Our Organization

History

Founded in 1994, The American City Coalition grew out of lessons learned from the development of the earliest mixed-income communities in the United States. The inspiration for our work is grounded in the story of Columbia Point, a 1,500-unit public housing project, in Dorchester, MA.

By the 1970s, this federally funded housing development had failed. Seeing an opportunity to create better housing in his native Dorchester, our founder, Joseph E. Corcoran, working with his development company, Corcoran Mullins Jennison, undertook the conversion of the property into 1,238 units of mixed-income housing. The neighborhood was renamed Harbor Point on the Bay.

In realizing this pioneering residential neighborhood, Corcoran partnered with a coalition of residents and community organizations to ensure that local knowledge and quality of life needs shaped the future of Harbor Point. Today, the conversion of Columbia Point into Harbor Point remains a model for the deconcentration of poverty and the preservation of affordable housing; the project informed the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI plan and, eventually, the Choice Neighborhoods program.

Corcoran calls upon all of us to work together to alleviate the concentration of poverty in distressed neighborhoods. In his Founder’s Statement, Corcoran articulates his inspiration for founding The American City Coalition:

With the program support of our mayors, governors, the President, Congress, and many philanthropists–we can cure inner city poverty. How? Not by improving education and daycare, not by job training and creating job opportunities, not by making the streets and the transit safe, not by creating new, safe commercial areas or by building more attractive housing or focusing on diversity. It is not by making any of these efforts alone; it is by doing them all, at the same time, focused on distressed neighborhoods.

It can be done–but only in partnership with the people who now live in these distressed communities. Initiatives must grow from their resident’s experience and knowledge. Policy makers and implementers must listen to communities and be responsive; it is the only way to empower real partnerships that harness focused investment. 

TACC develops integrated approaches that drive public and private resources to work on behalf of low-income residents in undeserved neighborhoods. With one in three Americans in inner cities living in poverty and high concentrations of poverty and insufficient economic opportunity even in neighborhoods of our country’s most successful cities, no one organization can meet the complex needs of residents and communities alone. TACC is committed to bringing together the resources of the private and public sectors to focus on the neighborhoods with the greatest need.

 

Our Team

Christine Araujo

Executive Director

christine_araujo@tamcc.org

Christine brings many years of experience in community development, land use planning, and social services in Boston’s neighborhoods. From 2001 to 2004, she served as the Executive Director of Boston Connects, Inc., where she was responsible for implementing the economic and human development goals of Boston’s federal Empowerment Zone. One product of this investment, Crosstown Development Phase I, has spurred increased economic opportunity in Lower Roxbury.

Christine has held a range of positions in the public and nonprofit sectors. At Action for Boston Community Development, she was focused on adult education and training, and homelessness. At the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, she introduced project management as a business practice, helped strengthen municipalities’ capacity to expand affordable housing, and participated in a homelessness placement strategy. During her decade at the Boston Planning and Development Agency, she served first as a planner and later as the Deputy Director of Neighborhood Planning and Zoning. More recently, she has focused on promoting the economic mobility of Boston’s residents.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Vassar College and a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from Pratt Institute.

Alexandra Curley

Senior Associate, Research and Social Services Strategy

alex_curley@tamcc.org

Alex brings more than a decade of experience researching urban poverty, public and mixed-income housing, as well as supportive services programs focused on the well being of lower-income communities in the United States and Europe. She is a specialist in the program evaluation of large-scale governmental initiatives such as HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods. By carefully synthesizing large quantities of information and utilizing user-friendly formats, she places a high priority on making findings accessible to all. At TACC, Alex develops and implements resident and community needs assessments in mixed-income communities such as Oak Hill Apartments in Pittsburgh, PA and Harbor Point in Dorchester, MA, and high-poverty public housing projects such as Manton Heights in Providence, RI. She assessed and wrote the article, “Driving Quality of Life in Mixed-Income Communities,” on the quality of life management practice at Harbor Point in Dorchester, MA (see Journal of Housing and Community Development, May/June 2013).

Alex has worked with the Urban Institute, the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, as well as the OTB Research Institute for Housing and the Urban Mobility Studies in the Netherlands. She holds an undergraduate degree from Northeastern and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston University.

