Who We Are

Lotus Campaign is a nonprofit engaging the private sector to solve homelessness in a whole new way.

Lotus Campaign’s founders and advisers are experts in private-sector real estate, urban planning, community development, finance, sustainability, homelessness, and affordable housing. Together with real estate developers, landlords, service providers, and philanthropists, we have formed a partnership of unexpected allies to solve the supposedly “unsolvable” epidemic of homelessness.

Our Origin Story

Lotus was born out of both optimism and frustration. Our founders, who were serving on an advisory panel about homelessness and real estate, noticed that the team of experts had only one person representing the real estate industry. They wondered what would happen if an economic lens was applied to solving homelessness? They wanted to understand why landlords wouldn’t rent to people experiencing homelessness.

They called developers and landlords. Everyone had the same list of hurdles — Who’s going to pay rent? My property managers aren’t social workers. What happens if something goes wrong?

That’s when our founders went to work figuring out how to overcome those barriers through economic guarantees, financial incentives, and strong partnerships with social services organizations. The result is Lotus — a partnership of unexpected allies — landlords, real estate developers, investors and the social sector working together to solve homelessness in a new way.

Our Name

Lotus flowers grow from mud. Nothing is more analogous to mud than the way homelessness mires individual lives and our society. Lotus flowers symbolize hope and the promise of regeneration. The kind of regeneration the Lotus Campaign is working to create for individuals and communities.

Lotus Leadership

Executive Team

Beth Silverman

Executive Director
Home: Asheville, N.C.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
—Dolly Parton

Beth is one of Lotus Campaign’s four cofounders. Responsible for the strategic vision and impact of the organization, she is a senior practitioner and thought leader at the intersections of social impact, urban planning, real estate development and public policy.

Beth Silverman is the Executive Director and one of the three cofounders of Lotus Campaign and responsible for the strategic vision and impact of the organization. She is a senior practitioner and thought leader at the intersections of social impact, urban planning, real estate development and public policy. Beth’s career includes leadership roles in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors focused on building livable, equitable and resilient communities. Prior to Lotus, she served as Vice President of Advisory Services at the Urban Land Institute designing technical assistance programs that addressed a range of challenges from equitable urban redevelopment to planning for resilience. She also served as an Assistant Vice President with the NYC Economic Development Corporation during Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, managing a $110 million portfolio of 10 projects that created mixed-income housing, including over 300 units of affordable housing, five new cultural assets, and 16,000 square feet of high-quality public space. Beth holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and a graduate degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. When not working, Beth can usually be found outside running, biking, surfing, and hiking, and generally encouraging friends and family to enjoy the great outdoors with as much unabashed enthusiasm as she does.

Read More

Holly Calvasina

Director of Development
Home: Charlotte, N.C.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
—James Baldwin

Holly oversees fundraising, connecting supporters with opportunities to build a better world, and serves as a public advocate for Lotus Campaign’s work. Prior to joining Lotus, Holly served as Development Director at CHOICES Center for Tennessee Reproductive Health.

Holly Calvasina serves as Lotus Campaign’s Direct of Development. In this role, Holly is responsible for overseeing fundraising operations, connecting supporters with meaningful opportunities to build the world they want to live in, and serving as a public advocate for Lotus Campaign’s work. Prior to joining Lotus, Holly served as Development Director at CHOICES Center for Reproductive Health in Memphis, Tennessee. She holds a BA in English Literature with a minor in gender studies, an MA in English Literature with a concentration in African American Literature, a master’s degree in public administration, and a graduate certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. Outside the office, you can find Holly reading, hiking, loving every dog she’s ever met, and traveling with her spouse.

Read More

Agustina Lotts

Executive Assistant
Home: Asheville, N.C.

“If this is what we’ve got, why not make the best of it?”

Agustina is responsible for critical operational functions that help Lotus Campaign run efficiently and effectively. Beyond her administrative duties, Agustina helps implement strategic initiatives and facilitate seamless communications between team members and external stakeholders.

