OUR VISION & Mission
Our vision is that all Georgia families have safe and decent housing in vibrant neighborhoods.
Our Mission is to build, support, and inform a statewide network of thriving organizations, professionals, and individuals advancing equitable housing and community development.
Who We Are
Georgia ACT is a statewide membership organization representing the state’s nonprofit housing and community development organizations. Georgia law provides a commitment to safe, decent, affordable housing for all. Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc., is dedicated to engaging a broad coalition of organizations and individuals to make that vision become a reality. We advocate for a more favorable policy environment for the nonprofit housing industry. We advocate to state and federal government executive and legislative branches, stakeholders, and other organizations targeting a similar population. Georgia ACT seeks greater resources to support the nonprofit industry and provides forums where nonprofit organizations can network, exchange information through peer learning and recognize member contributions. We provide communications tools to inform members and the public, promote key issues, and commission research regarding affordable housing and community development.
Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. (Georgia ACT) was founded in 2001 with one mission in mind: to build and support a statewide network of thriving member organizations and trained professionals engaged in housing and community development serving families with limited housing choices.
Housing is the bedrock for strong families and vibrant communities. Today, half of every Georgia renter households is cost burdened, paying over 30% of their income for housing – a challenge that is unaffordable and results in housing that is insecure, uninhabitable or nonexistent. Georgia ACT’s Policy and Advocacy Agenda supports strengthening resources and commitments to meet the affordable housing needs for all Georgians over their lifetimes, including rural, underserved, and vulnerable populations of seniors, children, veterans, homeless, and people with disabilities.
Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc., will constantly work towards growing and building relationships with organizations, core and community partners which will include: developing advocacy training, organizing materials for all trainings while supporting policy efforts of the project, providing policy analysis as related to the project, as well as providing an inclusive and sustained effort to inform and influence strong pathways between community members and policy makers. Georgia ACT has established a network of civic groups and grassroots advocacy organizations throughout the State of Georgia; advocating for Federal and State fair housing, disaster relief, HMDA, CRA, proposed tenant and rental legislations, immigrant housing, housing choice vouchers, CDBG, HOME and more.
Dr. Bambie Hayes-Brown
President and CEO
Dr. Bambie Hayes Brown is a native of rural Georgia and holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management, an MBA, a Doctor of Theology and a PhD in Biblical Studies. She is the CEO of Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc., a statewide membership organization of housing and community development agencies. Bambie has lived experience of housing instability through homelessness and a former public housing resident. She has 24 years’ experience in rural and urban housing, community and economic development and secured a rural Empowerment Zone designation resulting in a $20 million investment in Southwest Georgia. Bambie is also the Founder and CEO of Hayes Brown Enterprises, LLC, an Atlanta-based, strategic consulting agency.
Bambie is a registered lobbyist, Real Estate Broker, Certified Economic Development Finance Professional & co-chairs the HouseATL Policy Committee. Also, Bambie serves on the Board of Directors of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations, Up for Growth Action, NAACP DeKalb County Branch, and the ATL Airport Chamber of Commerce. She serves on numerous advisory committees including the Enterprise Community Partners Southeast Advisory Committee, Housing Justice League, and Cadence Bank. Bambie, a licensed and ordained minister, is married to Shearon Brown and they are the proud parents of 5 children and 3 grandchildren.
Jocelyn M. Smith
Director of Operations
Jocelyn joined Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. and now serves at the Director of Operations. With 22 years of experience in Affordable Housing, she has worked as a Development and Project Manager as a grantor with the City of Atlanta, in the Office of Housing implementing Atlanta’s Neighborhood Stabilization, HOME and CDBG Programs and with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, specifically working with the Community HOME Investment Program (CHIP) for the State of Georgia.
As a grantee real estate development professional, Jocelyn has worked with nationally renowned organizations – The Integral Group and H.J. Russell & Company, as part of the redevelopment teams for The Villages at Carver, The Village of Castleberry, and many more portfolio projects.
Jocelyn has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, with a focus in Accounting and Management and is a member of the Project Management Institute, currently pursuing a PMP Certification. Jocelyn is the proud mother of one son and two “fur” boys.
Elizabeth J. Appley, Esq.
