Monthly Archives: December 2018

CRA at a Crossroads: Understanding the Impact and Ensuring the Future of the CRA

by: Donovan Hotz ’19

On October 29th 2018, Fordham IPED along with the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, Enterprise Community Partners, and University Neighborhood Housing Program sponsored the CRA at a Crossroads Forum: Understanding the Impact and Ensuring the Future of the Community Reinvestment Act. The event, held at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus included an array of speakers including two IPED alumni: Elizabeth Strojan, VP for Government Affairs for the NYC Housing Development Corporation and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (IPED ‘13) and Will Spisak, Director of Programs at Chhaya CDC (IPED ‘14).

Following IPED Director and University Neighborhood Housing Program Vice President, Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg’s opening remarks, Martin J. Greunberg (Member of the Board of Directors, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) gave a speech entitled The Community Reinvestment Act: Its Origins, Evolution, and Future. In it he discussed the changes to the Community Reinvestment Act since its enactment in 1977 and its goal of fighting against the effects of redlining and disinvestment by obligating banks to meet local needs. Panelists included the aforementioned IPED alumni along with Jaime Weisberg, (Senior Campaign Analyst at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development) and Jim Buckley (Executive Director of University Neighborhood Housing Program).

Martin J. Gruenberg. Member of the Board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), giving the keynote address

Weisberg discussed ANHD’s work on preserving and improving the CRA. ANHD conducts research on the “State of Bank Reinvestment in NYC”, regularly comments on CRA exams, and advocates for banks to have “forward-looking CRA plans”. ANHD works towards addressing the “predatory equity” crisis and advocating for banks to engage in responsible multifamily lending to ensure that their loans do not lead to more displacement in the city.

Buckley discussed how organizers and Bronx tenants in the 1970s were able to use the CRA to improve housing conditions and in have continued to use it as a means of aligning banks with their community development efforts. Currently, UNHP promotes further improvements in financial services for Bronx residents and for targeted private investment in the area. Some of their recent work can be found and the following links: CRA’s Bronx Impact, The Bronx Banking Guide, Bronx Financial Services Survey, improved financial access for immigrants, and the impact of alternative financial services.

Conference Panelists (L-R) Elizabeth Strojan (IPED ’13), Jim Buckley, Will Spisak (IPED ’14), and Jaime Weisberg discussing the impact and future of CRA

Strojan discussed the role of the CRA in affordable housing preservation in NYC and how it leverages bank loan investments for affordable housing and allows the City’s investments to have a more meaningful impact.

Spisak discussed the benefits of the CRA for immigrant communities, especially the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities that Chhya represents in Queens. Additionally, he touched on the importance of working towards providing more banking and loan services for small businesses.


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IPED Career Trip in Washington D.C.

by: Patrick Fernandez ’20

Last November 15-16, the 2020 IPED cohort went to Washington DC for meetings with different government agencies and non-profit organizations. The trip started with a meeting with Tracy O’Heir ’06 and Sarah Weber ’05 who are working at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). They shared about the type of work that they do in USAID, as well as the trajectory of their careers so far. They also gave tips to IPED students on what they need to focus on if they want to work for government organizations such as USAID that is involved in international development work. They particularly advised the students to be able to develop critical thinking, and writing skills. They also recommended students to study French which is useful for international development work. They shared how their work in the government helps them to balance their work and personal lives.

Tracy O’Heir ’06 (left) and Sarah Weber ’05 (right) sharing their experiences with first-year IPED students

The students then had lunch at the Department of Agriculture’s cafeteria. They then met with Brian Dutoi ’14, Jane Wilkins ’05, and Matthew Pavone ’07 who are working at the Department of Agriculture. They discussed about the different aspects of work that the department is doing, as well as its impact on the American people. They shared how their work relies heavily on economics but having a background in political science helped them in their work in the government – an advantage that IPED students get in their studies. Many students were also particularly interested in the foreign agricultural service of USDA.


First year IPED students at the Department of Agriculture

After a day of meetings, the students went to Tortilla Coast for an alumni dinner event. Several alumni who are working in Washington DC came to the dinner. The alumni shared conversations with the students especially about their time with IPED, and their professional careers. It was a night filled with overflowing food, fun, and conversations.

