Communities Together Inc is CORES certified!  According to Stewards for Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), “the Certified Organization for Resident Engagement & Services (CORES) Certification recognizes organizations that have developed a robust commitment, capacity, and competency in providing resident services coordination in affordable rental homes. The CORES Certification is inclusive of family, senior and supportive housing communities. The CORES Certification recognizes Communities Together Inc’s investment in and development of the tools necessary to implement a robust system of resident services coordination under the Third Party model.”  The SAHF team works with organizations to identify and promote best practices in the field of community and resident engagement. A panel of anonymous peers from the resident services sector makes the final determination to award certification. 


Communities Together Inc —

our history:

Communities Together Inc (CTI) was formed as a non-profit 501c3 in 2017 to carry forward and build upon the resident service programs developed and implemented by AHD Management and Residential One over the preceding 20 years.

The owners of AHD, Inc (Affordable Housing Developers) www.ahd1.com have long realized that affordable housing is about more than just building units and the need to focus on building strong communities. Typical of affordable housing portfolios utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), the AHD Inc portfolio consisting of 20 projects with over 3,000 units in Maryland, DC and Virginia was required to provide a “resident Services plan” in order to receive tax credits and financing.  In order to implement the plans, a budget was provided from operations for each property to pay for resident services and activities. A resident services coordinator was hired by the management company to coordinate the work in concert with the resident manager at each property.

Over the years, this model has served the residents of the AHD portfolio well. With limited staff and resources, we learned to partner with other service providers to leverage our efforts. The senior properties focused on social activities, health and wellness. The family properties have offered a wide variety of programs tailored to the make-up of the residents, including family oriented social activities, afterschool enrichment, and adult education.

Among the many lessons learned, the most important was the need to have the resident’s engagement in developing and implementing programs. We have found that a bottom up approach with input and involvement of the residents is always more successful than a top down delivery of service. This was the basis for our official change of direction in 2012 from “resident services” to “resident engagement” and the basis for our work at CTI.

Communities Together Inc was formed to bring this work to the next level and to build a model actively engaging residents to improving their communities, that we can bring to other low- and moderate-income communities. CTI will allow us to leverage our resources by partnering with other service providers, foundations, lenders, investors and others active in the affordable housing industry.

Our Core values:

  • The success of society as a whole depends on fairness and equal opportunity
  • All people have a right to live in healthy, holistic communities
  • Providing opportunities and tools to remove barriers and empower
    people in achieving their full potential
  • When people are comfortable in their homes they will engage in
    and contribute to their communities

Our Approach:

We aim to actively engage the residents of affordable housing communities in providing activities and services that enrich their lives by promoting wellness, opportunities for continued education and increasing civic pride. We intend to develop model programs that can be applied to both affordable family and senior housing communities by continuously monitoring and measuring the success of our programs, services and activities.

Our Story:

Communities Together, Inc. is a joint effort by a group of real estate professionals including developers, architects, builder, property managers and lenders along with community organizers, social workers, musicians, artists and tutors who share a firm belief in the power of community. As long-term members of a team responsible for design, development, financing and management of affordable housing, we have come to realize that the success of our collective work is not measured by counting units of housing built but rather by the strength of the communities we have created. Community is the launching pad for success. Low and moderate residents can leverage scarce resources by networking and sharing information and material.We actively engage the residents in determining the type of activities and services required at each site. CTI works with the site management staff and the residents for the delivery of desired activities and services. The “resident engagement” model promotes resident buy-in and constructive participation in the community.

Board of Directors:

Donald E. Tucker AIA, LEED, AP

CTI President & Founder

A real estate developer and registered architect, Don Tucker is a recognized expert in the programming, design, and development of multi-family, elderly and special user housing, and he has an extensive portfolio of successful projects. With more than forty years of design and development experience, Mr. Tucker has been responsible for numerous projects, from small group homes for seniors to large multi-family residential complexes. As both an architect and as a developer, he has consistently focused on affordability, sustainability, and meeting resident needs.