Charlotte Rice

Senior Associate, Partnerships and Development

charlotte_rice@tamcc.org

Charlotte brings extensive experience in the nonprofit and education sectors. For over a decade, Charlotte worked at Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she founded and implemented the Parsons Scholars Program, a selective, citywide college access program for low-income youth motivated by an interest in the field of design; the program was endowed through a major gift from the estate of the painter Jacob Lawrence. At Parsons, Charlotte also served on the faculty and held a series of leadership positions, most recently serving as the Director of the Office of Summer, Pre-Enrollment, and Special Programs and other Open Campus initiatives. After leaving Parsons, Charlotte founded her own firm consulting universities and nonprofit organizations to enhance programs and develop grants that address equity and access and facilitate growth and revenue; she holds particular expertise in summer and out-of-school programs, pre-professional training, and pathways to careers.

Charlotte holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from Columbia University and a graduate degree in Urban Education Policy from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her research interests include the development of career pathways in formal and informal educational settings.

Carole Walton

Associate, Community Development

carole_walton@tamcc.org

Carole’s relationship-building skills and knowledge of Boston’s entrepreneurial and creative sectors make her invaluable to TACC. A resident of Dudley Square for the past 18 years, Carole works with our current partners and forms new relationships within the community to identify and develop projects central to TACC’s mission. During Carole’s 12 years at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, she managed the CreateBoston program focused on economic development for Boston’s creative industries and oversaw the 2007 and 2011 PoweredUp Boston conferences to raise Boston’s profile in the videogame industry through business and workforce development. Previously, she also worked for the City of Boston in the Chief of Staff’s office and Inspectional Services Department, as well as the Norfolk District Office of Child Support Enforcement. Carole holds a bachelor’s degree in English from University of Massachusetts Boston and was a fellow at The Partnership, Inc.

Erin O’Connell

Associate, Project Management

erin_oconnell@tamcc.org

Erin oversees administrative and operational functions at TACC, drawing on a range of skills to interface with clients and partners, enrich the work of all staff members and consultants, and ultimately, increase the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. She previously worked in financial services in Boston and polished her writing and editing skills while working at a public relations firm in New Delhi, India. Erin holds an undergraduate degree in English from College of the Holy Cross and an MBA from the Simmons School of Management.

Shameeka Brown

Community Assessment and Housing Mobility Specialist

shameeka_brown@tamcc.org

Currently a Community Assessment and Housing Mobility Specialist, Shameeka participates in community meetings and stakeholder planning meetings in addition to supporting staff with resident and staff engagement. Shameeka also assists in housing mobility initiatives with Boston housing agencies and providers. A graduate of Wheelock College Master of Social Work Program, Shameeka’s experience includes eight years in the advocacy field. She currently works as a psychotherapist in the South Shore. At Victory Programs and Quincy Community Action Program, her roles included serving as a housing specialist and mental health advocate working with the homeless and low-income population. Her human services experience includes providing case management and advocacy. Prior to her current position at TACC, Shameeka worked with TACC as a surveyor and project coordinator on needs assessments at Harbor Point and Madison Park Village. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from UMass Boston and an M.S. in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College.

Lautaro Cantar

Urban Data Analytics Fellow

lautaro_cantar@tamcc.org

A recipient of the Argentine Presidential Fellowship in Science and Technology, Lautaro joins us as he works toward a master’s degree in Urban Informatics at Northeastern University. A former financial analyst for Accenture Argentina and co-founder of the NGO AIESEC’s La Plata office, Lautaro now uses his economics background and technical skills on data mining and analytics. He is currently working for Boston Area Research Initiative to make the public business license data set more useful to research. Lautaro holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Universidad Nacional de La Plata. 

Board of Directors

Jack Connors

The Connors Family Office

Joseph E. Corcoran

Chairman Emeritus, Corcoran Jennison Companies

Dharshi Dupee

Treasurer, Corcoran Jennison Companies

Heidi Glunz

Director of Public Affairs, McDonald’s Corporation

Rickie Golden

President, JECSP

John Mostyn

General Counsel, Corcoran Jennison Companies

Charlayne Murrell-Smith

Vice President, Boston Children’s Museum

Bill Walczak

CEO, South End Community Health Center