Alliance for Racial Equity

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.


MKI Intern Network 

The Alliance for Racial Equity, an initiative of the MKI, launched an internship pilot during the Fall of 2019 supporting interns in the field of community development. The program is intended to be a partnership of community development organizations committed to broadening the field by exposing students to the Massachusetts Community Development Eco-system. Our goal is to foster a passion for a career in community building and development.  While all students are encouraged to join the Project, we recognize the importance of creating connections with community colleges, locally based students, those less privileged economically, residents of our affordable housing communities and students of color. 

The internship network is designed to expose interns who are enrolled in any concentration area to the field of community development through access to MKI trainings and workshops, network building opportunities, partner events, and other activities allowing participation in the MKI partner events. Interns will meet staff in different roles, leaders from the field, and learn about career paths. After two successful semesters of MKI Intern Network, we will be annoucing a Fall session soon!

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 has a racial equity lens by looking at the implicit bias and racism that exists in our work.

Mentoring Professionals in Housing Careers

*NEW* The 2020 - 2021 Mentoring Program cycle will be 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 build networks of professionals and support professionals of color in housing careers. If you are a potential mentor or mentee in the following areas we encourage you to join the program: 

  • Housing Development
  • Property Management and Asset Management
  • Housing Counseling
  • Housing Rehabilitation 

Learn More

Program Calendar and Description

CDMP 2020 - 2021 Cycle Participants


  • Alma Balonon-Rosen, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Andy Howarth, Worcester Community Housing Resources
  • Aspasia Xypolia, The Community Builders
  • David Koven, Koven Consulting
  • Gonzalo Puigbo, Somerville CDC
  • Jason Korn, Capstone Communities
  • 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

Racial Equity Facilitators (REFs)

In October 2018, The Mel King Institute partnered with Third Sector New England (TSNE), The Hyams Foundation, and Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD) to bring CAPD’s Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity (TWP) Curriculum training to the Boston Area. This 2.5 day train the trainers workshop gave participants the opportunity to experience the full curriculum, as well as to engage with fellow facilitators around best practices for implementing it within their own networks, organizations and spheres of influence.

After the workshop The Mel King Institute and TSNE continued holding gatherings where the facilitators who attended the original training have the opportunity to meet and discuss not only the TWP curriculum, but anything that comes up for them as a facilitator of Racial Equity trainings. The group is now open to any person who facilitates conversations about race for clients, organizations, or even on individual levels. We discuss topics, skills, and experiences that are helpful for facilitators and also share resources amongst the group. We meet four times a year, once a quarter. Please email if you would be interested in joining the group.  

Recruitment Initiative:

The Alliance Recruitment Initiative supports organizations to recruit, hire, retain and advance staff of color. The Alliance developed a manual, Race in Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, and Advancement to support the field in hiring. This effort evolved into Supervisor workshops, supervision peer group and Hiring Clinics for organizations, all offered by the Mel King Institute.

Alliance Steering Committee Members:

  • Jason Boyd (Codman Square NDC)
  • Nicole Chandler (City of Boston)
  • Valeska Daly (Upham's Corner Main Street)
  • Maria Fernandes - Dominique (Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA)
  • John Fitzgerald (JPNDC Board)
  • Jesse Kanson-Benanav (B’nai B’rith Housing New England)
  • Andre Leroux (MA Smart Growth Alliance)
  • Jessie Partridge (MAPC)
  • Anabelle Rondon (Livable Streets Alliance)
  • Monique Scott (CHAPA)
  • Marilyn Sanchez (LISC)
  • Jennifer Van Campen (MetroWest Collaborative Development)
  • Melinda Vega (NOAH) 
  • Karen Wiener (CHAPA)
  • Manisha Bewtra (Consultant)

The Alliance is staffed by Shirronda Almeida, MKI Director and Tiana Lawrence, MKI Community Engagement Fellow. For more information please email either of them at