Melissa Cruz

Michele Lederberg

Barry O'Connor Jr.

Barry O’Connor


December 15, 2022

ONE Neighborhood Builders Adds Three New Board Members

Cruz, Lederberg and O’Connor add additional community, health care, and economic development expertise to organization’s board of directors

PROVIDENCE, RI – ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB), Rhode Island’s leading community development corporation, announced the appointment of three new board members who each bring a critical lane of expertise and experience to the nonprofit developer’s board of directors.

Melly Cruz, Michele Lederberg, and Barry O’Connor were each unanimously elected to serve a two-year term.

“ONE|NB has one of the most engaged and dynamic boards in Rhode Island. Our board members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve and provide an array of real-world expertise on the issues we are responsible for addressing, including housing, health care, and economic development,” said Jennifer Hawkins, Executive Director of ONE|NB. “I am thrilled that Melly, Michelle and Barry have agreed to join our team and share their expertise. With their support, I am confident that ONE|NB will be well-positioned to build on the foundation of our success and work to close health and economic mobility gaps experienced by our neighbors.”

The three new board members each have professional and advocacy experience that reflect core components of ONE|NB’s mission and focus areas.

Melissa “Melly” Cruz serves as the community programs manager for the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. She is a member of the Equity Commission for the Continuum of Care and other diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and has recently been accepted into the RI Foundation’s Equity Leadership Initiative. Melly is Dominican-American, born and raised in the Washington Park area of Providence. With the supportive programs through Rhode Island Housing, Melly initially witnessed home ownership when her mother was able to purchase the family’s home in the Olneyville/Silver Lake neighborhood of Providence. More recently, Melly became a proud homeowner with help of Rhode Island Housing.

Michele Lederberg is the Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, Administrative Officer, and Corporate Secretary of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI. Prior to joining the company in 1999, Michele worked as an attorney in private practice with a specialty in health care. She holds a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University School of Public Health, and a BA with honors from Brown University.

Barry O’Connor is the director of Rhode Island Commerce’s Wavemaker Fellowship program, an initiative that provides student loan relief to young professionals who live and work in Rhode Island. Before joining RI Commerce, O’Connor served as a Senior Policy Analyst in then-Lt. Governor Dan McKee’s office. Prior to his role in government, O’Connor was the Associate Director of Enrollment Services at the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition, he teaches at URI and CCRI.


ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB) is a nonprofit community development leader in Rhode Island that is expanding its work to the broader Greater Providence area while maintaining its deep roots in its historic home of Olneyville. ONE|NB’s mission is to develop affordable housing and engage neighbors to cultivate healthy, vibrant, and safe communities. Since its founding in 1988, then as Olneyville Housing Corporation, ONE|NB has developed 466 affordable apartments; 130 for-sale homes for low- to moderate-income homebuyers; and nearly 34,000 square feet of commercial and community space—totaling more than $135 million of investments. ONE|NB is the convening entity of Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone, which brings together residents, more than five dozen community-based organizations, health professionals, local businesses, elected officials, and others to address root causes of health disparities and to improve neighborhood conditions. As the convener, ONE|NB is the backbone organization of this collective-impact initiative to increase economic mobility for residents in Central Providence. ONE|NB also created the first free community wireless network in Rhode Island, providing high-speed broadband to nearly 3000 unique users in the Olneyville neighborhood.


Media Contact (for ONE Neighborhood Builders)
Mike Raia, Half Street Strategic Consulting
401-340-9425 |