Sebastiano “Seb” Sterpa
Mr. Sterpa founded and operated Sterpa Realty Inc. from 1962 to 1985, and today serves as Chairman of The Sterpa Group, a real estate investment and management firm. In 1982, he was elected President of the California Real Estate Association and in 1987, Vice President of the National Association of Realtors. In 1983, Governor Deukmejian appointed him Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Housing Finance Agency (CHFA). Mr. Sterpa served for 12 years as a director of the SunAmerica Asset Management Corp., AIG Mutual Funds and Countrywide Mutual Funds. In 1990, he received from President Cossiga of Italy the award of Commendatore of the Italian Republic.
Andrew B. Wright
Mr. Wright co-founded National Community Renaissance in 1992 and now serves as the organization’s Co-Chairman. Mr. Wright led a prestigious career in real estate development spanning more than 30 years. He served as a partner for Diversified Pacific Development Group and was President of the Inland Empire division of KB Homes. Throughout his real estate career, Mr. Wright built more than 5,000 entry level homes, was a three-time president of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and was named Builder of the Year in 1979.
G. Allan Kingston
Mr. Kingston, as President and CEO of Century Housing Corporation for 18 years directed the financing of more than 14,000 affordable/workforce households, in 250 housing developments, in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. While originating more than $450 million in housing loans, he also led Century to initiate “More Than Shelter® Services, Inc.” to assist underserved communities and families with after-school tutoring, job training and placement, transitional housing for homeless veterans, childcare, health and wellness for seniors, and creation of two charter middle schools. Now retired, Mr. Kingston served three years as the Chairman of the National Housing Conference, the nation’s oldest advocacy organization for affordable housing. He is a member of several national and state non-profit boards, including the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the NHC, and the California Housing Consortium, and is a long-time member of the Urban Land Institute.
Armando J. Bucelo, Jr.
Mr. Bucelo is an attorney in Coral Gables, Florida, specializing primarily in corporate, banking, real estate and transactional work. In 1991, he was appointed by former President George Bush as the first Hispanic as well as the first Floridian ever selected to the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). In 2002, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as Chairman of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), one of the highest appointments ever made to a Hispanic by any administration. On July 14, 2006, Mr. Bucelo became the first Cuban-American ever to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
James D. Cashion
Mr. Cashion is a principle of Cashion, Go & Company, LLP, a CPA firm, and Cashion Consulting, Inc., a valuation and litigation support firm. Together his businesses provide accounting, auditing, tax, business valuation, and litigation support to small and mid-sized business clients. He is a member of an array of professional associations including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of CPAs and has served on more than 20 civic organization boards in his community.
Mr. Clingham is a Principal with Woodberry Associates, a Washington, D.C. public and government affairs firm. He assists corporations and not-for-profit organizations develop and implement strategies to get their voices heard before Executive Branch Agencies and the United States Congress. Mr. Clingham’s expertise focuses on the education, health care, financial services and appropriations sectors. Previously, Mr. Clingham served as staff for a senior Member of the United States House of Representatives. Mr. Clingham holds a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from The Catholic University of America. He resides in Bethesda, MD.
Laura Kurtz Kuhns
Ms. Kuhns currently leads the efforts of Vandalia Heritage Foundation and Vandalia Redevelopment Corporation, sister non-profit organizations dedicated to economic revitalization through the built environment. Since their inception in 1998, she has managed the successful completion of more than fifty impactful projects, ranging from small community improvements and plans to restoring landmark historic properties, and developing large R&D and manufacturing facilities on behalf of other non-profits. Formerly managing director of a versatile real estate firm that championed public-private partnerships, she served two terms on the Governor’s Council for Community & Economic Development and is an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Stephen G. Larson
Mr. Larson, a former United States District Court judge, is a founding partner of Larson O’Brien LLP, a litigation boutique located in Los Angeles which handles litigation, appeals, white collar defense, and internal investigations. Mr. Larson also served as federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, where he was chief of the organized crime section. Among the notable cases he presided over as a federal judge was United States v. Duro, in which he blocked the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs’ decade-long effort to close down a major migrant worker camp on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation in the Coachella Valley and appointed a receiver to transition the occupants to suitable housing.
