American-Communities Trust (ACT) is a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization, founded in 2008, dedicated to improving social and economic conditions in low-income communities by partnering with neighborhood organizations, residents, businesses, institutional stakeholders and funders to strengthen programs and initiatives which support healthy, safe and prosperous communities.
ACT’s work is targeted primarily to organizations, projects and initiatives that address the following focus areas:
Education & workforce
ACT carries out its mission through a dynamic partnership model, where we seek to match a set of expertise and resources to the needs of local organizations. Each of our partners and projects are different, and so our role, involvement, and level of investment are different for each project.
Capacity BuildingHelping organizations gain the knowledge, resources, and expertise to develop programs and initiatives.
- Programmatic grants and PRI
Hands-on technical assistance
Strategic and programmatic planning assistance
Outreach assistance to foundations and lenders
Concept stage planning and visioning
Assistance in deal structuring/finance structuring
Connection with lenders, grant makers, and CDEs
Assistance developing evaluation instruments
Engagement to carry out evaluation and compliance reporting
Connection with other groups carrying out similar work
Convening national leaders
Connecting organizations and individuals
Hosting and participating in conferences, meetings, and other events
StaffGregory Heller, Interim President/CEO
Greg serves as Interim President & CEO of American Communities Trust (ACT), where he oversees the organization’s national work as a leverage partner in social impact real-estate projects.Greg has significant experience working on food system planning, and the development of food economy projects including food hubs and kitchen incubators. Prior to his work with ACT, Greg was a Senior Advisor with Econsult Solutions, a Philadelphia-based market research and economics consulting firm, where his work included a feasibility study for a kitchen incubator in Cincinnati, analysis of Detroit’s food system, a study of anchor institution procurement in Philadelphia, and a national state-of-the-industry report on kitchen incubators and food business acceleration. From 2009-2012 Greg was Director of the Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation, where he managed the development of the Center for Culinary Enterprises, a 13,000 sf kitchen incubator in Philadelphia. Greg has also worked as a planner at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and Director of Planning at Parkside Historic Preservation Corporation. Greg holds a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT).
Yaroslav Kovaliv, Director of Real Estate Finance
Yaroslav serves as ACT’s Director of Real Estate Finance, responsible for all budgeting, deal structuring, and financial analysis activities. Prior to his work with ACT, Yaroslav worked as Accounting Manager at The Enterprise Center, where he oversaw all financial activities of three affiliated non-profit economic development organizations, and managed over $4MM in revenues and $10MM in assets including a $1MM micro loan portfolio. Previously he worked as Assistant Real Estate Appraiser with Gail S. Kerzner Certified R.E. A., where he conducted research of market area and comparable home sales in Philadelphia. Yaroslav holds a degree in Finance and International Business from Drexel University College of Business and Administration.
Lucy Struever, Chief Financial Officer
Lucy serves as ACT's CFO and handles ACT's paperwork, payroll, and invoicing. Prior to her work at ACT, she ran her own nonprofit dance company for 5 years in New York. She also tutors people in the GMAT and GRE. She graduated with Honors in Economics from Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY).
K.Reni Lawal, Program Associate
Reni Lawal, a Baltimore native, comes to ACT with an undergraduate degree in Economics from Spelman College and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in City and Regional Planning at Morgan State University. Her non-profit experience began in 2011 when she joined Public Allies, and AmeriCorps program run out of the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Through the program she worked at the Central Baltimore Partnership as a Community Asset Builder where she worked to build the capacity of neighborhood organizations and managed small projects.
Michael Kaurich, Office and Project Manager
Mike serves as one of ACT's Office and Project Manager. He brings four years experience in program management, information technology, marketing, and development. He currently serves on the Board for the Baltimore Robotics Center, leads the local chapter of Living Liberally, and works for neighborhood development. Mike holds a BS in Political Science and History from Grand Valley State University.
Board of Directors
Bill Struever, President & Founder - Partner,
Cross Street Partners
Cobber Eccles, Treasurer - Partner, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse
Patrice Cromwell - Director of Maryland Civic Sites, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Ben Cirka - Principal, Community Hospitality Health Services CDE
McNulty - President & CEO, Partners for Livable
John Leith-Tetrault - President, National Trust Community Investment Corporation
Richard Baron - Board President, Urban Strategies
Paul Brophy - Partner, Brophy & Reilly
Jess Daniel - President, Food Lab Detroit
James Johnson-Piett - CEO, Urbane Development
Haile Johston - Co-Founder of the Common Market
Sarah Landon - Chair, Greater Homewood Community Corporation
Thaddeus Squire - Founder, Culture Works Greater Philadelphia
Lee Huang - Senior Vice President & Partner, Econsult Solutions