Mr. Tucker is the president of AHD (Affordable Housing Developers), Inc. Since its founding in 1986 AHD has been responsible for development of more than five thousand affordable rental units in the Washington, DC market area. AHD is known for its focus on community building and resident services. Mr. Tucker is also president of Eco Housing Corporation, a national leader in the development of Cohousing communities and a principal of the award-winning EDG (Environmental Design Group) Architects, LLC, a full-service architectural firm known for creative, user-driven, sustainable design.  In addition, Mr. Tucker has taught architecture at Temple University, lectured at numerous conferences, and written published articles on affordable housing, senior housing, and cohousing.He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of New Mexico in 1968 and was subsequently awarded a fellowship in urban design at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Master of Architecture degree in 1970.

Anthony Waddell

Vice President of the CTI Board of Directors

Anthony L. Waddell is the Owner and Principal of New Urban Equities, LLC (NUE).  He is a housing industry veteran who over his career has worked as both a financier and developer of affordable and mixed-income multifamily housing. Most recently, prior to transitioning to NUE and the C.A. Harrison Companies, for which he is now the principal development consultant, Mr. Waddell served as the Vice President of Real Estate Development Mid-Atlantic for the Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH).  All told, Mr. Waddell has nearly twenty (20) years of experience in executing complex mixed-use, mixed-income, mixed-financed urban development projects as both a lender and developer.
While at POAH, Mr. Waddell oversaw POAH’s development activity in the mid-Atlantic region, focusing on opportunities in key markets from Pennsylvania to North Carolina – including the $500 million redevelopment of the Barry Farm Public housing complex which recently began construction of the first phase of public infrastructure and is expected to start vertical construction in the summer of 2021.

Prior to joining POAH, Mr. Waddell was DC Housing Finance Agency’s Director of Public Finance.  In that position, Mr. Waddell was the chief underwriter and manager of the DCHFA’s Multifamily Mortgage Revenue Bond Program. During his tenure, Mr. Waddell and his team financed nearly $1.9 billion in affordable / mixed-income housing in the District of Columbia.  During the economic downturn that stared in 2008, Mr. Waddell was instrumental in creating the short-term collateralized bond structure (FHA/Ginnie Mae structure) that is widely used today to manage the impact of negative arbitrage on tax exempt bond transactions and take advantage of low taxable debt rates; closing the first such transaction in 2009 during the height of the financial crisis as part of the New Issue Bond program.

In the private sector while with Urban Atlantic headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Mr. Waddell led two transformative HOPE VI joint venture projects: Albemarle Square in Baltimore, MD and Capitol Quarter in Washington, DC.  The two projects together consisted of the development of over 2,100 units of mixed income for sale and rental housing and over 800,000 square feet of office/retail/community space.  During his five (5) year stay with Mid-City, Mr. Waddell managed over $700 million worth of development activity.

Throughout his career as both a financier and developer, Mr. Waddell has had formed relationships at almost every unit of government in markets where he has worked and with federal agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Deal structuring and management; and working through the complexities of public-private partnerships and joint ventures are strengths.
Mr. Waddell is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, where he earned a Master of Science Degree in Real Estate with a concentration in Institutional Investment and Development.

Michael L. Seltz

Treasurer, CTI Board of Directors

 Michael Seltz currently works as a housing development consultant. He works under contract to St. Mary’s Housing Development corporation, where he supervises a 223f refinance currently underway in Fredericksburg, Maryland, and under contract to Volunteers of America (VOA), where he manages several Low-Income Housing Tax-Credit funded (LIHTC) projects, including projects in California, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Alaska, and New Jersey.

