Roberto G. Quercia is the Harris Distinguished Professor in the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning. Professor Quercia leads major research projects in the areas of low-income homeownership, mortgage lending, subprime and predatory lending, and financial services issues. He is a co-author of Regaining the Dream: How to Renew the Promise of Homeownership for America’s Working Families (with Allison Freeman and Janneke Ratcliffe), published by Brooking University Press in 2011, and of A Place Called Home: The Social Dimensions of Homeownership (with Kim Manturuk and Mark Lindblad), published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Professor Quercia has conducted extensive research for government agencies, municipalities, community organizations and private entities, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. He has published on the topics of low-income homeownership, affordable lending and the assessment of lending risks, and homeownership education and counseling.

He has held appointments at the University of Texas, the University of California at Berkeley, the Wharton Real Estate Center (University of Pennsylvania), and the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. Professor Quercia holds a masters degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

lucy-photoDR. LUCY GORHAM  |  Executive Director

Lucy Gorham is executive director of the UNC Center for Community Capital. Her work includes a focus on economic mobility and inequality, financial inclusion and access to high quality financial products and services for the underserved, affordable housing, and the importance of access to key asset-building opportunities across the lifespan such as homeownership, higher education, and retirement savings.

Dr. Gorham brings diverse experience in the design, implementation, and evaluation of financial capability programs and policy utilizing mixed methods. Recent research includes an evaluation of the CFSI Financial Solutions Lab, an evaluation of four small dollar credit products, and an evaluation of three affordable housing groups’ integration of financial capability approaches into their services for residents.  Her past research considered the changing shape of the U.S. labor market for less-educated workers and its impact on growing economic inequality; trends in wealth and earnings inequality in urban and rural geographies; best practices in savings and asset-building programs and policy; post-purchase housing counseling; and the design, utilization, and impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Prior to joining the center, she spent nine years designing and implementing free tax return filing and asset-building programs at MDC, a Durham, N.C. nonprofit.  Before that, she conducted research through the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies, provided staffing for the North Carolina Rural Prosperity Task Force, and held professional staff positions in the U.S. Congress on the Joint Economic Committee and the House Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations and Human Resources.

Dr. Gorham serves on the boards of several nonprofits, including the national steering committee of the CFED Assets and Opportunity Network, the North Carolina Assets Alliance, the IDA and Asset Building Collaborative of North Carolina, and the Center for Economic Justice.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University and a master’s degree and urban studies and planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

julia-photoJULIA BARNARD  |  Research Associate

In her role as a Research Associate, Julia has worked as an editor for the forthcoming book, A Place Called Home: The Social Dimensions of Homeownership, which will be published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. Her research focuses on economic mobility, student debt, and the role of housing as a platform for social services. She is also the Coordinator for the Center’s student programming, including the Graduate Student Fellowship, the Graduate Research Program, and the Undergraduate Communications Internship.

Before coming to UNC, Julia worked as a community organizer for the Texas Hillel Foundation and with Fusebox Festival’s thinkEAST project, a mixed-income, mixed-use development in Austin, Texas. She earned her B.A. with highest distinction from the University of Kansas in history and her M.C.R.P. from the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC Chapel Hill, where she was a Weiss Urban Livability Fellow and the recipient of the Weiss Best Colleague Award. She also served as an Editor for the Carolina Planning Journal from 2014-2016.

jess-photoJESS DORRANCE  |  Senior Project Manager

In her role as Senior Project Manager, Jess Dorrance leads much of the center’s evaluation work in asset-building, consumer financial services, and financial capability. She conducts research and analysis to understand what products and programs promote economic security and mobility for low-wealth households and communities. She is particularly interested in opportunities for households to build savings, and in the intersection of financial, physical and emotional health.

Recent projects include an evaluation of the Financial Solutions Lab, a program aimed at identifying and scaling financial innovations that can improve American’s financial lives; Neighborhood Trust’s PayGoal product, a cash flow management and financial advising tool; MAGIC Mojo, an impulse savings tool linked to a prepaid card; and data analysis for CFSI’s small dollar credit working group. Jess holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Skidmore College and a master’s degree in public administration from UNC Chapel Hill.

allison-photoDR. ALLISON FREEMAN  |  Senior Research Associate

Allison Freeman’s research considers the wealth gap in the United States and how access to financial services, both credit and debt instruments, might exacerbate or redress economic inequality.  Her work also explores how attributes of place affect lower-income people’s ability to move up the economic ladder.

Dr. Freeman spent her first nine years at CCC working on the center’s longitudinal study of affordable homeownership, examining in particular the wealth-building effects of homeownership for lower-income people.  Before she joined the center’s staff, Dr. Freeman researched access to affordable housing finance in post-apartheid South Africa.

EILEEN HARVEY  |  Research & Program Assistant

Eileen Harvey is a Research & Program Assistant and is the newest member of the CCC team. At the Center, Eileen is on the research team for our projects on student loan debt and on financial coaching. Additionally, Eileen is helping the Center to develop interdisciplinary programming and research around the topic of economic opportunity.

Eileen earned her bachelor’s degree in 2017 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Global Studies with a Minor in Chinese Studies and a Minor in Urban Studies & Planning. In the same year, she also earned her certificate in Design & Innovation for Sustainable Cities at the University of California at Berkeley. As an undergraduate, she served as a Co-Chair for Hope Gardens, a student-run nonprofit that seeks to improve food access in the Chapel Hill – Carrboro area. She also worked at the Carolina Population Center as a Library Services & Research Communications Assistant. Eileen is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Sigma Pi.


MARK MCDANIEL  |  Senior Research Associate

Mark McDaniel is senior research associate with the UNC Center for Community Capital. He consults with foundations, policymakers and others on strategies that help connect low-income populations to economic opportunities. These strategies include connecting neighborhoods to regional workforce opportunities, connecting the unbanked and underbanked to financial services and leveraging investment in low-income areas for housing, community facilities and other economic development opportunities.

Mr. McDaniel leads the center’s collaboration with Bridges2Success, an early childhood-to-career research and education initiative focused on helping males of color achieve academic and life success. The center provides research and program management support for the project.

Mr. McDaniel also brings a diverse set of experience in conceptualizing, designing and implementing initiatives intended to improve the socio-economic outcomes of low-income residents and the neighborhoods in which they reside. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated capacity in establishing and maintaining rapport with diverse constituencies including low-income community residents, public- and private-sector officials, direct service and policy practitioners, and evaluation/research professionals.

Mr. McDaniel has particular interest in the economic challenges and pathways to opportunity taken by different subpopulations, including students, residents of public housing, youth, and the formerly incarcerated.

sarah-photoDR. SARAH RILEY |  Senior Research Economist

Sarah Riley manages the center’s data and has published in the areas of real estate economics, mortgage finance, behavioral economics, and survey methods. Her work at the center spans a variety of technical and administrative domains, including data user training and support, project and personnel management, analytic reporting, statistical programming, technical writing, econometric analysis, and methodological consulting.

Prior to joining the center in 2007, Sarah authored software documentation for risk management solutions at SAS Institute, taught undergraduate economics courses at UNC-Chapel Hill, and freelanced as an academic ESL editor. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from UNC-Chapel Hill.