Dr. Joe D. Thigpen
Dr. Thigpen has been consulting with business and industry since 1979 in the areas of executive assessment, executive coaching, and team development. Dr. Thigpen served two years in the Peace Corps in rural Brazil. He was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff while in the US Army. He is a past President of the American Association of Suicidology, and he received the Edwin Shneidman Award for outstanding scientific contributions to the field of suicide and life-threatening behavior. Dr. Thigpen received his Master’s Degree in Business from George Washington University and his Ph. D. and undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida.
Resident Board Members
Resident Board Members serve as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) member on the National Community Renaissance of California Board of Directors.
Resident Board Member
Jovita Schofield has lived in National CORE’s Villaggio development in Rancho Cucamonga since it opened in 2009. She currently works part-time for the County of San Bernardino, doing assisted care for the elderly and has previously worked as a Customer Services Manager for Walmart and as a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. She has also served on an advisory board for First 5 San Bernardino, which was created to oversee the implementation of California’s Children and Families Act. She said she loves where she lives and participates in every community event. She has a great relationship with the property management staff at Villaggio and sees joining the National CORE board as a tremendous learning experience. In the future, she would like to go back to school to study social service delivery and would like to become a homeowner. She has three children and several grandchildren, two of whom live with her and her daughter at Villaggio.
Resident Board Member
Joyce Johnson has lived in National CORE’s Encanto Court community in south Los Angeles since it opened in 2011. Joyce was born and raised in San Francisco as one of nine children. Her career has included years spent as a roofer, construction worker, nurse and as one of the first female African-American truck drivers. She is especially interested in working to alleviate veterans’ homelessness and said it is her mission in life to help people less fortunate than herself. She is a proud grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of three.
Resident Board Member
Venus Lujan moved from Los Angeles to our Renaissance Village development in Rialto 18 years ago. She became an important part of the community, volunteering in Hope through Housing’s afterschool program on the property and joining our Inland Empire CHDO board. She and her husband have four children, including two currently on full-ride scholarships at UC Riverside and Cal Baptist University. Her family eventually moved out of Renaissance Village after no longer being income-qualified to live there. Her husband is a former structural steel welder who now manages a company that makes hair dye products, while Venus focuses on raising her children, nephew and grandson. She has a passion for education and athletics, and hopes to one day visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums on an RV trip across the country.
Lawrence Jane Penn
Resident Board Member
Lawrence Jane Penn (“Miss Larri”) has lived in National CORE’s Rancho Verde Village Apartments since 1993, when it became the first apartment community owned and managed by the new non-profit housing development organization. Miss Larri quickly became a recognized leader in the community, and a trusted advisor to the residents. She was a founder of the Consortium for Multicultural Projects, and involved in many Inland Empire activities that promoted cross-cultural understanding, like the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Miss Larri volunteered with the founders’ wives, Kellie Burum and Blenda Wright, to create and run Rancho Verde’s first after-school program, in a vacant apartment in the community. She worked to provide the children with many special opportunities, such as trips to see “The Lion King” stage production, and to the Museum of Tolerance. She also organized the community’s first health fair, in partnership with the Western University of Health Sciences.
Resident Board Member
Richard Dawson has lived in National CORE’s Talmadge Senior Village Apartments in San Diego since 2014. Now retired, Richard worked for 40 years at his family-owned car dealership and for 10 years as the Operations Director for Sportlands Team Sports. He served two tours in Vietnam as part of the United States military and is now active in promoting opportunities for veterans. Previously, Richard served for six years on the board of the Alpine American Little League as he helped connect youth with positive role models through athletics. Born and raised in San Diego, he enjoys traveling and outdoor activities.
Resident Board Member
Shirlene Crees, originally from Oklahoma, earned her degree in sociology from Northwestern State University and spent 35 years as an elementary school teacher in the Southern California school districts of Fontana, Colton and San Bernardino. During her career, Ms. Crees taught a wide variety of subjects, including drama, social studies and English as a Second Language (ESL) to students in grades two through eight. She describes herself as having a heart for people who need extra help; during her time as a special education teacher at Thompson Elementary in San Bernardino, she visited several of her students in the Waterman Gardens affordable housing development. Now retired, Ms. Crees volunteers as a tutor in her sister’s classroom, with her church’s afterschool program, and as an activity coordinator for the seniors at Plaza at Sierra, her National CORE-managed apartment community in Fontana.