He served as the Director of Real Estate Development for VOA from 2004-2006, and as their Vice President of Housing Development from 2006-2015. In these roles, he supervised project and development managers across the nation, and he also managed acquisitions, renovations, and refinances for LIHTC projects. Before joining VOA, Mr. Seltz worked as an independent project manager and real-estate developer; he participated in the development of a variety of senior and multifamily housing projects in the DC metro area. Prior to his work in development, Mr. Seltz worked in architectural and interior design. After serving in the US Army in Vietnam, Mr. Seltz worked at Skidmore, Owings & Merill, where he rose to Associate Partner. He subsequently founded Oldham & Seltz, a commercial architectural and interior design firm which designed $475 million in built construction over the course of twelve years.

Mr. Seltz received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brandeis University in 1965, and a Master of City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1967.

Donna P. Thurmond

Secretary of the CTI Board of Directors

Donna Thurmond has worked in the field of aging services for over 30 years and currently serves as the Vice President of Resident Services and Programs at Volunteers of America’s national office. She has developed and implemented a wide array of programs and services, including health promotion and disease prevention initiatives for seniors living in subsidized housing. Donna provides national oversight for a multi-million dollar service coordinator program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her efforts have resulted in implementing 135 service coordinator programs in 158 subsidized housing facilities. Donna, also serves as the Treasurer on the American Association of Service Coordinator national board.

Donna is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and received her Bachelors of Art and Master of Arts degree in sociology with a specialization in gerontology.

Astrid Jimenez, Esq.,

Member of the CTI Board of Directors

The Executive Director of Nueva Vida, Ms. Jimenez has vast professional experience, having worked not only in the non-profit sector, but also in the federal legislative and executive branches of government. Her legal experience includes working at international organizations and tribunals.Ms. Jimenez has vast professional experience, having worked not only in the non-profit sector, but also in the federal legislative and executive branches of government. Her legal experience includes working at international organizations and tribunals. As a Chief of Staff to a Member of Congress she was actively involved in health care policy and brings to Nueva Vida the passion to improve and empower the lives of all Latina women particularly in the health arena. She holds a BS in Foreign Science, a J.D. and a Master of Laws in International Law (LLM).

Scott Willis

Member of the CTI Board of Directors

Scott Willis is the Chief Operating Officer of Manna Homes, which helps low- and moderate-income people acquire satisfactory housing. Through 2022, he was the East Region Vice President of Sales and Business Development for US Bank’s National Strategic Markets and Affordable Lending Team where he led the institutions all-channel home loan strategy, focused on expanding home ownership to LMI and Multi-Cultural consumers segments across an 18-state bank and mortgage footprint market.  Prior to joining US Bank, he served as a Senior Regional Community Development Manager with HSBC North America; leading the bank’s CRA strategy to exceed its LMI residential mortgage, small business lending, community and retail service, and community development loan and investment targets for 32 retail bank branches in the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and South Florida markets. Prior to joining HSBC, Scott worked in Regional Multi-Cultural and Affordable Lending positions with JP Morgan Chase Bank, First Horizon Home Loans, and AIG United Guaranty; directing business development, CRA, and Fair Lending execution strategies that increased retail lending to first time home buyers, ethnic–minority, and LMI consumer segments across a 17 state bank and mortgage footprint market. Scott completed a  B.A. degree in Public Administration from Kentucky State University (1990) as well as Masters’ degrees in Public Policy (1997) and Urban and Regional Planning (1998) from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Over the course of his banking and financial services career, he has been active in driving “high impact” volunteer engagement initiatives in collaboration with the Junior Achievement Metro Affiliates of Washington DC and South Florida, The Washington DC LISC Lender Advisory Council, The BEACON DC Women’s Founders Initiative, Venture Café Miami, the Greater Washington Urban League, NHS of South Florida, The Maryland Women’s Business Center, The Washington DC Metro Affiliates of the SBA’s Emerging Leader and SCORE Programs, as well as The Madame CJ Walker’s Legacy Foundation.

