Staff

Tom Willard

President and Founder of FFAH – Senior
Tom has accumulated over 40 years of experience in real estate development and consulting. During his 25-year tenure with the Foundation, Tom has supervised the acquisition and development of almost 5,000 units of affordable senior housing using commercial lenders, tax credits, and tax-exempt bonds. Tom holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Montana, with a focus in Business Management, Economics, and Marketing. He also served as an officer in the United States Army.

Deborrah Willard

President and Founder of FFAH – Family
Deborrah has overseen the acquisition and development of more than 6,800 units of affordable family housing during her 25-year tenure with the Foundation. She is responsible for business development, contract negotiations, and community and partnership relations. She received a B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Deborrah also is the president of Embrace, the resident services arm of the Foundation. Embrace serves family and senior communities in California and North Carolina.

Darrin Willard

Chief Operating Officer
Darrin oversees the company’s operations as well as acquisitions, dispositions, and debt/equity structuring. Prior to joining the Foundation, Darrin was co-founder and managing principle of SureHarbor, LLC, a consulting firm representing developers and nonprofits in structuring public finance. Darrin has planned and implemented over $600 million in tax-exempt bond and tax credit transactions. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis on Real Estate finance and a minor in Law and Public Policy from the University of Southern California.

Jason Acosta

Director of Asset Management – Partnership Portfolio

Jason directs our asset management team by implementing comprehensive asset management plans, conducting financial reviews, and overseeing onsite physical evaluations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jason was an integral part of the asset management team at National CORE, the affordable housing division at JRK Residential Group, and Sentinel Real Estate Corporation. Jason holds a BS degree and an MBA from Caldwell College of New Jersey, as well as several real estate designations, including Certified Property Manager® (CPM®), Accredited Residential Manager (ARM®), National Affordable Housing Professional–Executive(NAHP-e), and Specialist Housing Credit Professional (SHCM®). Jason currently serves on the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) Policy Subcommittee Advisory Board, and serves as an active mentor for the All Ways Up Foundation’s Scholars.

Tommy Waldron

Director of Asset Management – Wholly Owned Portfolio

Tommy brings a triple bottom line focus to the operational oversight and asset positioning of our wholly owned properties. Prior to joining Foundation, he was a co-founder of Cardinal Group, where he oversaw operational growth, asset management, and construction management teams. Tommy holds a B.S in Business with a Major in Finance and Minor in Entrepreneurship from Miami University of Ohio. Tommy is currently pursuing his Master’s in Real Estate from Georgetown University.

Mike Ristow

Asset Manager
Mike serves as Asset Manager for our Northern California properties. After Graduation from Montana State University with a BS in Mechanical Technology, Mike was a pilot for Northwest Airlines from 1968 to 2005, starting on the Boeing 707 and retiring as a 747-400 Captain. During that span of 37 years, Mike served as the Chairman of the Board of the Airport Community Counseling Office, the Airport Chaplaincy in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Mike also was heavily involved in work for the Airline Pilots Association, serving as a Contract Administrator, and three elected terms as a Captain Representative to the ALPA Board of Director’s. From 1998 to 2006 Mike served on the Northwest Airlines Board of Directors.

Brian Jacobson

Associate Asset Manager
Brian is the newest member of the Foundation’s Asset Management team. As Associate Asset Manager, he oversees an extensive portfolio of our California properties and plays an integral role in ensuring those properties remain financially healthy and stable for the long term. Brian’s previous experience includes business administration, accounting, construction and project management. Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California State University, Fullerton, and he is currently pursuing several real estate designations with local affordable housing associations, which include Tax Credit Specialist (TCS), Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) & Asset Management Specialist (AMS). He has volunteered as a softball and Little League baseball coach for more than ten years and has served as Treasurer for his home owners’ association.

Stanford Smith, J.D.,

In-house Counsel
Stan addresses a wide range of legal issues facing the Foundation: protecting our nonprofit status; qualifying for governmental financing and property tax exemptions; reviewing documents; and, contributing to management’s growth plans. During his 43-year legal career, Stan has counselled private and public companies in a variety of industries, lectured internationally in strategic planning, taught as an adjunct professor University of Utah College of Business, served in the Utah House of Representatives, and spent 11 years as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Tracy Canepa

Director of Resident Services
Tracy designs and implements resident services programs; develops community partnerships; seeks program grants; and trains, employs, and oversees onsite service coordinators. She is a member of the American Association of Services Coordinators and a board member on the Resident Services Support Network in San Diego. Tracy holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Arts and Sciences Liberal Studies degree and an Elementary Education Teaching Credential from San Diego State University.

Jackie Chamberlin

Senior Accountant

Jackie is responsible for the accounting function for all FFAH entities. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jackie worked in accounting and taxation at several large entities including PricewaterhouseCoppers and Ernst and Young. Jackie is a CPA and holds a Masters in Taxation from USC and a MBA from Pepperdine University.

Melissa Vincent

Transaction Manager

Melissa supervises the Foundation’s Transaction Management department, which is responsible for serving as the primary liaison between our partners, lenders, counsel, state and local agencies to provide the timely completion of new transactional requirements, as well as the ongoing maintenance of existing partnerships. Melissa has a paralegal certificate from University of California, Irvine and has worked in various realms of the real estate and mortgage world for the past 17years.

Mei Luu

Transaction Coordinator
Mei is the Transaction Coordinator for the Foundation. Her responsibilities include collaborating with partners, lenders, and agencies to complete applications and handle due diligence requests for new, as well as existing transactions. Along with those duties, works on the periodic filings required by the state and county municipalities to obtain property tax exemption. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mei was an Assistant Vice President at Deutsche Bank where she closed and administered over 100 asset-backed securities. She was responsible for working with outside counsel, transaction managers and client counterparts to negotiate terms in transaction documents in multi-billion dollar securitizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gisselle Picard

Transaction Coordinator
In Gisselle’s role as a Transaction Coordinator, she works with internal staff as well as outside parties to ensure a smooth closing and continued maintenance of the welfare exemption status of the Foundation’s portfolio of properties. Prior to joining the Foundation, Gisselle was an Associate at Deutsche Bank for over 10 years where she closed and administered commercial and residential trusts. Gisselle has her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and her Master in Business Administration from the University of LaVerne.

Ariana Urbina

Office Manager

Ariana serves as Office Manager at the Foundation. In her role, she provides administrative support to all departments, organizes and coordinates office procedures, plans events, acts as a liaison between IT related issues, and maintains the company’s website and social media accounts. She also supports external functions by providing prospective residents with the resources they need in their search for affordable housing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences degree from San Diego State University. Ariana has a passion for nonprofit work, and has volunteered for the La Jolla Braille Institute, the City of Upland, and the Mission Valley YMCA.