The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND), an affordable housing and community development association serving the Washington, D.C., region, will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
Heather Raspberry came on board as executive director two years ago and is only the second person to hold that position in HAND’s history. The 32-year-old was tasked with taking the organization to the next level by expanding training offerings and leveraging its brand.
Raspberry, with the assistance of one full-time staff member and the guidance of her board and program committees, has increased HAND’s membership and sponsorship levels and has tripled its training and capacity-building sessions for members.
“HAND was created 24 years ago to support the nonprofit developers who are working to create affordable housing here in the metro region,” she says. “But we also recognize that it takes all of the many organizations that comprise our membership—from the nonprofit and for-profit developers to the service providers, lenders, policy analysts, law firms, accountants, and government agencies—to come together and do this work and do it well.”
In January, HAND will start to focus more on emerging leaders and will work with different partners across the nonprofit and for-profit sectors to create a mentoring program.
Prior to HAND, Raspberry spent six years doing communications and marketing work for the affordable housing industry at Enterprise Community Partners and the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development.
Community work is a priority for Raspberry. She is a court-appointed special advocate for children and young adults in the Washington, D.C., foster care system. She not only mentors the youths, preparing them for when they’ll be on their own, but she also makes them part of her life.