Leah Apgar MPP '07 Receives "Young Community Development Professional of the Year" Award for Outstanding Achievements in Community Development
(from New Jersey Community Capital)
Leah Apgar MPP '07, lending officer at New Jersey Community Capital, recently received the notable "Young Community Development Professional of the Year" award at the Governor's annual Conference on Housing and Economic Development in Atlantic City. Leah was selected for this prestigious recognition out of a large pool of qualified young candidates by the Young Community Development Professionals Association (YCDPA). Nominees for the award had to be under the age of 40 with a proven record of success in the community development field. Leah's pioneering work in neighborhood stabilization and other related community development efforts allowed her to stand out among her peers, making Leah an ideal choice for the award.
"YCDPA members and the selection committee are very aware of all of Leah's impressive work and how highly regarded she is by clients and collaborating organizations," said YCDPA Director, Lauren Bolline. "Leah's passion and keen understanding of what it takes to make community development sustainable, coupled with her significant list of accomplishments at this early stage in her promising career, make her a great role model for other professionals starting out. She is a bright leader that we are honored to recognize."
Leah joined New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) in 2006 as a Wachovia Bank/Department of Community Affairs Housing Scholar, working part-time while she completed her Master's in Public Policy, with a concentration in Community and Economic Development, from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. After graduating, she became a full-time lending officer due to her dedication, team-player approach, and abilities to quickly think on her feet and execute projects with precision and care.
Today, Leah plays an integral role in New Jersey Community Capital's neighborhood stabilization efforts, which are breathing new life into communities hit hardest by foreclosures. Leah focuses on lending to projects that mitigate and prevent foreclosure through the swift acquisition and rehabilitation of vacant bank-owned properties. These properties are not only eye sores, but also inflict tremendous economic and social damage on the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. Leah also has become a foremost expert in the deployment of funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), which was established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 to help communities deal with large numbers of vacant properties. Moreover, Leah helps coordinate loans to nonprofit community development organizations and other mission-oriented for-profit entities with experience in transforming abandoned properties into affordable housing, community resource centers, new businesses, and other vibrant places of opportunity.
"Leah is a rising star at New Jersey Community Capital, and her innovation and leadership will no doubt leave a lasting mark on the community development field," said Wayne T. Meyer, president of NJCC. "She is a leader among the next generation of creative-thinkers and solution-makers who will carry the profession forward. Her remarkable record of achievement is a testament to her commitment to changing lives for the better. We are proud to have her as part of our team."
In fiscal year 2011 alone, Leah committed approximately $9.1 million in loans, resulting in the preservation and development of nearly 200 home ownership and rental properties for families; an early education center that is providing quality childcare and generating good paying jobs for residents in the area; and a healthy food co-op that gives families fresh food options. Leah also has been intimately involved in every aspect of the financing and coordination of a new program called Camden POWER. This program is offering energy efficiency improvement loans to 40 businesses and nonprofits located throughout Camden, and is NJCC's first step in providing green energy loans.
From expanding affordable housing and economic development to offering greater access to healthy food, quality education, and cost-saving energy efficiency programs, Leah is center-stage on most New Jersey Community Capital projects. Her expertise, cooperative style and enthusiasm for helping others make Leah an invaluable asset to the work she undertakes.
"I am grateful for the opportunity that NJCC provides to work on such important and varied initiatives that are building healthier and more balanced communities," Leah Apgar stated. "NJCC offers the supportive environment that allows me to grow and become more confident in my work. I am humbled by YCDPA's recognition and owe much of it to my dedicated colleagues, with whom I work alongside every day." To learn more about the financial programs, consulting services, and community development solutions provided by New Jersey Community Capital, please visit www.newjerseycommunitycapital.com