The next day, the students went to see Cameron Hinkson ’13 from Chemonics. Chemonics is a private international development company that works in 150 countries for government agencies and nonprofits. Most of their projects are funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Mr. Hinkson shared about the impact that they’ve done in developing countries. He also shared how he was able to shift his career to the development sector through Chemonics.

Cameron Hinkson ’13 sharing his experience working for Chemonics

First year IPED students at Chemonics


After a stop at the White House, the students went to the Elephant and Castle Restaurant to have lunch and to meet with Constance Handley ’97 and Patrick O’Connor  ’09 who are working at the Department of Commerce. They shared about the role that they play for the government as well as how it affects American traders. They particularly highlighted how IPED students can utilize both their skills in economics and political science in the government. They also shared how their work is quantitative heavy and the importance of SAS to analyze data. Samantha Kinney ’18 was also there to share her experience working for the government while being a Presidential Management Fellow. She shared her experience, and some tips, for applying to the Presidential Management Fellowship. They shared the different avenues on how students can apply for a government job like applying through the portal. They particularly recommended though, to apply to the Presidential Management Fellowship if the students really want to work for the government.

Constance Handley ’97 (top), Patrick O’Connor ’09 (middle), and Samantha Kinney ’18 (bottom) speaking to IPED students about their work in the government


IPED students having lunch with alumni

The students ended their trip with a tour of the US Capitol courtesy of the office of Senator Chuck Schumer.



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Winter Merienda 2018

Congratulations to the IPED class of 2017!

Clare Pressimone ’19 and Ean Tierney ’19 as hosts for this year’s merienda

Fr. Joseph McShane giving the welcoming remarks

(L-R) Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg, Brian Harper ’19, Elly Reserva ’19, and Donna Mae Odra. Brian and Elly are this year’s Matteo Ricci Award Recipients

Brian Harper ’19 and Mariam Tabatadze ’19 dazzled and entertained the crowd with their musical performance

Dr. Jonathan Crystal giving the remarks on behalf of the IPED faculty

IPED Class of 2019 presented their gift for IPED


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Recap and Response: The Impact of Technology and Globalization

by: Paul Michael ’20

Globalization and the information technology revolution are two inextricable phenomena that have far-reaching impacts on virtually every aspect of human life. On October 30th, a panel of experts in political science, economics, sociology and anthropology gathered to discuss the different forces of change that individuals, families and societies continue to reconcile with their lives and livelihoods. The event was co-sponsored by the Fordham IPED program and Touro college, with professors from both universities giving presentations on academic papers that they have written in conjunction with the event.

The morning session provided a holistic view of how globalization and technology are shaping social institutions. Dr. Ida Bastiaens, professor of political science at Fordham, offered an analysis of how the developed and developing world have been affected from a political perspective. Dr. Erick Rengifo, from Fordham’s economics department, elaborated on the forces of global economic convergence that have resulted in monopolistic competition and disruption in global job markets, amongst other outcomes. He reported that 375 million global workers will have to change occupations thanks to the technological revolution. Moving to a microeconomic level, Fordham sociology professor, Dr. Matthew Weinshenker, illustrated how this economic pressure influences families. Families often opt for dual employment in an hourglass economy in which inequality in incomes is growing. Parents experience greater anxiety over the economic future of their children in a more globally competitive and changing job market. Finally, Touro sociology professor, Dr. Deborah Ratti, explained how biotechnological innovation has contributed to an untenable scientific worldview devoid of personal meaning, driving a greater felt need for individual spirituality.

A consistent theme of all the presentations is the double edged sword that technological innovation and global economic integration have brought. On one hand, both  promise a world of maximum economic efficiency, spurring humanity to produce more goods and service at lower costs than ever before. Biotechnology has provided hope through reproductive technology and extending human longevity. The human race is more connected than ever before and societies are more transparent with the rapid transmission of information via social networks. And yet, these efficiencies have not come without negative externalities. Technology continues to cause economic disruption and foster economic inequality. Public confidence and participation in global democracies is low. Families are anxious and individuals are isolated. The sweeping and rapid pace of change is driving people to seek answers to its accompanying existential crisis.

Globalization and technological innovation have benefited humanity on a scale that few would have dreamed possible just 50 years ago. But like any paradigm shifting economic force, it brings with it a high level of uncertainty for the future. One can only hope that individuals and societies will find a way to overcome these challenges and leverage these forces for the greatest social good for the many and not just the few.

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