Our Staff

Joe Di Fiore (he/him)

Executive Director - On Leave

After more than three years of being a volunteer organization, Joe became our first staff member & Executive Director. Active in the Rochester community, Joe volunteers with the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition on the board of directors as well as with the boards of Peace Village, and the Urban League of Rochester Economic Development Corporation. He's also vice-president of the School 33 PTA, runs the Beechwood repair clinic for R Community Bikes, and is a founding member of the Little Flower Community. Joe's hobbies include judo, brazilian jiu-jitsu, bike riding, historic preservation, and spending time with his amazing family.

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Graham Hughes (he/him)

Co-Director

Graham grew up in the Syracuse area and moved to Rochester after he graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2017 to work for RMAPI. Before joining City Roots as a staff member, Graham completed his Master's Degree in Adult Education & Community Development at the University of Toronto. He has been a member of City Roots since November 2017.

Amber Powers (she/her)

Co-Director

Amber grew up in Maplewood and is a proud city resident and supporter of the local environmental and housing justice movements. She holds degrees in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo and Teaching English as a New Language from Nazareth, and received a Fulbright Scholarship for work in Nepal from 2011-2012. Amber is a founding board member of Taproot Collective and serves on the Rochester Market Driven Community Corporation board.

Edan Lambright (she/her)

Rochester Youth Year AmeriCorps VISTA
Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Edan graduated from the University of Rochester in 2022 with a degree in Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies and Environment & Society. She’s working with City Roots Community Land Trust and Taproot Collective for the 2022-2023 Rochester Youth Year AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Elected Board of Directors

Our board reflects that of a traditional community land trust with a tri-partite board consisting of 1) Lessee Representatives, 2) General Community Representatives, and 3) Public Representatives. Control of the CLT’s board is balanced to ensure that the community as a whole considers and determines the priorities of the organization and all interests are heard but no interest is predominant.

Lessee Representatives

Individuals that are Land Trust residents and live in City Roots CLT housing, or are elected to represent CLT residents. These representatives bring knowledge and real-life stories that are valuable to the CLT.

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Elizabeth McGriff

President
Term Ending First Quarter 2025

Wanda Cooper

Wanda Cooper

Lessee Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2025

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Ana Martinez

Lessee Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2023

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Vanessa Santiago

Lessee Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2024

General Community Representatives

Individuals that live in the communities where City Roots CLT works. These individuals bring valuable knowledge of the community at large.

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Doreen Young

Community Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2023

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Keturah Bixby

Community Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2025

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Burt Betchart

Treasurer
Term Ending First Quarter 2023

Public Representatives

Most of these individuals are professionally employed with prior board experience. They often provide valuable knowledge of resources that can be utilized by the CLT.

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Victor Sanchez

Vice President
Term Ending First Quarter 2024

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Shane Wiegand

Public Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2025

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Stanley Martin

Public Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2024

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Melissa Marquez

Public Representative
Term Ending First Quarter 2023

In Memoriam: A Warm Tribute to Our Forever Board Member

Wallace R. Smith will forever be remembered as a founding leader of City Roots Community Land Trust. He served on the first Board of Directors and completed his final term just days before he was called home on March 22, 2021 at the age of 78.

 

We are filled with gratitude for the life and leadership of Wallace Smith. We are grateful to his family and friends who helped get him to meetings for as long as he could. We will honor and remember him and continue to learn from his way of living and leading. THANK YOU WALLACE!

 

These are the words of those of us who benefited from Wallace’s leadership and wisdom:

"It is an honor for me to take a moment of remembrance posting this testimony as a fitting tribute to Elder Statesman, fellow Member of the Board of Directors of the Land Trust, Brother Wallace R. Smith. It was his advocacy and strong support of City Roots Community Land Trust which influenced my interest and subsequent involvement. He spoke about the importance of community control of the land, development without displacement, gentrification, redlining, racial covenants and the concept of the land trust as a solution to change, home ownership and building wealth for the communities and people most impacted by poverty and systemic racism. Backed by his long history and work as a community advocate and activist, Brother Wallace was a strong and very well known presence for economic equity, justice and education, collective work and community building and the work of City Roots-Community Land Trust. Our Brother and colleague will be missed and we are most grateful for his contributions to the work of City Roots Community Land Trust, Inc. and our work here in the City of Rochester, NY.

Dr. Rev. Cynthia Cole