Tag Archives: Raza Development Fund


Valley Leadership honors Man & Woman of the Year

Valley Leadership announced Tommy Espinoza and Judy Shannon as the organization’s 2014 Man & Woman of the Year. The pair will be honored for their long-term contributions and commitment to our community at the 66th Annual Man & Woman of the Year awards luncheon in March 2015.

A native of Phoenix, Espinoza has demonstrated long-term, proactive community leadership in the Valley throughout his distinguished career.  During his 10-year tenure as president & CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa, Espinoza transformed the organization from a community activist organization to a community development corporation, setting it on a path to become one of the nation’s largest non-profits serving the Hispanic community. He has since duplicated this success in his work with the National Council of La Raza and the Raza Development Fund, where he currently serves as president and CEO.  Espinoza serves on numerous boards, including the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, the New America Alliance, the Phoenix Industrial Development Authority and the National Advisory Board of State Farm Bank. He has also served on the Arizona Board of Education, Greater Phoenix Leadership Council and the Governor of Arizona’s Interstate Banking Commission, as well as serving on the Mexican-American Advisory Council under President Jimmy Carter.

“His tireless work to grow business, public-sector and nonprofit organizations across our great state is a testament to the steadfast leadership and genuine dedication Tommy employs every day to engage individuals within the Hispanic community and beyond,” says U.S. Senator John McCain.

For more than 40 years, Shannon has been making a significant impact on the community as a fundraiser and erstwhile volunteer. She has been a key leader in several important fundraising efforts, including a $17 million capital campaign for the Heard Museum, where she also worked as director of Development and Community Affairs. She also led another successful multimillion-dollar capital campaign for the Ryan House, where she has served on its Board of Directors for a decade. Other current board service includes the Barrow Neurological Foundation Women’s Board, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives and The Board of Visitors. Shannon has also served on the boards of the Arizona Kidney Foundation, the Arizona State University Fine Arts Board and COMPAS and was the founder of the Madison Parent Teacher Organization. Shannon is also well-known for her ongoing 36-year commitment to the Junior League of Phoenix.

“In addition to Judy’s charming and persuasive ability to raise funds for various community causes, she has been a life-long volunteer and has made great contributions to better our community through her passion and compassion for others,” says Dr. Robert F. Spetzler, director of the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Espinoza and Shannon join a prestigious list of past Man & Woman of the Year award recipients.  U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater was honored as the inaugural Man of the Year and most recently Gary Trujillo and Ellie Ziegler were recognized as the 2013 recipients.

The newest inductees will be formally recognized at a luncheon on March 19, 2015, at the Arizona Biltmore. For more information or to purchase seats or sponsorships, call the Valley Leadership office at (602) 952-6760 or visit www.valleyleadership.org.

economic development - 8 honored

Phoenix IDA Names 2013 Board Officers

The Phoenix IDA, a prominent industrial development authority established in 1981 to assist economic and community impact enterprises, announces the election of its 2013 board officers.  Bruce Mosby is president of the board; Donald Keuth is vice-president; Tommy Espinoza is treasurer; and Christa Severns is secretary of the Phoenix IDA board for a one-year term that commenced in January 2013.

Mr. Mosby, who has served on the board of the Phoenix IDA since July 2010, is a recognized professional in the hospitality, retail and restaurant industries with expertise in corporate expansion, entrepreneurial enterprises and retail operations. He served as Phoenix IDA treasurer in 2012.

Mr. Keuth is president of the Phoenix Community Alliance, a nonprofit organization formed in 1983 to help create a dynamic and vital central city core. He has served on the board of directors for the Phoenix IDA since October 2003 and served as Assistant Secretary in 2012.

Tommy Espinoza is president and CEO of Raza Development Fund, Inc., the largest Latino Community Development Financial Institution in the U.S with total assets in excess of $100 million. He has served on the board of the Phoenix IDA since July 2006 and served as Assistant Treasurer in 2012.

Christa Severens is the owner of Christa Severns Communications, which specializes in strategic planning and implementation of public relations and public affairs campaigns. She was appointed to the Phoenix IDA board in November 2011.

Local Initiatives Support Corp. - AZRE Magazine September/October 2011

Local Initiatives Support Corp., Raza Development Fund Capitalize $20M Loan Fund

Cities along the light rail to benefit from $20M development loan fund, capitalized by Local Initiatives Support Corp. and the Raza Development Fund, to build affordable housing and other sustainable amenities.