Board of Directors
Rita B. Gibson
University Community Development Corporation
G. Mitchell Brown
Resources for Residents and Communities (RCC)
E. Wallace Strategies & Management, Organizational Development Consultant
Former Executive Director
Southwest Georgia United
Housing Specialist, Housing Assistance Council
Melanie A. Faison
Director - Production & Program Service, NeighborWorks Columbus
Founder & Executive Director, JCVision and Associates
State Director, Telamon Corporation
Eula J. Parker
CEO, Nehemiah Project Community Development Corporation
Rita B. Gibson is a native of Atlanta, graduating from Spelman College with a degree in Economics. She holds a Masters of Business of Administration from Howard University and has done further study at Georgia State University. She has over 20 years of experience in the areas of Real Estate Development, Program and Policy Development having held positions at Invest Atlanta, The Integral Group, Atlanta Board of Education, the Juvenile Court of Fulton County and the Governor’s Commission on Children and Youth. While a the Integral Group she served as the Senior Development Director for the redevelopment of three of Atlanta’s public housing communities which leveraged Federal funds of more than $250 with private funds. These three communities – Villages at Carver, Capitol Gateway and Auburn Pointe are model mixed income communities in Atlanta. A strong advocate for housing equity, Rita currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the University Community Development Corporation where she collaborates with partners to help revitalize economically challenged and underserved communities with affordable housing which is critical to community health and quality of life.
G. Mitchell Brown – Executive Director Resources for Residents and Communities (RRC) G. Mitchell Brown is a native of Dayton, Ohio. He learned the importance of teamwork and community involvement through leadership in social and church groups. Mitchell graduated from Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA). He continues to exemplify his commitment to community engagement through leadership of Resources for Residents and Communities of Georgia (formerly Reynoldstown Revitalization Corporation), a non-profit CDC providing housing, home ownership counseling and community outreach services. In his spare time, Mitchell engages in outdoor activities including hiking, biking and camping. Mitchell is no stranger to Reynoldstown. As a one-time resident, he served as the neighborhood NPU representative, participated in neighborhood clean-ups and coordinated volunteer activities for the Wheelbarrow Summer Theater community festival. While serving as the Vice-Chair of the RRC Board, Mitchell chaired the Personnel Committee and contributed to the efforts of several other board committees. He worked in partnership with the Board Chair to facilitate and encourge the Board’s active role in the growth of this changing organization’s expansion of services to include a five-county area. Before joining RRC, Mitch was previously employed with Cegedim Relationship Management, a leading service provider of Pharma CRM and Data Solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. As an Operations Manager on a dedicated account team, Mitchell coordinated work order generation, new support uptake and oversight of Help Desk and Hardware Services performed for pharmaceutical sales organizations. During over ten years of employment, he served in Operations Client Support Specialist and Project Management roles. He has attended several NeighborWorks Institute and Enterprise trainings to strengthen his knowledge in the community development field. Additionally, he earned a PMP (PMI) project management certification and has been awarded the Management Leadership Certificate from NeighborWorks America.
Robert Cooke was born in South Carolina, grew up in South Georgia, and attended college in Alabama. He has undergraduate majors in Religion/Philosophy and Accounting and a cum laude MBA degree. He completed the Community and Rural Development Institute USDA Training at Cornell University. He has successfully completed the Certified Public Accountant examination and has several professional certifications including Economic Development Finance Professional.He returned to South Georgia in 2000 to serve as the Executive Director of Southwest Georgia United, an Empowerment Zone and community development corporation. He administered more than $40 million in program funding and has written successful applications for more than $11 million. He oversaw construction and operation of a 55,000 square foot business incubator, managed more than $13 million annually in community assets, and acquired and managed more than 100 affordable rental homes, He developed, implemented, and supported housing counseling, workforce development, after school care, child care, and a variety of other community programs. He wrote Southwest Georgia United’s successful application for certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Southwest Georgia United’s current portfolio includes both business and housing loans. Assets have grown from less than $250,000 in 1999 to more than $8.3 million as of 2014.Mr. Cooke has served as a board member or officer of a Development Authority, Chambers of Commerce, human service agencies, trade associations, and a Workforce investment Board. He was the 2013 Chairperson of the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. He has provided consulting and technical assistance for several federal agencies. He has reviewed federal grant proposals for the CDFI Fund, and has been a presenter, speaker, or facilitator at a variety of conferences and events.
