2017 Awardees

Excellence in the Public Sector: Alana Green

Congratulations to Alana Green, Executive Director of the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration, winner of our 2017 Award for Excellence in the Public Sector!


CBN’s Award for Excellence in the Public Sector recognizes an individual, government or quasi-government department/agency, or tax-supported entity that:

  • Develops or protects policy that supports investment in communities.

  • Demonstrates innovative use of resources for community improvement.

  • Is proactive, persistent, professional and efficient in finding ways to support community building initiatives.

Alana Green has a demanding job as the Executive Director of the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration (CDA). She manages a staff of 30 professionals who are responsible for the implementation and evaluation of approximately $20 million in federally funded programs. While working full-time, Alana earned a Juris Doctor degree from the St. Louis University School of Law, with a concentration in Urban Development, Land Use and Environmental Law. She is a graduate of the CORO Women in Leadership program and a recipient of an award from the Clinical Legal Education Association for her outstanding work in the SLU Law Legal Clinic. Alana’s persistent and professional work at CDA has increased the level of trust between community-based organizations and city government. Alana has always been open to collaborating with community-based organizations and soliciting their input, while also striving toward the highest level of professionalism for CDA.

While the process of receiving block grant funding continues to be difficult, Alana has been updating, streamlining, and improving the process since day one, endeavoring to make the grants based on community need, not political pressure. She was a key player in the successful $29.5 million Choice Neighborhoods grant and has also worked to identify Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas that will bring a new level of strategic investment in low-income communities from the City and the agencies it funds.

Excellence in the Business Sector: Michele Duffe

Congratulations to Michele Duffe, Partner at ND Consulting Group, winner of our 2017 Award for Excellence in the Business Sector!

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CBN’s Award for Excellence in the Business Sector recognizes an individual or business that:

  • Acts as an anchor institution for communities through investment, by providing employment, or by remaining committed to staying in communities that need economic activity.

  • Involves employees in community service with community partners.

  • Provides economic growth to the region and locates in neighborhoods with revitalization plans, providing employment and drawing capital into communities.

  • Provides funding for community building nonprofits.

Michele Duffe, Partner at ND Consulting Group and Principal of ND&S Management, is a community business leader and anchor for North St. Louis’ Hyde Park neighborhood through her work in mixed-income real estate development, quality housing management, and social service provision. Michele has extensive expertise with housing creation and redevelopment, including a former role as Executive Director for the City of St. Louis’ Land Reutilization Authority, the nation’s first city-run land bank. In 2001, Michele helped form the ND&S Management company and partnered with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Hyde Park to develop new housing for the first time in decades under the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program. Thanks to her dedication, low-income tenants have the opportunity to purchase their own homes. Additionally, Michele commits to employing residents from within the local community to manage the development and build a stronger sense of community.

After seeing a need to connect tenants with social services to ensure success for their families, Michele supported the creation of LinkStL (pronounced ‘links’). LinkStL, a community-based nonprofit representing the entire Hyde Park community, has achieved great successes as a community organizing model and has given hope and pride to the long-struggling neighborhood. Thanks to Michele’s leadership and vision in the business realm, sustainable and varied economic and social opportunities now exist in Hyde Park.

Excellence in Resident Leadership: Rosie Willis

Congratulations to Rosie Willis of the JeffVanderLou neighborhood, winner of our 2017 Award for Excellence in Resident Leadership!

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CBN’s Award for Excellence in the Resident Leadership recognizes a resident who:

  • Has shown incredible volunteerism and involvement in their community and/or community initiatives.

  • Goes above and beyond normal resident action to sit on boards, head committees, or encourage the engagement of other residents.

  • Lives in a CBN member footprint.

Rosie Willis is the leader of the JeffVanderLou neighborhood’s Fresh Starts Community Garden in North St. Louis City. In 2009, Ms. Willis led the charge to transform a vacant weed- and trash-covered city lot into a source of beauty and fresh, organic produce for the neighborhood. She rallied fellow residents to help build the garden on a shoestring as they struggled to find sources for funding, gardening tools, seeds, lumber for raised beds, and water to irrigate plants. Eventually, Ms. Willis applied for and received a small grant from Operation Bright Side, which allowed her to buy gardening tools, flower bulbs, and discounted cut lumber from a local company. As the group gained momentum, local Alderwoman Marlene Davis approved funding to expand the garden across another six lots.

