The Ventura County Community Development Corporation (VCCDC) is enormously proud to honor Ms. Bertha Garcia on her 30th anniversary of working in the affordable housing industry.
Ms. Garcia has led VCCDC since it was founded in 2001 in collaboration with the late Rodney Fernandez, a leader and fearless advocate in the affordable housing industry. Ms. Garcia started her career at Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, also founded by Mr. Fernandez, in 1988, helping to build organizational capacity in several areas as part of the Senior Management team. One of her first challenges was to design and implement a multi-purpose center to create opportunities for low-to moderate income first-time home buyers, by providing them with pre-purchase classes and one-on-one counseling as well as access to affordable capital in the form of down payment assistance and low-interest first mortgage financing. This center is now known as the VCCDC Homeownership Center.
In 2008, she was appointed as VCCDC’s Executive Director by the Board and during the following years, Ms. Garcia further deepened her knowledge and experience as a non-profit administrator. She went on to become the chief architect of VCCDC’s mortgage lending operation and she successfully grew the organization and developed it to the strong organization it is today. Since then, not only has Ms. Garcia run the complex day to day operations, she has also developed multiple programs, ensured achievement of corporate goals, she has reached out and represented the organization to the broader community, and most importantly dedicated her career to helping carry out Mr. Fernandez’s vision of providing families with decent and affordable housing. Ms. Garcia’s relentless drive to empower struggling families to better themselves economically was, and continues to be, her passion.
In the past 30 years, Ms. Garcia has been instrumental in assisting thousands of families
achieve the dream of homeownership and financial stability through VCCDC’s unique services ranging from basic financial instruction to mortgage lending including down payment assistance. Under her leadership, VCCDC has become a fully functioning Homeownership Center, it has earned the designation of a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and it has been certified by the U. S. Dep artment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide counseling services. Ms. Garcia has worked tirelessly to address the growing homeownership affordability gap facing very low, low, and moderate income families living in Ventura County by providing them with access to amortized and deferred subordinate loans made possible through capital raised from financial institutions, intermediaries, foundations, municipalities, and state and federal government.
More recently, with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Ms. Garcia spearheaded the creation of the Family Financial Well Being Collaborative (FFWBC) which was created to outreach and serve even more families who are need of additional wrap around services such as child care, small business loans or access to essential medical services.
In addition to the creation of the FFWBC, earlier this year, Ms. Garcia was also approached by the same Federal Reserve Bank, the FDIC and the OCC to host a special area Disaster Recovery Forum. Through this Forum, Ms. Garcia was able to bring together over 75 representativ es from local agencies ranging from Ventura County Human Services to community leaders and area Supervisors. Thanks to her community involvement and outreach, Ms. Garcia was also able to bring in representatives from USDA, FEMA and HUD in order to pool available resources in favor of assisting those affected directly and indirectly by the recent Thomas Fire. Through this and other efforts a total of $800,000 has been committed to our community for disaster recovery.
Whether it is through VCCDC’s work, the FFWBC or the recent Disaster Recovery Forum, Ms. Garcia has always had the community in her best interest.
VCCDC’s Board of Directors and Staff are extremely grateful and appreciative to work with such as a selfless, giving and humble person such as Ms. Garcia. She is a tireless and devoted advocate for family well-being and an exceptional example to follow.
Happy 30th Anniversary Bertha!