HCCI Welcomes Three New Members

Distinguished Local Professionals Will Guide HCCI in Expanding to New Cities to Create Equity Opportunities and Affordable Housing

By Dr. Joan O. Dawson, HCCI Board Chairman

The Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI) Board of Directors welcomed three new members, expanding its capabilities to guide the organization and maximize its impact in New York City’s Harlem community and offer services in Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; and Seattle, WA. The Board’s video response to COVID-19 can be accessed at https://www.hcci.org/coronavirus.

Dr. Joan O. Dawson, HCCI board chairperson said, “We are delighted to welcome these esteemed individuals to our board. During this challenging time, we are happy to strengthen the Board with new members who can provide complementary skills, expertise, and experience that will position HCCI to maintain and expand on its mission in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.”

Malcolm A. Punter, Ed.D., president and CEO stated, “These new additions to the Board bring the exact expertise needed to help guide our new initiatives in Atlanta, Baltimore, Seattle, and beyond. During this difficult time, it is important for HCCI to share its community-building strategies with other urban centers around the country that also grapple with inequities that present as little to no equity, poor quality housing, and residents who need empowerment strategies to rebuild their lives.”

Founded in 1986, HCCI a not-for-profit, 501(c) (3) corporation is a coalition of inter-faith congregations that has implemented a comprehensive portfolio of programs to provide affordable housing and safe streets; offer opportunities for individuals and groups to become and remain economically independent; increase understanding of and access to health care; and provide substantive educational programs for adults and young people.

The new members of HCCI’s board are:

Debra Washington
Community Outreach Relationship Manager for First Republic Bank Debra Washington has over 20 years of banking and leadership experience, primarily in the field of nonprofits and affordable housing. Debra earned her MBA from Metropolitan College of New York and attended Harvard University’s Leadership Professional Development Program. As a member of the National Black MBA Association, Debra is a champion of financial literacy and the underserved, reaching out to communities traditionally left out of homeownership

Deacon Rodney A. Beckford
His experience as a diverse professional and social matrix spans over 48 years in business combined with extensive urban community involvement. Beginning as an office boy for the Wall Street law firm Patterson, Belknap & Webb at age 16, Beckford moved through the ranks to hold positions as an advertising executive, associate director of nutrition, executive chief steward at the United Nations, and the northeast regional manager at an international beverage company, Vitality Inc., a division of Nestle Inc. Simultaneously, Deacon Beckford served in numerous capacities for many community organizations.

Rev. Dr. Kimberly K. Holmes, Esq.
An experienced attorney and prosecutor, Dr. Kimberly Holmes served as a municipal prosecutor in East Orange and assistant prosecutor/section chief of the Bias Crimes and Community Relations Unit of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. She was a member of legal counsel for the State Commission of Investigation. She also served as chief of staff for the Division of Rate Counsel for 12 years and as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Newark specializing in Employment Law and Labor Relations Matters. In September 2010, she was appointed by the NJ State Supreme Court as an attorney member to the Fee Arbitration Committee. In 2012, the Chief Justice of the Court appointed Dr. Holmes as chair of District 5A for Essex County, NJ where she served until 2014. Kimberly also serves as an attorney member of the State Supreme Court Ethics Committee.