Center For Neighborhoods names new Executive Director

The fourth executive director in organization’s 43 year history

LOUISVILLE, KY. (Feb. 26, 2015): Founded in 1972, the Center For Neighborhoods (CFN) has had steady leadership throughout its 43 year history.  CFN recently named Tom Stephens as the new Executive Director, the fourth director in the organization’s history.

In June 2013, Jack Trawick announced his retirement after 33 years of service to CFN.  The Board of Directors hired Rosanne Kruzich to serve as the Interim Executive Director while they organized a search committee, prepared a new job description and launched a nationwide search for new leadership.

“This position is so crucial to the success of our mission that we took our time to find the perfect candidate.  That time resulted in CFN hiring a dynamic leader that will be a community builder for our entire region.”  Said Gordon Garner, the Chair of the CFN Board of Directors.

Tom Stephens will serve as the next Executive Director of the Louisville-based nonprofit Center For Neighborhoods.  Tom has experience in public sector and nonprofit neighborhood revitalization planning.  He has extensive experience in grassroots community efforts and local economic development planning in Louisville, Philadelphia, PA, Richmond, VA and Savannah, GA.  Tom’s experience includes comprehensive neighborhood planning, affordable housing initiatives, commercial corridor renewal, community assessment & data analysis and micro-enterprise development.   He holds a Bachelor of Urban Planning & Development from Ball State University and a M.S. in Urban Economic Development from Eastern University.  Tom enjoys sports, the outdoors and spending time with his wife and four children.

 “Tom hit the ground running.  He attended our South Louisville Business Association (SLBA) meeting in January when he had just taken the Executive Director position and only been in town a week. SLBA wanted to learn more about how our business association could make stronger connections to the neighbors who are our customers and the neighborhood association.  Tom shared some strategies for our business association to explore.  I believe he will be a huge asset to capacity building in our community,” said Mary Anne Tinnell, with the South Louisville Business Association.

Currently, CFN is holding the 28th class of their flagship training program called the Neighborhood Institute.  The Neighborhood Institute is a 12-week course that helps grassroots leaders learn how to build healthy, sustainable and attractive neighborhoods through engaged, informed and committed neighbors.  One of the current class members, Debbie Maize, introduced Tom Stephens to Louisville neighborhoods and to his wife in 2002.  “Tom is a gifted urban planner and a natural community builder.  During our Neighborhood Institute sessions, I value Tom’s expressed notes of insight and appreciate him for making strong connections with the attendees as well as the presenters,” said Maize.

This month Tom met with Metro Council President David Tandy to share his vision for Louisville’s neighborhoods. “The city is fortunate to have attracted this very talented leader back to Louisville,” said the President. “Many of our neighborhoods continue to retain their uniqueness and offer stability as a safe place to live and raise a family. My colleagues and I look forward to working with Tom in his new position as we partner with our neighborhoods to move our entire city forward.”

Tom understands the importance of neighborhoods and the role the Center For Neighborhoods has played in strengthening our neighborhoods.  “I am so thankful for the legacy of great neighborhood leadership in Louisville, from Jack Trawick to resident leaders city-wide.  I am incredibly exited for the future of Louisville’s neighborhoods thanks to the existing and emerging leaders we have in neighborhoods, businesses, non-profits and government today. Great neighborhoods are the building blocks of great cities. Louisville has wonderful neighborhoods and even greater potential. That is why my family and I came back to Louisville and that is why the work of the Center For Neighborhoods matters more now than ever before,” said Tom Stephens.

Gordon Garner, CFN Board Chair, said “The CFN search committee wanted to choose a candidate who could hit the ground running on day one.  Tom certainly has done that.  Within the first two months of his leadership, Tom developed a new web site for the organization  

(  He also wrote and designed the 2014 CFN Annual Report ( With a leader like Tom Stephens in place, the Center For Neighborhoods is poised to build healthy, sustainable and attractive Neighborhoods through engaged, informed and committed neighbors for another 40 years.”


About the Center for Neighborhoods

For over 40 years the Center For Neighborhoods (formerly the Louisville Community Design Center) has cultivated grassroots leadership, facilitated civic dialogue amongst stakeholders, provided leadership education, partnered with neighborhoods in community planning efforts and actively participated in neighborhood-based development & improvement projects.

We envision a greater Louisville community with caring and empowered people and civic institutions working in partnership with local government to renew and build neighborhoods that are healthy, sustainable and attractive. CFN’s work is more important today than ever before as long-term and relocating residents and businesses seek out economically, physically and socially sustainable neighborhoods to call home.