DEBRA A. EDELSON
Executive Director and Board Member
Debra is the Executive Director and Board Member of the newly launched Grove Park Foundation, which recently emerged as the new community development organization spun off from the Emerald Corridor Foundation which she also lead. She was previously a Senior Program Director for the Trust for Public Land (TPL) where she managed the Georgia Office’s greenspace and conservation programs, including the Proctor Creek Greenway and Chattahoochee River protection work, and assembled some of the Beltline parks. Prior to that, she directed the Real Estate program for Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. Debra resided in NYC for many years where she launched the iconic NYC High Line park while employed by CSX Corporation. Previous to that she held a post in the New York City Mayor’s Office, and two years with the City of New York’s Economic Development Corporation. Debra serves on the Board of Directors of the South Fork Conservancy, and completed six years of service as a Planning Commissioner in Dekalb County, GA. She holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from New York University and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University.
Director of Development
Karen has over 30 years of experience working in nonprofits. Most recently, she was a development consultant with Wellspring Nonprofit Resource. She served as the Director of Development and Chief Development Officer for The Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta 2005-2014. She has been a resident of Grove Park since 2007. She will be developing funding sources for GPF from individuals, corporations, foundations, and events.
Justine is a project manager for the Emerald Corridor Foundation. Prior to her hiring at Emerald Corridor Foundation, Justine worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the City of Atlanta’s Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, where her work focused on energy efficiency, urban agriculture, grant writing, and more. She has a Master’s of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, and a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA.
Freddie Stevens, III
Freddie Stevens is Housing Coordinator for the Grove Park Foundation and focuses on housing initiatives, programs, development and policies that advance the organization’s neighborhood revitalization strategy of securing long term housing affordability in Grove Park. Freddie combines his expertise in housing, housing finance, real estate development, and community engagement to develop and manage programs and strategies that support the revitalization of neighborhoods where families feel safe, have expanded economic opportunities, and greater access to viable housing options.
Previously, Freddie has worked in program and real estate development roles with the Atlanta Housing Authority and DeKalb County Government. He has experience utilizing traditional finance mechanisms, along with municipal, State, and federal funding to preserve and develop affordable housing. Freddie earned a BA from Morehouse College in Business Administration, with a concentration in Banking & Finance. He maintains multiple professional real estate finance and development certifications.
S. Tarnace Watkins, Sr.
Director of Economic Development
Tarnace is the Economic Development Director for the Grove Park Foundation. He was previously the Westside TAD and Choice Neighborhoods Development Manager for Invest Atlanta, Atlanta’s Development Authority. He managed the Tax Allocation Districts’ (“TADs”) redevelopment and funding programs for over 10 years. Prior to his tenure at Invest Atlanta, he worked at Wachovia, SouthTrust and Prime banks as regional community development officer and lender for over 14 years. Tarnace holds a Bachelor in Business and Accounting from the U.S. Naval Technical Academy and a PMP from the University of Villanova. He is married with three children.
Ashley is the Corporate and Community Affairs Executive at Atlantic Capital Bank. In her role, she oversees Atlanta Not-for-Profit and Business Banking, Community Development, Corporate Communications and Marketing. Ms. Carson has 19 years of experience in Corporate and Investment Banking. An active member of the business and civic community, Ms. Carson has been a member of the Atlanta Midtown Rotary for 12 years. She sits on the Board of the Center for Working Families and the Agape Youth and Family Center. She is an alumna of the Georgia 100/Acheiva Program and the Coca Cola Diversity Leadership Academy, and she is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta – class of 2016. Ms. Carson received her B.A. from Northwestern University in 1995, and her MBA for the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in 2000.
JASON K. EDWARDS
Jason is Founder and principal investor Providence Realty Investors (PRI). PRI is a boutique investment firm with $250MM in assets under management that invest directly in projects, provides third-party asset management and underwriting services for owners of apartment projects. He is a multifamily real estate investment professional with 15 years of diverse experience. Prior to PRI, Jason worked in Development with the Integral Group, asset management at Fairfield Residential in Boston, and Boston Capital Corporation. He served on the YMCA Head Start Board for North Georgia for several years, was a Big with Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta and currently serves as Co-Founder and Chairman of a non-profit that raises scholarships for students attending Morehouse College. He also serves on the Morehouse College President’s Advisory Board. Jason holds a Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Morehouse College and is licensed by the Georgia Real Estate Commission.”