Agustina Lotts is Lotus Campaign’s Executive assistant and responsible for numerous critical operational functions that help the organization run efficiently and effectively. Beyond her administrative duties, Agustina helps implementing strategic initiatives and facilitating seamless communications between team members and external stakeholders. Prior to Lotus Campaign, Agustina gained experience providing comprehensive support to executives at Huntington National Bank, JP Morgan Chase and the Mayo Clinic. She holds a degree in Journalism & Broadcasting from ETER School of Communications in Buenos Aires. When she is not working, Agustina enjoys going to the theater, biking and trying new restaurants.

Read More

Julie Paul

Raleigh Program Director
Home: Raleigh, N.C.

“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”
—Dory, Finding Nemo

Julie directs and manages the Raleigh Landlord Participation Program and supports related key initiatives. As such, she is responsible for the continued growth of the Lotus Campaign model in its newest community.

Julie Paul serves as Lotus Campaign’s Raleigh Program Director responsible for the continued growth of our Landlord Participation Program in our second market. She directs and manages the Raleigh Landlord Participation Program and supports related key initiatives. Prior to Lotus, Julie served as the Associate Director | MBA Real Estate Lead at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, guiding MBA students from recruitment to graduation. She also held a business development and commercial broker role with York Properties and is the former Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute’s Triangle District Council. Julie holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from the University of Southern California. When not at work, Julie can be found hiking, biking, traveling, or cooking.

Read More

Haley Walker

Strategic Communications
& External Relations
Home: Triangle, N.C.

Motto: What if it all works out?

Haley has more than 13 years of experience in communications and fundraising for regional, national and international organizations. Prior to joining Lotus, she served as the Senior Director of Advancement for a large environmental nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon.

Haley Walker serves as Lotus Campaign’s Strategic Communications & Relations Partner. Prior to joining Lotus, Haley served as the Senior Director of Advancement for a large environmental nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, and has more than 13 years of experience in communications and fundraising for regional, national and international organizations. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Journalism from Michigan State University, a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Flagler College, and a professional certificate in social impact storytelling from Georgetown. When she is not working, she is usually restoring the old farm she lives on to its former glory or spending time with her daughter & husband.

Read More

Board of Directors

Philip Payne

Chairman & Cofounder of Lotus Campaign

Philip is one of the co-founders of Lotus Campaign. He considers himself a pragmatic idealist who believes that it is possible to do good while doing well. For nearly 30 years, Philip has worked to produce and maintain multifamily rental housing that is affordable to the workforce.

During this time, he has served in various roles at a number of real estate companies including being Chairman of a public company, CFO of both a private and public company, and a Board Member and Audit Committee Chairman for two public companies. He has extensive experience and expertise in the areas of development, acquisition, rehabilitation, management, operation, financing, tax and legal issues of multifamily housing. He is currently the chairman of Ginkgo REIT, which provides workforce housing in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. He is a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute, the founding chairman of its Responsible Property Investment Council and the current Chair of ULI Charlotte. He is also a member of the National Multifamily Housing Council. Philip holds both a BS in Psychology and a JD from the College of William & Mary.

Read More

Rob Bergdolt

Managing Partner, DLA Piper

Rob Bergdolt is a partner with DLA Piper LLP (US), an international law firm. Rob is the managing partner of his firm’s North Carolina office and focuses his practice on securities regulations, corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions for real estate investment trusts.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences focused on the REIT industry, including NAREIT’s Law & Accounting Conference, and conferences of the Institute for Portfolio Alternatives. Rob is nationally ranked by Chambers and Legal 500 for his expertise in real estate investment trusts. Rob is a graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School.

Read More

Stephen Blank

Senior Fellow Emeritus, Real Estate Capital Markets - Urban Land Institute

Steve’s career spans more than 45 years and includes experience in real estate investment banking, advisory and consulting services, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions. He has served as the senior officer responsible for all real estate activities for three Wall Street investment banking firms.

