Sara M. Sheets, Executive Director, has spent twenty years working to improve urban neighborhoods. She began her career with Teach for America in South-Central Los Angeles as an elementary school teacher in a bilingual classroom. After earning her teaching credential and seeing the challenges her students and their families faced, she decided to work towards improving the quality of life in low and moderate income neighborhoods. She earned an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, focused on housing and community development.
She returned to Cincinnati in the mid-1990s and worked as a Legislative Aide to Mayor Roxanne Qualls and later, as Assistant Director of Miami Purchase Preservation Fund, a community development corporation in the West End. From 2003-2011, she managed projects for a variety of Cincinnati neighborhoods, community development corporations, and larger community institutions, including Xavier University’s Community Building Institute, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Housing Partners, the College Hill CURC, the Roselawn CURC, the Madisonville CURC and the Westwood CURC.
In 2011, Ms. Sheets convinced MCURC to take a more active role in the neighborhood. She led a community-driven planning process from late 2011 through 2012, resulting in the neighborhood’s Quality-of-Life Plan and became MCURC’s first Executive Director in 2013. She holds a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA.
She lives with her husband and two children in Madisonville.
Matt first took an interest in community development in high school when he volunteered to rehab houses and give speeches in support of ReSTOC and the Drop-Inn Center in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood. In college he turned his interest in historic architecture into an internship in the Urban Conservator’s office. In 1990, Matt started on a two-track path of community development and theology when he began his Religious Studies major at about the same time he started rehabbing houses for the Camp Washington Community Board. He continued community development work in Newark, New Jersey as a VISTA and while completing his master’s degree at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he specialized in 19th Century German religious criticism. In 1998 he began teaching a variety of courses as an adjunct at Mt. St. Joseph University specializing in World Religions. Matt joined Price Hill Will in 2005 when he got their Buy-Improve-Sell program off the ground. He also headed efforts to tackle issues of vacant and nuisance properties as well as boosting home sales. He then worked to promote the neighborhood. Matt joined MCURC in April 2013 to lead our real estate development and marketing efforts.
Liz joined the MCURC team in October 2017 after working for over 12 years in the nonprofit sector in Michigan. Her experience includes 5 years of providing human resource management and finance assisting for a large community development corporation focused on affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.
Liz earned a certificate in nonprofit management and a B.A. in Writing from Grand Valley State University. In her spare time, Liz enjoys visiting family and friends (both near and far), hiking (near water, if possible), and exploring new places (especially if there’s food involved).