National Association of State and Local Equity Funds (NASLEF) Elects New President and Officers

National Association of State and Local Equity Funds (NASLEF) Elects New President and Officers

The National Association of State and Local Equity Funds (NASLEF) recently elected new officers to serve the association over the next two years.  Ari Beliak, President and CEO of Merritt Community Capital in Oakland, California accepted the office of President succeeding Bob Newman, President and CEO of VCDC, who will serve as Past President. Incoming officers include Vice President, Catherine Cawthon, President and CEO of Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing; Secretary, Dana Boole, President and CEO of CAHEC; and Treasurer, Brett Oumedian, CFO of Cinnaire.

NASLEF is a professional, nonprofit association with 10 member funds whose mission is to promote a greater understanding of tax credit and other financing programs, to advocate for community development resources and to encourage the professional development of its member organizations all in support of the communities NASLEF members’ serve.

NASLEF’s work is fueled by its members’ leadership in affordable housing advocacy, connection with community organizations, and knowledge of local markets. These organizational attributes enable NASLEF members to invest capital in strategic community endeavors, especially in underserved markets. NASLEF was formed in 1994 to promote the efficient management of state and local mission-based funders of affordable housing. Today, NASLEF has grown in capacity and impact, broadening its focus to include community development resources while also prioritizing the professional development of its member organizations. NASLEF member funds have raised over $18.7 billion in equity capital for rental housing development throughout the country, creating or rehabilitating more than 213,392 units of affordable housing in 4,458 developments.

Newly elected president Ari Beliak joined Merritt in 2019 and under his leadership the organization’s annual investment and support of the affordable housing industry has significantly grown. Merritt closed the two largest funds in its history, raising over $450 million and bringing Merritt’s total affordable housing investment in California to over $1.2 billion and launched Commitment to California, an industry supported initiative to attract, train and retain the next generation of affordable housing leaders.

Prior to Merritt, Beliak spent seven years as Senior Vice President for Bank of America, leading the $2.2 billion financing of the nation’s largest affordable housing project, the San Francisco Rental Assistance Demonstration. Beliak’s rich background includes practicing law for Sidley Austin, serving in various real estate finance capacities at Wells Fargo Bank, and consulting for A.T. Kearney.