In addition to serving as the senior officer responsible for all real estate activities for three Wall Street investment banking firms, Steve has served as an Independent Director as well as non-Executive Chairman, lead Director, and Committee Chair of public companies focused in the multifamily residential, shopping center and hospitality sectors. After retiring from investment banking, Steve joined the Urban Land Institute as a Senior Fellow, Real Estate Capital Markets.

Read More

Jeralyn Gerba

Cofounder and Editorial Director, Fathom

Jeralyn Gerba is the co-founder and Editorial Director of Fathom, the award-winning travel website providing world-curious travelers with inspiration, expert recommendations, and advisory services. She is also the creator and host of the “A Way to Go” podcast with iHeart Radio. Before Fathom, Jeralyn was on the founding editorial team of the newsletter company DailyCandy.

She has spent the past 10 years working on service journalism in the travel space. Jeralyn has also written for various publications — including T, Domino, NY Mag, and Men’s Journal — and has been an on-air reporter for media outlets like NPR and Good Morning America.

Read More

Keith Harris

Executive Vice President, Avanath Capital

As Executive Vice President of Avanath Capital, Keith is responsible for the firm’s Acquisitions program. Avanath is a vertically integrated real estate investment firm that acquires, renovates, owns and operates affordable, workforce and value-oriented apartment communities across the U.S. His 35 years of experience in real estate includes acquisitions, dispositions, asset management, lending, property management and partnership structuring.

Prior to Avanath, Harris was Principal of CKG Advisors LLC, an investment and advisory business focused on the multifamily industry and ancillary investment opportunities. Harris also was Senior Vice President of the Bozzuto Group, an experience-focused real estate company that developed, acquired and built more than 42,000 homes and apartments. Harris also spent 14 years at The Laramar Group, most recently as Chief Investment Officer and 12 years with Heitman Capital Management and JMB Realty Corporation as Senior Vice President. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Carleton College.

Read More

Sylvia Kwan

Chief Investment Officer, Ellevest

Sylvia S. Kwan, Ph.D., CFA, CAIA is the Chief Investment Officer at Ellevest, a technology-enabled financial company built by women, for women. In this role, she is responsible for creating the investment solutions, strategies, portfolios, and proprietary algorithms that drive Ellevest’s investment recommendations across both automated digital and customized private wealth advisory services.

Sylvia is also a Director of Exit 182 Group, LLC where she shares responsibility for the fiduciary oversight of Grinnell College’s $2B endowment. Prior to joining Ellevest, Sylvia was a founding member of the investments team at Financial Engines, L.L.C. one of the first successful digital advisors. She also co-founded the boutique RIA firm SimplySmart Asset Management and was director of equity quantitative research at Charles Schwab Investment Management. Sylvia earned a B.S. in applied mathematics and computer science from Brown University and a Ph.D. in engineering-economic systems from Stanford University.

Read More

Molly McCabe

CEO & Founder of Hayden Tanner & Cofounder of Lotus Campaign

Molly is a co-founder of Lotus Campaign. She has spent her career cultivating practical solutions and strategies to accelerate the emergence of resilient buildings and vibrant, sustainable cities. Molly is currently the CEO and Founder of HaydenTanner, a development and advisory firm

focused on accelerating impact investment & sustainability in the built environment. She is the former Chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Responsible Property Investment Council. She holds a BS in Managerial Economics from University of California at Davis and an MBA in Finance from the University of San Francisco.

Read More

Board of Advisers

Mary Ruth Payne

Cofounder at Lotus Campaign

Mary Ruth, one of the co-founders of Lotus Campaign, began her career as a psychologist at a large public hospital where she developed and evaluated treatment programs for children, adolescents, and adults dealing with mental illness or chemical dependency. She worked as an administrator and collaborated with the clinical directors of nine community services boards in Virginia.

