Dr. Bobby Austin, President
Dr. Bobby Austin is an award-winning author, an editor, an educator, and a former foundation president. He was founding editor of the Urban League Review and served as host of a national internet radio program, American Voices. As the director of the National Taskforce on African American Men and Boys funded by the Kellogg Foundation, he co-authored and edited the “ground breaking” report Repairing the Breach. Dr. Austin held the General Hal G. Moore Chair on Contemplative Leadership at the Merton Institute and is recognized for his work in American Culture and Public Kinship. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Social and Political Science and is listed in History Makers. Dr. Austin received his education at McMaster University (Canada), Fisk University, and Western Kentucky University. He earned a diploma in Education Management from Harvard University.
Gloria Cousar, Executive Director
Ms. Cousar holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and Urban Planning from Princeton University and has an extensive career in the field of housing, holistic community-building, and neighborhood revitalization. Her executive experience is rooted in the public sector as a former administrator of multiple housing programs for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in the private sector as a consultant, entrepreneur, and CEO. In the nation’s capital, Ms. Cousar organized and directed a tri-state mutual housing association of affordable cooperatives and condominiums. She has worked with housing authorities of all sizes, community development agencies, philanthropic foundations, private housing sponsors, advocacy networks and multiple community groups. Currently, Ms. Cousar serves on the corporate board of the National Alliance for Resident Services in Affordable and Assisted Housing (NARSAAH), and is a member of the CDFE Advisory Board for the Telesis Corporation.
Phillip Peters, Director of Engagement
Phillip Peters serves as Director of Engagement for Neighborhood Associates. He created and operates the DC Bonner Fellowship Program, recruiting university students for research and programmatic fellowship positions. Mr. Peters maintains relationships with university departments, faculty, student groups, and individuals that expand and sustain the work of Neighborhood Associates projects. Additionally, he creates and maintains relationships with national and local partners for achieving systemic community change. Previously, he worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Newark, New Jersey, and operated the Bonner Fellowship Program to expand opportunities for fresh foods and food access, to work for fairness in our justice system and in our immigration policies, to bring together non-profits and universities to address systemic issues, and to build up the capacity of the PolicyOptions website.
Afnan Rashid, Director of Community Research and Social Policy Development
Afnan Rashid comes to us from a joint AmeriCorps VISTA Program between the Bonner Foundation and NJ Campus Compact where he served as Program Manager. The program supported building the capacity of city-wide coalitions with varied anti-poverty missions including access to care, college access, and youth development. Prior to Afnan’s three years at the Bonner Foundation, Mr. Rashid worked for a progressive Detroit congressman, Kaplan Test Prep, and interned at the Grameen Bank. Mr. Rashid graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in economics.
Benny Docter, Data Analyst
Mr. Docter graduated from Wesleyan University in 2014 with a double major in Economics and Social Studies. Before joining the team, he worked as a high school geometry teacher in West Baltimore, and before that he grew up on a community-supported organic farm in Western Massachusetts. As a Data analyst, Mr. Docter analyzes demographic changes within our communities and measures the scope and impact of our programming. In addition, he manages such data-focused aspects of NAC’s work as voter outreach, resident surveys, and determinations of eligibility for new programs. While always happy to get into small arguments over ideological or policy details, he is most passionate about learning new things, working for social justice, and cooking great food.
Alexander Bain, Executive Assistant to the President
Alex Bain brings to NAC almost 20 years of experience in the higher education and public humanities sectors as a professor, researcher, writer, and advocate for the centrality of culture and the arts to civic engagement and to the building of a resilient public sphere in American life. Prior to joining NAC, Dr. Bain served as a strategic planning consultant and program manager for HumanitiesDC, the National Endowment for the Humanities affiliate for the nation’s capital. Before that, he was a professor of 20th-century literature and culture at major state universities in Oklahoma, California, and New Jersey. Dr. Bain received a PhD in English from Rutgers University in 2004.
Board of Directors
Ronald Grzywinski is a community development banker and one of four founders of ShoreBank. He retired as chair of ShoreBank Corporation in 2010 and became advisor to its Board of Directors. Mr. Grzywinski assisted with the establishment the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and the Southern Development Bank Corporation in rural Arkansas. In 2007, he helped launch ShoreBank Pacific, the nation’s first bank formed to support environmentally sustainable development.
Robert Hackett has been President of the Bonner Foundation since 2010. Previously, he served as managing director of the Campus Outreach Opportunity league during its first three years of operation. Mr. Hackett has also worked with Telesis Corporation and the Youth Policy Institute, both in Washington, DC.
Virginia Harrison is a native of Camden, South Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland. She is a writer and has authored several books, biographies, and histories. Ms. Harrison has served as a board member for the District of Columbia Council of Humanities for over a decade.
Marilyn Melkonian is the President and founder of Telesis Corporation, which plans, finances, and builds urban communities. She also founded of the National Housing Trust and Neighborhood Associates Corporation, two Washington, DC-based organizations, and currently serves as Chair on both of their boards. Ms. Melkonian is a board member of Common Cause and the Brookings Institute’s Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy. She is a former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris.
- Barclay, Baltimore, MD
- Bass Circle, Washington, DC
- Bradenton Village, Bradenton, FL
- Buckingham Gardens, Arlington, VA
- Carver Terrace, Washington, DC
- City View Park, Louisville, KY
- East Hills, Pittsburgh, PA
- Jervay Place, Wilmington, NC
- Paradise at Parkside, Washington, DC
- Thomas Paine, San Francisco, CA