About Cynthia Russell

CrossSector Partners

Cynthia Russell is a nonprofit management specialist with more than 30 years experience operating nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Her clients include nonprofit organizations working on affordable housing, immigration, social services, arts, and community development issues.

Executive Positions: Cynthia previously served as President and CEO of Connecticut Housing Investment Fund (CHIF), a statewide Community Development Financial Institution providing affordable housing financing and services throughout Connecticut. During her 9 years as CEO, Cynthia raised more than $25 million in financing for CHIF’s operations and loan programs. She also doubled the income of its profitable social enterprise, a loan servicing business that provided more than 60% of the organization’s operating income.

Nonprofit Sector Knowledge:

  • From 2009 to 2011, Cynthia served on the board of the New Hampshire Disaster Animal Response Team (NHDART), and raised operating funds to launch the organization’s start up activities.
  • Cynthia served as Deputy Commissioner of Housing and Community Development in Westchester County, New York where she managed the county’s $10 million housing and community development program and worked with nonprofit organizations and municipal governments. She also held positions as Vice President for Planning and Development for a nonprofit Medicaid managed care health insurance company, and as a program analyst with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Cynthia also was the fundraising and public relations director for the Bay Area nonprofit Sempervirens Fund and was an intern with the Palo Alto Housing Corporation. She also served as the first administrator of the Stanford University Clayman Institute for Gender Research and managed the Institute (formerly named the Center Research on Women) from 1974 to 1976.

Teaching Positions: Together with the Norwalk Community College (NCC) Extended Studies and Workforce Development Program, Cynthia developed the new Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program at NCC. The program provides an opportunity for individuals working or volunteering in the sector to learn more about the issues facing nonprofits. She currently teaches two courses and conducts workshops on nonprofit operations and fund development planning.

Board Positions: Cynthia volunteers with a number of nonprofit organizations, and is on the Advisory Board of the Stanford University Clayman Institute and the Board of Overseers at Hancock Shaker Village. She was a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Community Development Advisory Board, and served as Secretary of the Connecticut CDFI Alliance and as Vice Chairman of the Connecticut Housing Coalition Board of Directors.

Education and Certifications: Cynthia has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Stanford University. She is certified as a BoardSource Nonprofit Board Educator and by AFP in Fundraising Fundamentals, and completed The Support Center’s Interim Executive Director training program. She also completed the Community Wealth Ventures Social Enterprise Business Planning training.

Top of Page