HOW THE INTERNSHIP STARTED:
A THANK YOU TO
The concept and model of the CCRH Internship Program was conceived by a young, strong, inspirational Xicana leader in the field named Ana Baíz-Torres. She developed the model while obtaining her Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Ana Baíz-Torres was born and raised in Selma, California, to a farmworker family. Her upbringing taught her about hard work in the fields of California’s Central Valley; and exposed her first-hand to the deplorable living conditions, lack of educational and economic opportunities, and to the racial injustices that exist in rural California. Affordable housing and community development offered a platform to address these issues and bring positive social change to rural communities similar to her own. At that time, the lack of diversity and representation from communities of color in upper-management levels and real estate/housing development in the field was very apparent. Ana offered a vision, program model and most importantly, her determination and unwielding force in seeing the program through to its successful implementation. In the earlier years when the program needed extra attention, Ana made the difficult decision of leaving her position as VP of Real Estate and Community Development at MAAC Project in San Diego to work for CCRH and implement steps to ensure that the Intern program was on track for achieving optimal success. This included the eventual hiring of the program's first Intern Alumni to staff and direct the program, Gisela Salgado.
Today, Ana Baiz-Torres' vision and determination is harvesting a new generation of diverse affordable housing developers. In recent years, these development professionals, with responsibility and experience developing individual projects, have risen to become senior managers and, in one instance, one of the youngest executive directors in the field. To date, over 200 students have graduated and approximately 50% are now working in the affordable housing and community development field. The success of the program has earned the support of long-standing funders like NeighborWorks America, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Rural LISC and expansion into Washington State, Oregon and Hawaii.
Alumni are directly responsible for generating millions of dollars in new development financing and successfully managing completion of affordable housing projects producing hundreds of new homes for low-income families. They are well-respected and considered to be among the best-qualified and talented newcomers in the industry.
Many alumni have assumed leadership roles within their communities, serving on local planning commissions, local school boards, and on the boards of statewide and regional organizations, such as Housing California and CCRH. They also serve on the Internship Program Advisory Committee, which plays a major role steering the program. The growing network of alumni cultivates and mentors up-and-coming Program participants and lead fundraising efforts to ensure program continuation and success. CCRH Intern graduates are changing the face of affordable housing and creating the change we want to see.
Feedback From Prior Interns:
“Working in affordable housing is not a job, it’s a mission."