- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2004

Kenneth D. Wade is stepping up to run the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a D.C. nonprofit.

The organization was created by Congress in 1978 to develop an effective system of public-and-private sector support for community-based revitalization efforts.

As executive director, Mr. Wade, 52, is in charge of the group’s budget, relationship with Congress and agenda. He joined Neighborhood Reinvestment in 1990 and has served for the past five years as director for national programs, initiatives and research.

“We just completed a strategic plan before I came into this position, so I will be implementing that plan and increasing our visibility and network [of affiliates],” Mr. Wade said after visiting a ground-breaking ceremony last week for an affordable-housing program in Manchester, N.H.

The organization had a budget of $105 million for fiscal 2003 ended Sept. 30. The 2004 fiscal budget, proposed at $115 million, is held up in Congress and the group is operating under a continuing resolution.

Most of the funding goes to NeighborWorks, a network of 220 affordable-housing and community-development groups that serve 2,400 urban, rural and suburban areas.

In the past decade, NeighborWorks has helped about 80,000 low-income families purchase their first homes and 150,000 residents make improvements on their homes.

“It’s challenging to know what the economy and interest rates will do and how it will affect homeownership, but we’re definitely working in the right direction to increase the numbers,” Mr. Wade said.

He also plans to allocate more funds on public education campaigns, such as warning homeowners of predatory lending practices.

“Elderly and minority homeowners are hit the hardest by these kinds of practices. We want to offer them education and flexible products for refinancing to home improvement,” he said.

Deborah Matz, a board member who chaired the executive director search committee, said the group picked Mr. Wade because of his experience with Neighborhood Reinvestment and the high regard from his peers.

“Ken is such a thoughtful person that I’m certain he will take the organization to the next level in terms of visibility and outreach,” Mrs. Matz said.

Mr. Wade is relocating to the District with his wife, Juanita.

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