BRIAN C. FRIEDMAN
Brian has over 25 years of experience providing comprehensive philanthropic, estate and business planning to affluent families. He currently holds the designations of Accredited Estate Planner®, Chartered Advisor of Philanthropy®, Chartered Financial Consultant® and Chartered Life Underwriter®. In addition to other community and professional involvement, Brian recently served on the Board of Directors, the Governance Committee, and chaired the Philanthropic Services Committee at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. He also chaired the Advisory Committee for the Philanthropic Advisor Leadership Institute and served on the Advisory Committee and Grant Review Committee for One Region Atlanta, the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Providers, and on the Professional Affiliate Program and Gift Acceptance Committee for CARE USA. Brian is a graduate of the 2017 Class of Leadership Atlanta. He is an active member of the Atlanta Estate Planning Council and the AALU, and a frequent speaker on philanthropic and estate planning topics.
Daniel has over 10 years of experience in financial services. He began as an Analyst at Bank of America in its Leverage Finance Division on the Loan Syndications Desk. Daniel went on to become a Fixed-Income Research Associate focusing on the media and telecom sectors. He has also worked for the mission-based investment fund Local Initiatives Support Corporation, where he helped manage the organization’s portfolio and underwriting operations. Daniel also spent some time with an Atlanta/London based hedge fund, Gallery Capital Management, an alternative fund that invests in specialty insurance risk at the Lloyd’s of London insurance marketplace. Most recently, Daniel joined Habitat For Humanity International (HFHI) as the Director of Capital Markets and Financial Systems where he manages an impact investment fund for HFHI and advises on a broader array of financial transactions.
Daniel received his BA, with a focus on American politics, from Williams College, where he remains active and serves as a vice-chair of its Alumni Fund. He is committed to helping improve his community, and is a co-founder and current board member of Crawfish for Cancer. Daniel lives in Atlanta with his wife, Laura Kolesar Gura, and 8 month old daughter, Mirele Grace Gura.”
Cheryl is a litigation partner at McGuireWoods LLP. She has 20 years of experience representing Fortune 100 companies in complex matters in federal and state courts as well as in investigations before federal and state securities regulators. Cheryl has lived in Atlanta for 15 years.
DR. CHARLES A. HARPER, III
Charles A. Harper III is the Senior Pastor of Paradise Missionary Baptist Church in the Grove Park Community of Atlanta, Georgia and serves as Executive Director of Paradise Community Development Center, Inc. He also runs Mormen Realty & Development Corporation, a full service Real Estate Company, serving the states of Georgia and Florida and is a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
Charles is a member of Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta, The Metropolitan Atlanta Baptist Ministers Union, Moderator – Mount Calvary Missionary & Educational Baptist Association, National Association of Realtors, National Association of Real Estate Brokers; and Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. Charles serves on the Board of Directors of Community Concerns, Inc. and Historic South-View Preservation Foundation.
Charles received his B.A. degree from Georgia State University in Religious Studies, Master of Divinity in Christian Education from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological, and his Doctor of Ministry in Christian Education from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center.
Will Lambe is the senior community and economic development adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He specializes in community development finance, and has experience with public-private partnerships, tax credit finance, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, he was director of Community Economic Development programming at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute Atlanta Center for Leadership, class of 2016. He holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master of public policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
David is the CEO and owner of C.D. Moody Construction Company, an Atlanta-based general contracting and construction management firm. His projects include such iconic Atlanta buildings as Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building, the New World of Coca-Cola, and the Cyclorama addition and renovations at the Atlanta History Center. David is the recipient of many distinguished awards and honors from prestigious Atlanta and national organizations, like the “2009 Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Who’s Who – 100 People to Know in Atlanta’s Commercial Real Estate Scene”, and the “2014 Morehouse College Outstanding Alumnus Entrepreneur Award.” He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Morehouse College and the Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America. David has a BS in Psychology from Morehouse College, a Bachelor of Architecture 5 year professional degree from Howard University, has completed graduate courses in architecture and construction management at the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech, and was a fellow at Harvard University in the Advanced Leadership Initiative program in 2015.
Leonard is Managing Partner and co-founder of Zion Consulting Group, a real estate and business development advisory firm serving non-profits, faith based institutions and corporations. He is also Managing Partner and co-founder of ZL Development Group, which partners with faith based institutions to develop their real estate assets. Leonard has over 23 years of real estate, consulting, global asset management and investment banking experience, including roles with Merrill Lynch & Co.’s corporate finance/investment banking division and Alliance Capital Management International. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Youthbuild Newark a non-profit, which helps high school dropouts complete their education while training them in the construction field; as well as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of East Orange General Hospital, a 325-bed urban hospital serving the community of East Orange, NJ.
