Rafael Mares Now Exec. Dir. of The Neighborhood Developers

Rafael Mares
August 24, 2018 — The Neighborhood Developers, a Chelsea nonprofit that creates affordable housing and works to foster community engagement, recently announced that Rafael Mares has been appointed executive director of the 40-year-old organization.

Mares succeeded Ann Houston, who served as executive director for The Neighborhood Developers for 14 years before assuming the role of chief executive officer of Opportunity Communities (OppCo), a joint-venture launched in April by The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Comunidad to increase the capacity of community development nonprofits in low- and moderate-income communities.

Mares most recently served as vice president and program director of the Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program at the Conservation Law Foundation, providing legal, technical, and strategic support to equitable transportation and community development efforts. He was with the Foundation for nine years.

His work on the Fairmount Indigo Corridor served to improve economic opportunity and mobility for Boston residents in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park that were without efficient or rapid transit to downtown employment.

Prior to joining the Conservation Law Foundation, Mares worked at the Wilmer Hale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in Jamaica Plain, representing indigent tenants in fair housing and eviction matters.

“Rafael has been a steadfast advocate for healthy communities across New England,” said Bradley Campbell, president of Conservation Law Foundation. “His work ensuring equitable access to the MBTA and fighting for environmental justice in places like Lawrence, Massachusetts will have a lasting impact on countless lives.”

Mares earned a Bachelor of Science degree in integrated natural resources from the University of Vermont, and a Doctor of Law degree from Harvard Law School.

The Neighborhood Developers and Nuestra Comunidad together have a housing portfolio of 1,150 apartments, which provide a stable home to over 3,000 low- and moderate-income individuals. The organizations said OppCo will enable them to combine their resources with "significantly more capacity than either organization can afford on its own...that sustains each organization‘s distinct identity, independent non-profit status, and control over mission, assets, and strategy."

OppCo aims to 10 have community development nonprofits them in coming years.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2016, The Neighborhood Developers reported $3.8 million in revenue, of which $1.9 million came from contributions and grants, and $4.0 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing. Rafael Mares Now Exec. Dir. of The Neighborhood Developers