more than 25,000 physicians and employees. She leads University Hospitals’ external relations and strategy, including community relations, community benefits, corporate reinvestment, strategic economic-development projects, government and regulatory affairs, and diversity and inclusion commitments. She advocates for University Hospitals at the federal, state, and local levels and is an experienced leader in healthcare public policy.
A dedicated civic leader, Heidi serves on the boards of several community and health organizations, and she is an adjunct faculty member of Baldwin Wallace University.
Heidi holds a BA in South Asian studies from the College of Wooster, an MHA from the Ohio State University, and a certificate in diversity management from Georgetown University.
Presley L. Gillespie
President, Neighborhood Allies
Presley Gillespie is the inaugural president of Neighborhood Allies, a community development intermediary that supports the people, organizations, and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining thriving neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is responsible for working collaboratively with the organization’s board of directors, the community, key funders, and staff to launch this new entity, and he has ultimate responsibility for the overall management of the organization.
Most recently, Presley served as the founding executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC), the first citywide community development corporation in Youngstown, Ohio. He came to the nonprofit sector after a successful 18-year banking career, primarily focused on community development lending and community revitalization.
Presley holds a BA in organizational communication and management from Youngstown State University.
Ernest E. Hogan
Executive Director, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
Ernie Hogan is the Executive Director for the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG), for which he uses his more than 30 years of experience as a community development practitioner to advance a neighborhood-driven agenda of economic growth. Organized in 1988, PCRG originally formed to provide a coordinated response to financial institutions’ practice of redlining and to be an “on the ground” watchdog for the Community Reinvestment Act. Now 60 members strong, PCRG focuses on mobility, land, and capital in western Pennsylvania’s communities.
Ernie is an integral part of Pittsburgh’s community development system, and his work has made an impressive impact on the communities he has served. Utilizing commercial financing, government development programs, tax credits, and private grants to improve housing, retail space, and jobs, he has been a part of some of the city’s most dramatic neighborhood transformations.
Ernie holds a BA in organizational communication and management from Youngstown State University.
Superintendent, Akron Public Schools
David James is the superintendent of the Akron public school system. Selected by the board of education in 2008, he oversees roughly 20,000 pupils, 3,000 employees, and the operations of 43 school buildings. Under David’s guidance, Akron Public Schools have been designated as a Ford Next Generation Learning Community; this framework will help the district transition all of the system’s high schools into College & Career Academies of Akron—learning centers focused on programs that teach skills necessary for high-demand careers in Northeast Ohio.
David James also facilitated a partnership between Akron Public Schools and the LeBron James Family Foundation to offer Wheels for Education and I PROMISE programs for students, encouraging hard work, academic achievement, and high school graduation. Through this partnership, the district and the foundation created the I PROMISE School, which opened in July 2018.
David holds a BA in economics and an MPA from Cleveland State University.
Tawana S. Jones
Community and Economic Development Operations Manager, Montgomery County Development Services
Tawana Jones is the community and economic development operations manager for Montgomery County Development Services in Dayton, Ohio. She has been employed by Montgomery County for more than 20 years and has held a number of positions during this period.
Prior to working for Montgomery County, Tawana was employed by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government in Lexington, Kentucky, and by the Cumberland Valley Area Development District in London, Kentucky.
Tawana holds a BS in psychology and sociology from Union College and an MPA from Eastern Kentucky University.
TOD Project Manager, Port Authority of Allegheny County
Breen Masciotra, AICP, is the TOD Project Manager for the Port Authority of Allegheny County. She joined the Port Authority in 2014 and is responsible for managing the agency’s place-based planning work, including transit-oriented development and transit-access improvements. She manages internal projects, coordinates external projects, and advocates for policies that create transit-oriented communities. She also supports the agency’s community outreach and public relations efforts.
Prior to joining the Port Authority, Breen spent 10 years working for and with nonprofit community organizations, including two years as a transit advocate.
Breen has a BA in architecture from Washington University and an MPA from the University of Pittsburgh.
President and Chief Executive Officer (retired), Appalachian Partnership, Inc.
John Molinaro is a recognized leader in growing the economies of rural areas, and his more than 40 years of experience has focused on community, economic, and workforce development; community philanthropy; and nonprofit management. Until his retirement in August 2020, he served as president and chief executive officer of the Appalachian Partnership, Inc. (API), where he worked to bring enduring, widely shared prosperity to Ohio's 32 Appalachian counties.
Before joining API, John was founding CEO of API’s subsidiary Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG), codirector of the community strategies group at the Aspen Institute, and vice president of the West Central Initiative in Minnesota.