As the deinstitutionalization movement progressed, she became an administrator and collaborated with the clinical directors of nine community services boards in the Tidewater region of Virginia to ensure comprehensive coordination of services before and after discharge.  Later, in the private sector, she managed two start-up chemical dependency and mental health inpatient programs where she supervised all clinical and support staff, and prepared the programs for review by the national Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and for inspections for Medicare coverage and state licensure.

Mary Ruth holds a MA in psychology from the College of William & Mary and a BA in English from Cleveland State University.  She describes herself as a reader, outdoors enthusiast, and nana to seven exceptional grandchildren.

Read More

Carlton Brown

Principal and Chief Executive Officer at Direct Invest Development, LLC

Carlton is focused on developing strategies to bring capital markets to disinvested communities to invest in the development of “sustainable restorative” human settlements. Sustainable restorative development addresses human social, economic and cultural capital development while preserving environmental resources for future generations and returning a market rate of return for investors.

As principal at Direct Invest, Carlton is focused on developing strategies to bring capital markets to disinvested communities to invest in the development of “sustainable restorative” human settlements. This strategy of sustainable restorative development addresses human social, economic and cultural capital development while at the same time preserving environmental resources for future generations and returning a market rate of return for investors. Brown is spearheading Direct Investment’s initiative in helping community-based organizations mine value from their under-utilized real estate assets via sustainable development strategies.

Read More

Maureen Boyer

Vice President of Design Innovation, Dignity Moves

An architect and executive with more than 40 years of professional experience, both nationally and internationally, Maureen is recognized as a leader in the design and construction industry. Maureen is valued by her long standing clients, both institutional and commercial as well as by her high performing project teams and strong consultant partnerships as an experienced and empathetic leader who is adept at solving problems and empowering people.

She brings these same skills to bear in her role as VP of Design Innovation at DignityMoves as she creates ways for companies, government agencies and individuals to contribute to meaningful solutions that will improve the lives of unhoused individuals.

Read More

Elizabeth Kurtz

Executive Director at Charlotte Family Housing

Elizabeth brings her unique blend of for-profit and nonprofit experience, as well as her passion for issues surrounding poverty and homelessness to her role as Executive Director at Charlotte Family Housing, and understands that breaking the cycle of poverty requires not only compassion and empowerment at the individual level, but also advocacy and policy work at the systems level.

Elizabeth’s skills include consensus building, project management and community advocacy. She has served with new organizations building their processes and building their brand/mission, as well as with established organizations experiencing change and renewal. Asking the right questions with an open mind is an important part of her learning / program-building approach.

Read More

Samone Lett

Owner and Chef at Red Door Events & Catering

Chef Samone Lett is a Food-Network Star who runs her own catering business, Red Door Events & Catering in Atlanta, Georgia. Chef Lett began her culinary journey cooking with her family in Brooklyn, was exposed to kitchen management and food service while serving in the United States Military and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with a degree in Culinary Arts.

Chef Lett launched her catering business in 2010 as a wedding catering business in Orlando, Florida and went on to win the prestigious “The Best of Weddings” from The Knot in 2013 and has since won the award an additional seven times. Chef Lett has competed twice on the Food Network Channel, in 2017 on Cooks vs. Cons and in 2018 on Food Network Star Season 14. Since relocating to Atlanta, Red Door Events & Catering has served clients such as YouTube, Morehouse, CARTERS, Mercedes Benz, Edelman and has worked on a host of film sets. Having previously experienced homelessness, Chef Lett is excited to bring her passion and vibrancy to Lotus Campaign’s Board of Advisors.

Read More

Brenden McEneaney

Senior Vice President at JLL

Brenden leads Sustainability Client Solutions for JLL across the Western US. He helps real estate investors and corporate occupiers develop and execute ESG and Sustainability strategy across their portfolios.  Previously, Brenden led consulting work at Integral Group, the global leader in deep green engineering and low carbon design.