Picture this:
You get on Metro light rail at your workplace in Phoenix and disembark in Mesa in front of your favorite organic grocery store. A shaded pedestrian path allows you to walk to your home on the 10th floor of a new apartment tower, which is populated by other working families. On the way you pick up your child at a local charter school.

There’s no car, no gas burned, no miles of driving on asphalt freeways.

Pipe dream? Perhaps not.

This type of urban development — denser, pedestrian-oriented, close to public transportation — may be more possible than you think.

A $20M loan fund for developers aiming to build affordable housing and other amenities along the Metro light rail line should spark activity in the Valley’s nascent urban development market.

Right now, says Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, that market is relatively immature and doesn’t have a critical mass of developers who are willing to risk financing urban projects.

Smith recently joined Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon — both of who have worked to promote transit-oriented development in their light rail cities — to tout the importance of the Sustainable Communities Development Fund.

Capitalized jointly by the Phoenix office of the Local Initiatives Support Corp. and the Raza Development Fund, the fund is expected to grow, hopefully reaching an eventual goal of $50M, says Shannon Scutari, who has been hired as a consultant by Local Initiatives Support Corp.

Scutari is coordinating efforts of the Sustainable Communities Working Group, a coalition of state, local, regional and non-profit organizations that are working to make equitable transit-oriented development a reality.

The coalition is a “signature effort,” Scutari says, a broad-based, intergovernmental, public/private partnership of people who share a goal: fostering sustainable, affordable urban neighborhoods near mass-transit corridors.

It’s new territory, far different than the development that spawned suburban sprawl, with far-flung housing developments connected not by a sense of community or shared-purpose, but by asphalt.

“This is not business as usual,” says Teresa Brice, director of Local Initiatives Support’s Arizona office, “This is something that will require (developers) to do something a little different than build three units per acre.”

Local Initiatives Support Corp. has hired a consultant to do a feasibility study to determine the affordable housing needs along the light rail line.

The study will attempt to determine the capital needs of the development community, assess what each jurisdiction will be able to bring to the table, and determine what the philanthropic sector can contribute.

Finally, Brice says the study will recommend how to structure the fund and create joint underwriting standards to govern it.

But, Brice and Scutari say they already are considering five or six proposals and may go ahead with one or more even if the study is not finished.

The fund will provide seed money or bridge funds that allow a developer to get started on a project.

Funding will not be limited to federal or local definitions of low-income housing. Coalition members will have discretion to examine each neighborhood to determine its needs, she says, whether that is affordable housing, a charter school, a community health center, or a small business.

A proposal submitted by developer Eric Brown seeks funding for a small apartment complex — perhaps nine to 12 units—at Fifth and Roosevelt streets.

Details are still in flux, but Brown says he envisions each unit costing between $600 to $950 a month in rent — well within reach of the commuters, ASU students and other downtown dwellers who use the light rail.

“There’s a lot of positive buzz about urban housing and living in the downtown right now,” says Brown, who is known for his urban developments Artisan Lofts, Artisan Village and Artisan Parkview by Chase Field.

“It takes some expertise — it’s not brain surgery but it does require a developer to understand how an urban person wants to live and what they will need,” Brown says.
And that is a process that is well underway, thanks to the light rail, Mesa’s Smith says.
“This could set the stage and create a foundation for private investors to come in and for the capital markets to adjust and recognize they should cut a check for the types of investment I think will pay off,” Smith says.

Currently the rail line extends only one mile into Mesa, ending just east of Dobson Road. But an extension is planned that will traverse downtown Mesa and end just east of Mesa Drive.

Then, Smith says Mesa hopes to spur the type of redevelopment that Tempe and Phoenix have witnessed along portions of the line. Hallman has credited the light rail for spurring $2.5B in redevelopment along Apache Boulevard.

“Individual projects in individual cities create a patchwork quilt of development,” Scutari says. “This is really a push for a regional policy approach” to development along the light rail. “This is the connective tissue for the corridor.”

For more information about the Local Initiatives Support Corp. and the Raza Development Fund, visit www.lisc.org or www.razafund.org.


AZRE Magazine September/October 2011