He holds a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MPL in community and regional planning from North Dakota State University.
August A. Napoli
President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Greater Cleveland
August Napoli is president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Cleveland, the largest private funder of health and human services in the Greater Cleveland region. Prior to joining United Way of Greater Cleveland in June 2016, he served as deputy director and chief advancement officer of the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he oversaw the successful campaign to raise $320 million in support of the renowned institution’s historic renovation and expansion project and led the division that included fundraising, community engagement, marketing, visitor experience, and audience research.
August has more than 40 years of nonprofit executive experience in Northeast Ohio. He has led institutional advancement activities at several universities and directed charitable and healthcare foundations in the region.
August earned a bachelor’s degree from Franciscan University.
Chief Mission Officer, YWCA Columbus
Jillian Olinger is the chief mission officer at YWCA Columbus, where she provides strategic leadership to the agency’s programs, grants, and public policy portfolio. Having spent more than a decade working with and on behalf of marginalized residents in central Ohio and across the country, Jillian has deep expertise in a variety of social justice issues, including fair housing and fair credit, the intersection of child well-being and community development, and healthy neighborhoods.
Jillian’s current research interests focus on the demographic and economic changes facing our nation and communities. She is particularly focused on addressing the racial wealth gap at both a national policy level and at a grassroots level.
Jillian holds a BA in economics and sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a master of city and regional planning and a master of public policy and management from the Ohio State University.
James M. Stark
Chief Executive Officer, Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc.
James Stark is chief executive officer of Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc., an agency that employs a holistic approach to delivering services to the residents of Fayette County. The agency’s comprehensive services include education and training, emergency food and housing, services for senior citizens, and community and housing development.
Jim has more than 30 years of experience managing nonprofit organizations, and his expertise includes a variety of social issues, including poverty, homelessness, and health and human service needs. His areas of focus include development, strategic and program planning, financial management, community development, management systems, organizational development, and reengineering systems.
Jim holds a BA in social science and an MPA with a focus on economic development and public management from the University of Pittsburgh.
Director of Financial Wellness and Volunteer Engagement, Brighton Center, Inc.
Stephanie Stiene is director of financial wellness and volunteer engagement at Brighton Center, Inc., a northern Kentucky private, not-for-profit, community-based agency with the mission to create opportunities for individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency. For more than 17 years, Stephanie has led financial wellness to develop a full continuum of financial service programs, including foreclosure prevention, homeownership education, reverse mortgage counseling, individual development account (IDA) creation, small-dollar loan application, financial coaching, and volunteer income tax assistance (VITA).
Passionate about meeting families where they are by educating and providing resources and tools that empower them to improve their lives, Stephanie has engaged banking, lending, insurance, and many local business leaders and volunteers to serve thousands of individuals in the northern Kentucky area. In 2012, she was presented with the White House’s “Champions of Change” award for outstanding commitment and achievement in the field of housing counseling across the United States.
Stephanie holds a BA in psychology from Northern Kentucky University.
Executive Director, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc.
Jeff Whitehead is executive director of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and its local workforce investment board (WIB), which together provide workforce and employer services to 23 rural counties in Appalachian Kentucky. Jeff is dedicated to the mission of preparing, advancing, and expanding the workforce of eastern Kentucky, and he believes this mission is best accomplished by embracing partnerships and service strategies that expand opportunities for workers while being responsive to industry needs. He is working to ensure that eastern Kentucky and its workforce are discovered as a solution to industry needs statewide and beyond and that they are well equipped to compete in a global and digital economy.
Jeff is a member of the Advisory Council for Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), serves as chair of the Education and Retraining Roundtable, provides leadership to the National Economic Council’s Tech Hire Initiative in Eastern Kentucky, and serves on the board of directors for the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation and the FAHE Recovery Task Force.
He holds a BS in psychology from Morehead State University.
Danny R. Williams
President and Chief Executive Officer, Eliza Bryant Village
Danny Williams is president and chief executive officer of Eliza Bryant Village, a 122-year-old, long-term care facility that provides skilled nursing, affordable independent housing, and adult day and home care services for some of Greater Cleveland’s poorest and most vulnerable elderly citizens. Eliza Bryant serves approximately 1,200 individuals each year in furtherance of its mission to provide quality services, outreach programs, and a dignified, compassionate, and secure environment for seniors.
Danny has spent his professional career serving the Greater Cleveland community as a practicing attorney, public official, and nonprofit executive. He assumed his current position in January 2017 after serving the previous 10 years as executive director of Circle Health Services (formerly the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland).
Danny holds an AB in psychology from Princeton University, an MNO from Case Western Reserve University, and a JD from the University of Michigan.