Today, space that was once covered with trash, weeds, tall grass, and drug needles is the Fresh Starts Community Garden, where Ms. Willis continues to work tirelessly to bring fresh vegetables to fellow neighbors. The JeffVanderLou neighborhood is a recognized food desert, and the garden provides access to healthy food for many area low-income families. Fresh Starts has also helped to build relationships among residents and other stakeholders as they spend time gardening together, and was recently named Best Community Hang-Out Garden by Gateway Greening. Since there is always work to be done in the garden, it has also been a source of youth employment opportunities for the past several years. An annual Fresh Starts Candlelight Dinner event each summer brings together neighbors and guests to share special dishes, live music, and conversation.

Excellence in the Faith-Based Community: Revitalization 2000

Congratulations to Revitalization 2000, winner of our 2017 Award for Excellence in the Faith-Based Community!


CBN’s Award for Excellence in the Faith-Based Community recognizes an individual or institution that:

  • Is community oriented.

  • Deploys both human and financial resources to bear on neighborhood issues, policy change, or social justice issues.

  • Demonstrates a willingness to collaborate with community partners.

Revitalization 2000 (R2K) is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the residents and revitalization of the Ville neighborhood in North St. Louis City. It operates programs and leads projects that build relationships between residents and non-resident volunteers. It also serves as the backbone for the Ville Collaborative, an association of organizations in the community that work together on education, beautification, neighborhood safety, and other collective initiatives. R2K emerged from St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Parish in the Ville when it was founded in 1998 and collaborates extensively with other churches and faith-based organizations in the neighborhood.

R2K has joined with community partners to make a positive impact on the Ville through a variety of programs. It has been a leader behind several community gardens that help to beautify the neighborhood, provide residents with nutritious food, create visible change, and fortify community ties. The Claver Works youth jobs and savings program provides participants with earned income opportunities and experience in lawn and garden landscaping. R2K helps to organize the neighborhood’s annual back-to-school block party and also runs Claver House, a service-based residence community for young people making an extended volunteer commitment in the Ville. Most recently, in collaboration with a number of community partners, R2K is working to launch a new initiative that will provide hands-on educational opportunities to children living in the neighborhood. R2K is dedicated to “connecting the dots” across organizations by creating a culture of collaboration that is also grounded in their faith-based tradition.

Outstanding Achievement in Community Building: Kathy Sorkin

Congratulations to Kathy Sorkin, Vice President and Business Development Director of Rosemann & Associates, winner of our 2017 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Building!


CBN’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Building recognizes an individual who:

  • Demonstrates a long standing commitment to the community building sector.

  • Exhibits leadership, vision, and a commitment to action and results.

  • Has achieved an outstanding impact on community building policy, investment, or community change.

Kathy Sorkin is the Vice President and Business Development Director of Rosemann & Associates. Her role includes business development, client relations, and civic and government affairs. A native of St. Louis, Kathy began her career in New York City, where she served as Coordinator of the Mayor’s Urban Action Task Force and Director of Operations for the Association of Neighborhood Housing Developers. Kathy returned to St. Louis to work on housing development initiatives with non-profit community based developers and served on the St. Louis Community Development Agency’s Board of Commissioners. After being appointed Vice President of the St. Louis Equity Fund, she worked extensively with corporate investors, non-profit and for-profit developers, architects, attorneys, and general contractors throughout the region on complex community development projects, utilizing an array of tax credit and public financing programs. Later, as Chief Operating Officer of E.M. Harris Construction Company and Chief Executive Officer of Capital Consultants, Kathy worked on some of the region’s most challenging projects and built successful collaborations between financial partners and elected officials in these public/private partnerships. She continues to be engaged with the community on a personal and professional level, advocating tirelessly for affordable housing and community development policy.

Kathy’s current role at Rosemann & Associates only frames her long-standing commitment to and engagement in the community building sector. For over fifteen years, she served as President and Board member for Habitat for Humanity, St. Louis. She is also an Executive Committee and Board Member with the Missouri Growth Association and has played a formative role in the current formation and ongoing expansion of the Missouri Workforce Housing Association. Kathy’s willingness to build relationships across sectors and her passion for community development establish her as a leader and agent of change within the field.

Excellence in Philanthropy: Missouri Foundation for Health

Congratulations to Missouri Foundation for Health, winner of our 2017 Award for Excellence in Philanthropy!