He advises half of the Fortune 10 on climate and sustainability strategy. Brenden has over 15 years of experience in energy and carbon solutions in the built environment at all scales – from home renovations to campus master plans to statewide regulations. Prior to joining Integral Group, Brenden served as Pacific Region Director for the US Green Building Council. At USGBC, he ran all programs for the $80M organization’s largest market, and his office in San Francisco was USGBC’s primary lead with Fortune 100 companies, cleantech startups, and high performance building product and service providers. Brenden is a LEED AP (BD+C) and has lectured internationally on sustainability, green building, and environmental policy. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and of Yale University.

Read More

Ed McMahon

Senior Fellow Emeritus at Urban Land Institute

Ed McMahon holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute. As a senior fellow, McMahon leads ULI’s worldwide efforts to conduct research and educational activities related to environmentally sensitive development policies and practices. He’s also Chairman of the Board of the National Main Street Center and Senior Advisor to ULI’s Healthy Places Initiative.

Previously, McMahon spent 14 years as Vice President and Director of Land Use Programs for The Conservation Fund, protecting more than 5 million acres of land. He co-founded and was President of Scenic America, a non-profit devoted to protecting America’s scenic landscapes. He taught law and public policy at Georgetown University for 9 years, and served in the U.S. Army, both at home and abroad.

‍McMahon is the author or co-author of 15 books and over 500 articles and has worked with more than 600 communities on a wide variety of land use and economic development issues.

McMahon has a BS from Spring Hill College; an M.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Alabama, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School.

Read More

Chris Woodfolk

Senior Analyst at LendingTree

Chris Woodfolk is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Previously, he served in multiple capacities at Charlotte-based LendingTree, the nation’s leading online marketplace for financial services. During his time as a Corporate Citizenship Partner, he was responsible for executing the company’s corporate giving strategy and promoting its philanthropic initiatives.

More specifically, his role focused on connecting corporate and foundation partners across the country while ensuring the company upholds its community promise, focusing on four key areas including innovation and entrepreneurship, financial wellness, upward mobility, and homeownership.

Woodfolk graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Leadership from the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School. As part of his studies, Woodfolk focused on housing policy and analyzed the ways in which local, state, and federal policies played a part in disproportionately affecting underserved communities throughout the U.S. in the 20th century.

Now at Darden, Chris is a Consortium Fellow and Future Year Scholar, VP of Business Development for the Community Consultants of Darden and brings with him a strong background in strategy and quantitative analysis. This summer he will be an MBA intern at Nike, working on the company’s Connected Membership team.

Read More

Our Partners

Participating Landlords

  • All States Equity Group
  • Ascent Real Estate Partners
  • APG Capital
  • Beacon Real Estate Group
  • Ginkgo Residential, LLC
  • Grubb Properties
  • JEM Holdings
  • Marsh Properties
  • Pfalzgraf Communities
  • Red Hill Ventures
  • Sandee Road Ventures
  • Vive Equity
  • Vivo Living
  • York Properties

Social Service Partners

  • Charlotte Family Housing
  • Charlotte Rescue Mission
  • Families Together
  • Heal Charlotte
  • Healing Transitions
  • Hope Center at Pullen
  • Hope Haven
  • Roof Above
  • Supportive Housing Communities
  • The Relatives

Philanthropic Partners

  • A.J. Fletcher Foundation
  • Atrium Health
  • Avanath Capital Management, LLC
  • Bank of America
  • Banyan Street Real Estate Funds, LLC
  • Canopy Housing Foundation
  • Crosland Foundation
  • Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC
  • Enterprise Community Funders
  • Faison
  • LendingTree
  • LISC Charlotte
  • Park National Bank
  • Tom Russell Charitable Foundation
  • Truist
  • Wells Fargo
  • Women’s Impact Fund
  • York Properties

“When it comes to innovation, Lotus is the Netflix of the homeless sector.”

JERALYN GERBA

Cofounder and Editorial Director, Fathom

Get Involved

Donate

Help support and spread the Lotus model

Stay Connected

Get our latest news

Bust the Myths

Learn more to combat myths about homelessness