Acting Vice President, National Real Estate Programs
Frances Ferguson became interested in housing during college as an officer of the housing/dining co-op system. In her first job, she traveled the country, met with a number of co-ops, and decided to make her career in affordable housing. She explains, "Housing can be a platform for community, personal well-being and success—not just shelter."
Frances served as the founding executive director of NeighborWorks network member Foundation Communities in Texas, pioneering the service-enhanced rental housing at scale in the Austin and Dallas-Ft.Worth markets. NeighborWorks America played a key role in the creation of Foundation Communities as part of their initiative to form "mutual housing organizations" around the country, which resulted in a number of successful NeighborWorks organizations.
Frances was hired at NeighborWorks America to head up a new multi-family initiative. She describes the shared values of the Initiative approach to housing as, "the three legs of the stool: physically appealing, socially beneficial and financially sound." The Multifamily Initiative led to the formation of NeighborWorks Capital, one of the two organizations that make loans to the NeighborWorks network supporting affordable real estate development. Over time, she helped create programs at NeighborWorks America that strengthened the financial position of network organizations, including asset management services and the Strength Matters initiative focused on Chief Financial Officers. She also helped create quality resident service standards to drive outcomes-oriented programs at rental developments, such as after-school programs to achieve academic success and financial capability programs to raise credit scores and prevent evictions.
Frances holds her master's degree in business from the University of Texas at Austin, and her bachelor's degree from Oberlin College. Currently, she volunteers as president of the board of HousingWorks Austin and is active in her church, Central Presbyterian.