Carl Nagy-Koechlin Named Exec. Director of Just-A-Start

Carl Nagy-Koechlin
February 28, 2019 — Just-A-Start, a Cambridge-based nonprofit, multi-service agency focused on affordable housing, community engagement, workforce development, and educational initiatives, this week announced that Carl Nagy-Koechlin has been named the organization’s next executive director.

Nagy-Koechlin, who currently serves as executive director for Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts, will succeed Deborah Ruhe, who has led Just-A-Start (JAS) for the past five years. Ruhe, who last year informed the board that she will retire, will step down in July.

“We are thrilled that Carl will be joining Just-A-Start as the next Executive Director, building on the transformative work by Deborah Ruhe over these past five years. Deborah has built a solid infrastructure foundation on which Carl can continue to build, strengthening and expanding the organization’s impact on, and resources for, the community,” said JAS board chair Peter Munkenbeck,.

“As an experienced community development leader, Carl brings expertise, experience, and connections to Just-A-Start that will serve him and us well as he leads the organization forward in the coming years.”

Nagy-Koechlin has been a community development professional since 1984 when he was the lead community organizer for the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.

He also has worked with four community development corporations (CDCs), including Nuestra Comunidad, Somerville Community Corporation, Fenway CDC, and Housing Solutions for Southeastern Massachusetts. Under his leadership, these organizations have created 400 apartments and homes in 15 affordable housing development projects, implemented and strengthened housing stabilization and homelessness prevention programs, and developed job training and placement programs.

“It has been evident to me throughout my career and life in Greater Boston, including 15 years as a Cambridge resident, that JAS is an effective organization that has played a critical role in providing opportunities for low-income people, people of color and others to live and thrive in Cambridge despite its escalating cost of housing," Nagy-Koechlin said.

He added, "JAS’s aspirations can be summarized as assuring that all people, especially those of limited means, contribute to, and benefit from, Cambridge’s thriving economic, civic and community life. I am proud to be the next Executive Director of Just-A-Start, and to help these aspirations succeed.”

Nagy-Koechlin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

JAS was founded in 1968 as a community revitalization and youth training program focused on improving Cambridge’s then-struggling Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. It became a multi-service organization for community development programs in 1971. Since then, it has developed and preserved 598 units of affordable rental housing for low- to moderate-income residents.

JAS also has developed 130 affordable first-time homebuyer units for purchase and manages the preservation, rehabilitation, and resale of home ownership units screened by the City of Cambridge’s Affordable Housing Agreement, and provides resident services to 1,500 people.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2016, JAS reported $21.1 million in revenue, of which $17.5 million came from contributions and grants, and $6.5 million in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.