PHILADELPHIA – The Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) today announced the appointment of 13 new members to its Oversight Board. The Board represents the diversity of the city’s communities and the people CEO serves, including members from the public sector, private sector, and client sector.
The new members include: Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr., 4th District; Anne Fadullon, Director, Philadelphia Department of Planning and Development; Tonie Willis, Director, Ardella’s House; Steve Gardner, President and Executive Director, Clarifi; Reverend Danny Cortés, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, Esperanza; Bishop J. Louis Felton, Pastor, Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ; Loree D. Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Philabundance; James Crowder, Senior Associate, PolicyLink; Pedro Ramos, President and CEO, Philadelphia Foundation; Sidney R. Hargro, President, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia; Yocasta Lora, Associate State Director for Advocacy and Community Outreach, AARP Pennsylvania; Eric Westbrook, Director, Mayor’s Office of Black Male Engagement; and Harold T. Epps, Senior Advisor, Bellevue Strategies, and former Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Commerce.
The new members join six returning Board members: Maria Gonzalez, President, HACE; Eva Gladstein, Deputy Managing Director, Health and Human Services, City of Philadelphia; Leslie Benoliel, President and CEO, Entrepreneur Works; H. Patrick Clancy, Executive Director, Philadelphia Works, Inc.; Cathy Carr, Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Penn Law School; and Phil Lord, Executive Director, Tenants Union Representative Network.
“We are thrilled to welcome such a diverse, knowledgeable and passionate group of leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to improving outcomes for Philadelphians impacted by poverty,” said Mitchell Little, Executive Director of CEO. “They will provide excellent thought leadership and act as ambassadors of the work CEO is doing, while also sharing critical expertise and experience to inform and guide that work.”
Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr.
Currently in his third term, Councilmember Jones is the Chairman of the Committees on Public Safety, Commerce & Economic Development and Vice Chair for Parks and Recreation, and Cultural Affairs. A noted expert on community-based economic development, Councilmember Jones has served in various public and private sector positions for more than two decades.
Anne is the director of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). DPD works with communities to promote, plan, preserve, and develop successful neighborhoods for all. Anne has 30 years of development experience in both the private and public sectors.
Tonie is the founder and director of Ardella’s House. Ardella’s House is a service and advocacy organization committed to helping women with criminal justice histories realize new possibilities for themselves and their families. Prior to establishing Ardell’a House, Tonie spent more than 20 years in the music and travel industries.
Steve is President and Executive Director of Clarifi. As President and Executive Director, Steve oversees the implementation of agency programs and strategic planning to ensure that Clarifi successfully fulfills its mission. Prior to joining Clarifi, Steve spent 40 years at Deloitte & Touche LLP.
Reverend Danny Cortés
As Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of Esparanza, Reverend Cortés is responsible for the creation and implementation of new projects throughout the organization. Nationally, he has supervised projects focused on housing, youth mentoring, and capacity building and training initiatives.
Bishop J. Louis Felton
Bishop Felton, Senior Pastor and Servant Leader, has invested over half a century in the Gospel Ministry. Bishop Felton serves the Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, founded by the Bishop Ernest C. Morris, Sr., the presiding prelate of the Koinonia PA Jurisdiction.
Loree D. Jones
As Chief Executive Officer, Loree leads Philabundance in setting priorities and determining its vision. Before joining Philabundance in June of 2020, Loree was chief of staff at Rutgers University-Camden and has served in leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, education and city government throughout her career, including roles with the School District of Philadelphia and as the managing director for the City of Philadelphia.
A Senior Associate at PolicyLink, James is a committed advocate for policies and programs that improve the quality of life for low-income families in distressed communities of color. He brings over ten years of experience in the field of affordable housing and community development. Most recently he worked in the nonprofit sector as a program officer for the Philadelphia office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
Pedro is president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, one of the first community foundations in the nation. Pedro has spent his career guiding organizations through critical inflection points and redefining how those organizations support and communicate with the communities they serve.
Sidney R. Hargo
Sidney leads the Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia. Sidney is a nationally known community philanthropy leader, giving coach, and advocate for centering racial equity in the DNA of philanthropy. He is also a Lecturer in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.
As associate state director for Advocacy and Community Outreach, Yocasta is responsible for building and maintaining strong, productive relationships with other organizations, state legislators, county officials/leaders, and volunteers to develop and support the AARP Pennsylvania community engagement and local advocacy strategy.
Prior to becoming the new Director for the Office of Black Male Engagement, Eric spent seven years of his career at the Community College of Philadelphia, where he worked to improve graduation and retention rates for male students of color.
Harold T. Epps
As a Senior Advisor for Economic Development at Bellevue, Harold lends his expertise to clients through strategic positioning, access to capital, introductions to his vast network of key stakeholders and alignment on important shared goals. Harold previously served as the Director of Commerce at the City of Philadelphia for the duration of Mayor Kenney’s first term, before resigning in March 2020.
About the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO)
CEO provides leadership on issues of economic justice by advancing racial equity and inclusive growth to ensure that all Philadelphians share in the city’s prosperous future. As the Community Action Agency (CAA) for the City of Philadelphia, CEO awards Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds to more than 20 programs that serve an estimated 40,000 residents each year, with a focus on benefits access, financial empowerment, housing security, and other priorities that may emerge over time.