Kelly Cooney is a housing specialist with the Housing Assistance Council, a national nonprofit working to improve housing conditions for the rural poor. She provides technical assistance and training on housing and organizational development topics to nonprofit organizations and local governments. Kelly earned a Master of City Planning degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from Miami University.
Melanie A. Faison, is the Director – Production & Program Services for NeighborWorks Columbus. She is a business strategist and impact leader with over 20 years of experience championing organizational growth and expansion. Excels in market positioning, revenue growth, financial management and driving operational excellence. Skilled in facilitating the combination of public, private, and philanthropic capital to advance real estate development and mortgage lending. Innovative and skilled in directing and mentoring diverse teams with direct accountability to CEO and/or Board of Directors.
Dana Ingram is the Founder and Executive Director of JCVision and Associates, Inc., a faith-based 501(c)(3) organization located in Hinesville, GA. For over 15 years, she has served as a certified housing professional and has obtained her accreditation with the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE).
As a spouse of a disabled military veteran, Ms. Ingram has dedicated her life and skills in assisting consumers to identify housing and financial solutions that will develop fiscal responsibility, increase economic resources, and build wealth for an active or retired military household and the general public. Ms. Ingram holds Georgia licenses as a Residential Builder, EPA Lead Inspector and Risk Assessor. She is an Enrolled Agent as awarded by the Internal Revenue Service. She holds a Master of Science in Human Resources Management from Troy State University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Slippery Rock University. Ms. Ingram has been recognized by The White House, under President George W. Bush’s administration, for her work to increase consumer financial literacy and rural housing development within Coastal Georgia. s League’s Women of Influence “Tenured”.
Barbara Mosley resides in Laurens County and serves as the State Director for Telamon Corporation in the state of Georgia. In this capacity, she has responsibility for management oversight and implementation of workforce and career services statewide. During her tenure of over 25 years, Barbara has provided Case Management services to adults, youth, and veterans. She has also served as the state safety facilitator and housing counselor. She has received recognition for completing courses in Regional Economic and Leadership Development through Georgia Academy. She currently serves as a board member for Middle Georgia Consortium Workforce Development Board, Delta Association of Rural Initiative (DARI), Association of Farmworker Opportunity Program (AFOP), and Eastern Regional Alliance of Farmworker Advocates (ERAFA).
Elizabeth (Betsy) Wallace is a management/organizational development consultant and founder of E. Wallace Strategies. She formerly served as a Senior Relationship Manager for Partnership and Growth with NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit with a mission of creating opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives, and strengthen their communities. In her role as a Senior Relationship Manager, Betsy developed and sustained partnerships, collaborative, and alliances that expanded NeighborWorks America’s impact in under-served communities across the United States and provided organizational development, program evaluation, and governance training and consultation to network members and partner agencies. She also served as a Coach and Design Team member for NeighborWorks America’s Excellence in Growth program. Betsy earned a BS in Architecture from Georgia Tech and a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. In addition to serving on the Georgia ACT board, Betsy serves on the Executive Committee of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association Board of Trustees and volunteers with Distinguished Young Women of Georgia and Dunwoody United Methodist Church.
Ingrid Thompson began her career with Delta Airlines over 35 years ago and is currently the CEO of Nehemiah Project Community Development Corporation and the founder of Harvest Rain Early Learning Academy in Fairburn Georgia. Ingrid has been a champion in the South Fulton Community in the area of Early Childhood Development, Afterschool Enrichment, and Leadership Programs for at-risk Youth for over 19 years. Her passion and commitment to Community Development have contributed to improving the quality of life for hundreds of families in the areas of Affordable Housing, Neighborhood Revitalization, Health, Economic Development, Education and Advocacy. Ingrid has over 20 years of experience in acquisition, rehab/renovations and real-estate management.
Ingrid graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing and a Masters of Education from Regent University. She is an active leader in her church and a member of various community groups such as the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing (GICH) in Fairburn, Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. (Georgia ACT), the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), Home Repair Network; Georgia Association Young Children (GAYC), and the Georgia Child Care Association (GCCA).