Susanna Cropped HeadshotSusanna Penfield, Americorps VISTA

Susanna joined NACEDA in June of 2020 as the Thriving Networks VISTA. During her service year, she will work with staff to continue strengthening NACEDA’s Thriving Networks program. Her primary responsibilities include providing peer-to-peer capacity building opportunities, completing the Family Portrait research project, and building and systematizing the administrative processes for NACEDA events, including the 2020 NACEDA Summit and People & Places 2021.

Having grown up in a small town in rural Vermont, Susanna is deeply familiar with the power of strong community ties and locally-grounded initiatives. She graduated this past spring from Colorado College, where she double majored in Political Science and Feminist and Gender Studies. While an undergraduate, she held leadership roles in the writing community and as co-chair of the college's student-run Title IX team, using both platforms to engage underrepresented groups in campus conversations. She is excited to continue these efforts on a national level with NACEDA, and help facilitate peer learning between community development groups across the country.

Contact Susanna

[email protected]

(202) 518-2660, ext. 4


Frank Woodruff HeadshotFrank Woodruff, Executive Director 

Frank Woodruff’s passion is to improve lives by inspiring great places. Frank joined the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) in September 2010, becoming executive director in January 2012. He is dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities facing our country’s low- and moderate-income communities. Frank thoroughly enjoys leading NACEDA and wakes up every day with renewed resolve, committing his career to community prosperity and equity whether in the public, philanthropic, governmental, or private sector.

Frank holds an Executive Education Certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, an MA in public policy from George Washington University, and a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His publications include The Mortgage Interest Deduction: An Example of Upside Down Federal Government Housing Subsidy, Transforming Community Development through Arts and Culture: State Policy Innovations to Support Creative Placemaking published in the Community Development Innovation Review of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He co-authored two essays entitled “Redlining,” which were published inThe American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty and in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies.

Contact Frank

[email protected]
(202) 518-2660, ext. 2

Suzanne Gunther headshot

Suzanne Gunther, Communications Director

Suzanne is deeply committed to increasing prosperity in low-wealth places for the people who live and work there. Through communications and event management, she strives facilitate the exchange of ideas, resources, and relationships among the community development field. At NACEDA, Suzanne has developed a passion for improving the social determinants of health. She works to move forward partnerships between the community development and health sectors. 

Suzanne has more than 25 years of experience in housing and community development. She was Senior Associate at Communi-k, Inc., a public relations and event management firm specializing in housing. Clients included the National Housing Conference, Innovative Housing Institute, Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers, and Community Preservation and Development Corp. At Communi-k, Suzanne wrote articles for special sections of the Washington Post on everything from finding a job in cyber security to home décor. She got her start in the field at the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, Maryland where she publicized the benefits of mixed-income housing, ran the agency's Good Neighbor Program, and directed events including the county's Annual Affordable Housing Conference. Suzanne is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

Contact Suzanne

[email protected].org
(202) 518-2660, ext. 2


Jeremy Brownlee Headshot

Jeremy Brownlee, Membership Director

Jeremy joined NACEDA in October 2015. As membership director, he is responsible for keeping the membership connected through regional caucus meetings and peer groups, the biannual NACEDA Summit, and the collaboratively-led People & Places event. Jeremy also builds thriving networks through NACEDA's Creative Places initiative that helps members integrate arts and culture into their community development networks and through NACEDA's own Thriving Networks Assessment, a service that helps community development networks prioritize resources, identify strengths, and plan to address challenges.

Born and raised in Indiana, Jeremy previously worked within Prosperity Indiana, a NACEDA member, serving as the dedicated staff person for the Indianapolis Coalition for Neighborhood Development. Jeremy is proud of his two terms in AmeriCorps as a Public Ally, a program focused on community development and nonprofit leadership.

Jeremy earned a Master's Degree in Community Learning and Development from the University of Glasgow and is trained in Technologies of Participation facilitation. He co-authored Transforming Community Development through Arts and Culture: State Policy Innovations to Support Creative Placemaking published in the Community Development Innovation Review of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Contact Jeremy

[email protected]
(202) 518-2660, ext. 3