Board Members Emeritae/i and Advisors:

Shavon Bartley: property manager, Laurel Lakes Apartments, Residential One | AHD Management

Rosemary Pezzuto: (founding member) former secretary, CEO, Camp Fire Patuxent Area Council (MD, DC, VA)

Karon L. Phillips, Ph.D., MPH. CHES, CAPS: public health gerontologist and Scientific Reviewer (contractor) for the NIH Center for Scientific Review

Tony Ross: (founding member) President and Co-Founder, ResidentialOne, a real estate management company

PROGRAM STAFF:

Manpreet Bhogal

Program Manager

Manpreet K. Bhogal served as our Coordinator for an Ashburn, Virginia community with both a general population and people with developmental disabilities. Manpreet became an ABA Therapist in 2017 and has worked with children with Autism for several years. Previouslyshe was the Center Director/Manager for Stemtree in Ashburn, VA and has been a Programming Assistant at Ashby Ponds Loudoun for Erickson Senior Living. Earlier in her career, Manpreet was a Project Manager for the City of Perth Amboy in New Jersey and conducted the administrative duties for the City’s Redevelopment Agency. She also oversaw the CDBG/HOME funds for nonprofits throughout the City. She is also a certified Human Rights Consultant through the US Institute for Diplomacy and Human Rights (USIDHR) where she has served as the Grants and Corporate Fundraising Manager for 71 countries.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Rutgers University-Newark with honors.

Toni Crockett

Youth Development Coordinator

Toni Crockett proudly started her career with her roots in the great city of Philadelphia. She
earned her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Indiana University of
Pennsylvania. After college, she returned to her hometown and built a career working with
children. She has served in roles ranging from behavioral health as a Therapeutic Support Staff
Member to a position as a College and Career Readiness facilitator in community schools. She
transitioned to the D.C. area in 2021 and became a site director for Champions Before and After
School. She has worked with youth of all ages for more than eight years, and she has always
believed that we should nurture the potential of the children who are our future leaders,
healers, heroes, creatives, and more. Toni coordinates and leads youth development programs
for Communities Together at Hubbard Place in Washington, DC, a Somerset Development and
Habitat America community.

Jordon DaSilva-Martins

Community Engagement Coordinator

Since 2015, Jordon DaSilva-Martins has worked and volunteered with children and youth in various settings to promote healthy living through mentorship and to teach social-emotional learning skills. In the 2021-2022 school year, Jordon served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year, assigned to a high school English class in Washington, DC to provide academic and personal support. Determined to help bridge gaps between students and schools, Jordon has encouraged communication and togetherness. It is important to Jordon that she helps cultivate a creative, safe, and accepting environment. She is passionate about serving the community and helping others achieve their personal goals through support from others. In 2021, Jordon graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a specialization in Health and Society and a minor in Business Administration. She is excited to be part of the Communities Together team as an Community Engagement Coordinator responsible for family communities chiefly in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Lucia Dey

Community Engagement Coordinator for Special and General Populations

Lucia Dey is a highly skilled and dedicated human services professional with over 20 years of
experience as a Resident Family and Senior Services Coordinator.  She coordinates our services
for family communities in Virginia, one of which includes people with developmental
disabilities. Throughout her illustrious career, she has consistently demonstrated her passion
for providing exceptional support and enhancing the quality of life for residents within various
communities in Maryland and Virginia. Beyond Lucia's human services professional
achievements, she's mother to her special needs daughter and is the former CEO of BeServed
Senior Concierge Services. A published author, certified life coach, singer, and songwriter, Lucia
is known for her passion for helping others, integrity, empathy, and unwavering commitment to
making a positive impact in her community. Her genuine concern for others and her ability to
go above and beyond her duties have earned the respect and admiration of both residents and
colleagues alike.  Lucia studied Social Science at Northern Virginia Community College. She is a
licensed phlebotomy technician, having studied at the Virginia School of Nursing, and she holds
a Certificate in Gerontology from Highlands Community College.