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CBN’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy recognizes an individual or organization that:

  • Supports community building by bringing investment and resources to places’ human or physical dimensions.

  • Supports long-term commitments to neighborhoods.

  • Demonstrates creative thinking in how to support communities and gets involved beyond traditional grant giving.

  • Provides operational funding to community building nonprofits.

Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) is an independent philanthropic foundation that works with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. The Foundation takes a multifaceted approach to health issues and understands that programs, policy, and collaboration all play a role in creating lasting impact.

In 2015, MFH partnered with DeSales Community Development to pilot the Neighborhood 360˚ Health Initiative, a neighborhood-based project seeking to foster livable neighborhoods along the South Jefferson Avenue corridor in St. Louis. Through this initiative, MFH supports investment in both the built environment and the community’s residents. The DeSales Community Garden provides a source of nutritious food, healthy outdoor activity, and social support through group classes and gardening comradery. SouthSide Sports, a low-cost youth sports league, provides physical activity for kids and much-needed community investment in a formerly underutilized city park. Health Leads connects residents with a Community Health Worker (CHW), who assists in health care navigation, patient advocacy, and health education. Though not quite half complete, the Neighborhood 360˚ initiative has already seen impressive results.

MFH’s decision to entrust the implementation of this grant to DeSales Community Development (which has been serving the Fox Park and Tower Grove East neighborhoods since 1976) and its partners demonstrates a strong commitment to local neighborhoods. By trusting long-standing community organizations to pilot programs that are innovative, collaborative, and responsive to changing needs, MFH has proven to be a supportive partner in local efforts to build whole communities.

Excellence in Lending: Justine PETERSEN

Congratulations to Justine PETERSEN, winner of our 2017 Award for Excellence in Lending!

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CBN’s Award for Excellence in Lending recognizes an individual or an organization that:

  • Gets involved beyond traditional lending in community building activities and is creative in how they support community building.

  • Provides direct support to community building organizations.

  • Has a strong community presence.

  • Demonstrates a deep understanding of the sector and a willingness to accept more risk.

Justine PETERSEN is a nonprofit organization that connects institutional resources with the needs of low- to moderate-income families and individuals so they can build long-term assets and create enduring change. Their team gives people opportunities to create new futures for themselves and their families by helping them become and stay homeowners, launch and run successful businesses, access education, and start and manage personal savings programs. Justine PETERSEN also supports small businesses through funding and technical assistance.

Last year, Justine PETERSEN closed $11 million in over 863 microloans, closed 456 credit-building loans, supported 2.7 jobs for every business assisted, and helped 12 percent of clients move up from the low-income bracket after receiving services from Justine PETERSEN. Justine PETERSEN’s passion for promoting change through financial support and products make them a great advocate for the St. Louis community.

Excellence in Community Building: Lemay Housing Partnership

Congratulations to Lemay Housing Partnership, winner of our 2017 Award for Excellence in Community Building!

Reginald Scott, Executive Director of Lemay Housing Partnership, Inc.

Reginald Scott, Executive Director of Lemay Housing Partnership, Inc.

CBN’s Award for Excellence in Community Building recognizes a CBN member who:

  • Demonstrates excellence in multi-year, place-based, collaborative, comprehensive community building based on strong community engagement.

  • Uses data and evaluation to achieve maximum impact in their efforts.

  • Is a full CBN member.

Lemay Housing Partnership (LHP) has served the Lemay community in St. Louis County since 1998. As a certified Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) and U.S. Housing Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-Certified Housing Counseling Agency, LHP provides homebuyer training and counseling, home repair financial assistance through forgivable loans, and downpayment and closing cost assistance as a participant in St. Louis County’s HOME Consortium First Home Program. LHP has also spearheaded the development of more than fifty new construction and moderately rehabbed homes and the demolition of derelict and vacant properties.

LHP has set an impressive standard for community building in Lemay. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors, at least one-third of which is comprised of low-income or Lemay residents at all times. As LHP works to revitalize Lemay, it follows a community plan based on extensive community engagement, pursuing projects and programs as part of a comprehensive vision for the community. Since Lemay (as a Census Designated Place) does not have its own municipal government, LHP—along with Lemay Development Corporation—serves as a trusted partner in representing the interests of area residents and businesses. With the help of the St. Louis County Economic Partnership and many other partners, LHP has played a crucial role in stabilizing the Lemay community.