PROVIDENCE, RI – ONE Neighborhood Builders, one of the state’s leading nonprofit affordable housing developers and community development corporations, announced that after over a decade of transformative leadership, Jennifer Hawkins, President & CEO, has decided to step down at the end September 2024.

After the Board of Directors was informed in early June, a search committee was established and selected Bridge Partners Executive Search to lead the national search for the organization’s next leader. Janet Albert, Partner at Bridge Partners, is leading the search and can be reached at A position announcement will accompany the official launch of the search in the coming weeks. The board anticipates appointing the next leader this fall.

Jennifer has served as President & CEO since May 2017 and has worked for the organization for nearly 11 years, previously serving as the Associate Executive Director. “Jennifer has been the visionary and champion of ONE Neighborhood Builders, advancing the organization’s mission in ways that many could not have imagined,” said Lorraine Lalli, Chair of the Board of Directors and Associate Dean of Student Life and Operations at Roger Williams University School of Law. “We are immensely grateful for her constant drive to disrupt the status quo and present creative solutions to some of our state’s most pressing issues. Her innovation has created a strong foundation for the organization and provided us with a robust balance sheet, deep community relationships and partnerships, a passionate staff, and a remarkable pipeline of affordable housing developments.”

Notable achievements under Jennifer’s leadership include:

  • Dramatically increasing the scale and scope of the organization—growing from a budget of $8 million in 2017 to $17 million in 2024—by expanding its geographic reach and deepening its comprehensive place-based work in Providence, as well as positioning the organization as a verifiable thought-leader in the housing and community development fields.
  • Vastly growing the organization’s housing development portfolio, expanding into East Providence, Central Falls, and Cumberland with affordable rental apartments and for-sale homes currently under construction or in development. The organization is on track to nearly double its rental portfolio in the next 5 years.
  • Securing a support the collective impact initiative, Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone, aimed at improving economic mobility and health equity in the 02908 and 02909 ZIP codes of Providence.
  • Pioneering solutions to address social determinants of health, such as developing Rhode Island’s first and award-wining, free community WiFi network and sponsoring the multi-employer Community Health Worker (CHW) Registered Apprenticeship program which trained dozens of community members, creating a pipeline of certified community-based professionals.
  • Prioritizing the development of “housing first” apartments for persons experiencing chronic homelessness, demonstrating the role community development corporations have in developing permanent supportive housing, a proven solution to homelessness.

“Leading ONE Neighborhood Builders has been the most rewarding and enriching experience of my career. In addition to the transformative growth and impact of our work, I’m incredibly proud of the organizational infrastructure that has been built including an exceptional executive leadership team, a skilled board of directors, and a highly competent staff that are all united in their commitment to our work,” remarked Hawkins. “I’m eager to take time off to reflect on my 25 years of experience within the housing and community development fields across Rhode Island, Boston, and New York, and consider how my next professional endeavor can best contribute to larger systems change and generate enduring housing justice.”

The Board of Directors is firmly committed to its 5-year strategy Our Homes, Our Health, Our Future released last year. This strategic framework cemented the organization’s pursuit of expanding the geographic region of its affordable housing developments, commits to serving as an advocate for changes to policy statewide, and demonstrates the organization’s commitment to comprehensive community development in Central Providence.

“The housing crisis and its impact on Rhode Islanders is real, and our work is far from over. We are committed to finding a dynamic leader who will continue to build upon our incredible successes, lead our strong team, and help write the next chapter of our organization’s story,” commented Lalli.

In June, the organization announced the appointment of four new members to the board; Sam Azar, Christopher Koller, Joelle Rocha, and Claribel Shavers will bring a wealth of nonprofit, housing, and public health expertise to the already seasoned slate of directors. Last week, ONE Neighborhood Builders held a groundbreaking alongside elected, appointed, and housing leaders to celebrate the start of construction of The Avenue, the organization’s largest housing development to date, a $32 million investment in the city of Providence. The Avenue combines the development of 39 new construction, affordable apartments at 434 Atwells Avenue in the Federal Hill neighborhood and the preservation and re-syndication of 46 affordable apartments in the Elmwood neighborhood.

Later this fall, the organization will break ground on its Broad Street Homes development in Central Falls. Upon completion, the development will bring 44 new affordable apartments to the city by converting a former police station into 17 apartments and constructing a new, 27-unit, 4-story building.

Last month, the organization’s Center City Apartments development was awarded 9% and 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocations and ancillary funding through RIHousing’s Consolidated Funding Round, propelling what will be 144 affordable apartments spanning three buildings along Taunton Avenue in East Providence towards construction. One-third of the apartments will be reserved for households experiencing homelessness in partnership with Crossroads RI, Family Service of RI, and Foster Forward.


Media Contact:

Kyle McKendall

Vice President of Resource Development and Communications

ONE Neighborhood Builders | 401-489-0951