John Goldsby

Community Engagement Coordinator for Seniors

John Goldsby brings us a blend of scholarship and career experience facilitating services based
on person-centered care models. Since 2011, his work has focused on ensuring that services
and support are in place to help people enjoy their lives based on their dreams, goals, and
aspirations. Starting as a direct care worker with Advocates, Inc. in Framingham, MA, and
culminating with program management duties with Specialized Housing Inc. in Brookline, MA,
putting empowerment theories into practice was his goal. He accomplished this by viewing the
world from a historical, social, political, and economic injustice lens based on the theories of
Bell Hooks, John Rawls, and Bryan Stevenson. John believes that “the brilliant social justice
writing of these people enables us to examine how our nation can correct historical wrongs.” In
2023, John received the Capstone Award in his master’s degree program for his policy analysis
paper on affordable housing for Black Bostonians. He is now putting his passion for income
equality to work for Communities Together Inc and the residents it serves. John earned his BA
in Philosophy and his Master of Science degree in Gerontology from the University of
Massachusetts Boston.

Kathryn Harris

Community Engagement Coordinator

Kathryn Harris is a Prince George’s County native who began her academic career in
Social Work in 2017. Her work started long before, however, as she has always had a
passion for serving diverse communities in a variety of settings. Kathryn’s academic
career and service have driven her goals. In high school, Kathryn participated in many
extracurricular activities such as student government and the National Honor Society. At
Bowie State University she was inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social
Work, where she is a lifetime member. She also served on the executive board for the
National Council for Negro Women where she was the Secretary. Both of these
organizations allowed her to produce many community service events on and off
campus. During her undergraduate career she interned at various nonprofit and for-
profit agencies and firms. After graduation with her Bachelors in Social Work in 2021,
she decided to pursue her Master of Social Work degree, which she earned in early
2023 from Morgan State University. At Communities Together, she coordinates our
service for several District of Columbia and Prince George’s County family communities.

Bryana Solano

Community Team Manager

Bryana Waleska Solano was born in Honduras and raised in the United States. She’s passionate about serving her community and giving back to those in need. Bryana has been working in the field of human services since 2013 and firmly believes that she’s an agent of change. She’s provided services for many families through non-profit organizations in New York, Connecticut, and the Pacific Northwest. Among other things, she has managed cases for children through a family guidance center and provided behavior modification counseling with children with two or more behavioral health diagnoses. She has also worked with undocumented, unaccompanied boys, counseling and teaching them new skills through therapy. She was very excited to begin her journey with Communities Together in 2021 and is focused on working with our families in Maryland’s Langley Park Corridor as our Community Engagement Coordinator. Bryana supervises our community engagement coordinators as well. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Antillean Adventist University in Puerto Rico.

Tom Vellenga

Executive Director

Tom brings us wide experience as a public servant. During the Clinton Administration, he was White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta’s advisor on national security, having served Panetta, Sen. Sarbanes, and others in Congress. Earlier, he managed USAID’s relations with Congress for its programs in Eurasia and Europe. Later, he advised Energy Secretary Federico Peña on environmental, health, and safety programs. In 1998, his family moved to St. Paul to raise their kids with their wider family. He led programs at the University of Minnesota and managed the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. In 2006, Tom founded Heartland Democracy and created an unprecedented program of civic self-empowerment for non-voters, captured in a TEDx Talk in 2011. In his last five years in the Twin Cities, Tom served as second-in-command of Carver County. In 2019, his family returned to Washington, DC to be close to his wife’s family and friends. He raised funds for the Biden-Harris campaign and consulted with Communities Together before joining our team as interim executive director in 2021. He holds a BA from Williams College and an MA in international economics and strategic studies from Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Interns:

Educational internships are available with Communities Together Inc. Past internships have included undergraduate and graduate level students from several universities.
Universities include:

University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work

Gallaudet University School of Social Work

Howard University School of Social Work

Washington Adventist University School of Nursing

University of Maryland Public Scholars

Salisbury University

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Bowie State University

If you are interested in an internship with Communities Together Inc please contact, manpreet@commtogether.org