Board Vice Chair
Marlena Norris is the principal and founder of The Laundry Centers with two locations on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. She is a senior finance executive with 30 years of financial management, accounting and auditing experience who’s spent the last 15 years as V.P. of Finance for InterContinental Hotels Group, Inc. Her background also includes finance and accounting roles in the oil and gas, freight forwarding and logistics, temporary staffing and public accounting industries. She’s previously served on the boards of Jomandi Productions and YWCA Atlanta, and is currently a member of On Board.
LAURA HEERY PROZES
Laura Heery Prozes is a co-founder of Brookwood Group, Inc. and the current owner and Managing Principal of Brookwood Design Group LLC, a separate affiliate of Brookwood Group Inc. She co-chaired the 18th annual Congress for the New Urbanism, lead the concept phase for international projects, and served as Brookwood’s Principal-in-Charge for several Atlanta master plans and redesign projects.
LATRESA MCLAWHORN RYAN
Latresa McLawhorn Ryan is a Vice President and Client Manager within SunTrust Bank’s Foundations and Endowments Specialty Practice. As a Client Manager, Latresa is a key, strategic advisor and provides deep nonprofit insight and expertise to clients in addition to overseeing the investment and grant administration of accounts. Latresa began her career as an attorney at Arent Fox, PLLC in Washington, DC before opening her own boutique law firm specializing in estate planning, tax-exempt organizations, and charitable gift planning. Prior to joining SunTrust, Latresa was the Global Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Development at Operation HOPE where she focused on cultivating strategic partnerships and led the fundraising and development activities across the organization. She serves as a board member and treasurer for the Georgia Planned Giving Council, as well as an Endowment Committee member for the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. She is also delighted to serve as a member of the United Way of Greater Atlanta Community Engagement Council and the Grady Ambassador Force. Latresa earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law and her B.S. in Computer Science from Spelman College.
As the Atlanta Market President, Wendy is responsible for advancing Bank of America’s strategy across Metro Atlanta by delivering the firm’s global financial resources and expertise to customers and clients. Wendy connects with local business leaders and community stakeholders to advance the goal of delivering one company to customers and clients. Wendy is also responsible for ensuring Bank of America’s Environmental, Social, and Governance strategy, including philanthropy and community development efforts have a positive impact on metro Atlanta.
As co-head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Commercial Banking practice for the Southeast region, Wendy leads the firm’s efforts, working with mid cap and middle market companies. This includes public and private companies with annual revenues of $50 million to over $2 billion in a variety of industries. Wendy partners closely with teammates across the firm to provide the expertise and consultation necessary to deliver the best solution for the client. Wendy holds Series 7, 63, and 24 securities licenses.
Wendy joined Bank of America’s predecessor, NationsBank, in 1996. She worked on both the consumer and commercial sides of the bank. She left Bank of America in 2000 to join the executive team of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta as Chief Operating Officer. Wendy was responsible for streamlining the functions of the organization, solidifying its financial position, and positioning the organization for ongoing growth. Wendy returned to Bank of America in 2007, and she has held various leadership roles since that time.
Wendy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Presbyterian College, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree. Today, Wendy serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Board of Directors for The United Way of Greater Atlanta, the Board of Trustees for Woodruff Arts Center, a director of the Buckhead Coalition, a member of Atlanta Committee for Progress, and a member of Leadership Atlanta- Class of 2017. Wendy has served in different leadership capacities in Atlanta, including President of the Board of Directors for The Heards Ferry Education Foundation; Board of Directors for The Georgia Center for Non Profits; and an alumna of Leadership Georgia- Class of 2010. She also is actively involved with her church and volunteers at her daughters’ schools.
Larry joined Georgia Power Company in August 1979 after graduating from Southern University with a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. He spent 12 years in the Transmission Construction Department designing/building substation and transmission facilities across the State of Georgia. Larry moved to the Marketing & Sales Division of Georgia Power as a Project Manager in March 1991. From March 1991 until August 2017 time, Larry held a variety of corporate, regional and statewide sales leadership roles dedicated to selling energy and addressing the value-added product & services of his assigned customer base.
Larry is currently in the role of Atlanta Area Manager. Larry is responsible for addressing all items and issues that impact Georgia Power and the City of Atlanta.
Larry has served as the Chairman of the Development Authority of Clayton County, Redevelopment Authority of Clayton County, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Clayton County and the Treasurer of The Joint Development Authority of Metropolitan Atlanta. Larry has served as a Board Member of the Atlanta Aerotropolis and Clayton County’s Chamber of Commerce.
Larry has worked accident free his entire career at Georgia Power Company.