Blog NKCDC NKCDC announces Dr. Bill McKinney as Executive Director

Shared commitment to equity

The Board and staff of New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) are thrilled to welcome Dr. Bill McKinney as our Executive Director beginning November 2. 

With over 25 years of experience in nonprofits as well as public and academic institutions, Dr. McKinney demonstrates a commitment to Philadelphia and to NKCDC’s values of collaboration, inclusion, equity, and social justice.

For 20 years, his consulting firm, Innovative Solutions Collective, has helped organizations develop and implement community-based models and equity-based strategies that reduce disparities and uncover transformative solutions to persistent challenges, ranging from incarceration and addiction to access to healthy food and education. 

From 2014 to 2019, Dr. McKinney served as Executive Vice President and Director of Research and Evaluation at The Food Trust, a nationally recognized nonprofit based in Philadelphia, dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food.

From 2003 to 2013, he was Deputy Director and then Director of the Howard Samuels Center at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, focusing  on research and public policy to increase civic engagement and community participation.

“As a longtime resident of the part of the city NKCDC serves, I have been impacted by the significant challenges that this community faces while also appreciating the incredible assets we have to offer,” Dr. McKinney said. 

“NKCDC’s mission is to ‘advance social equity and economic empowerment by nurturing and creating opportunities for residents to live and actively shape their neighborhoods of choice.’ I am very excited to work with the community and staff to build on NKCDC’s strong foundation,” he said.

Participatory search process

NKCDC provides free housing services to anyone in Philadelphia, and works alongside residents and business owners in the Kensington, Fishtown, and Port Richmond neighborhoods to develop affordable housing, improve health, advance neighborhood leaders, grow green spaces, organize community events, and support small businesses, artists and entrepreneurs.

With a commitment to a participatory and transparent search process, the NKCDC Board of Directors and staff worked together to craft a job description and form a search committee that included board members, staff members, a resident of NKCDC’s Orinoka Civic House, a community member, and a former executive director. 

“The Board was humbled by the impressive pool of applicants, and we are proud to have someone with the experience, intelligence, and empathy of Dr. Bill McKinney, NKCDC’s long-time neighbor, at the helm,” said Board President Tim Lederer. 

“This search process began in the grief of the sudden passing of our previous Executive Director, Felix Torres-Colon, which was followed immediately by the unforeseeable depths of the coronavirus pandemic. It was intense, but it also reflected the strength of NKCDC. We are looking forward to Dr. McKinney’s drive, his vision for our organization, and his commitment to our communities. The Board appreciates our staff’s dedication to our mission and eagerly anticipates continuing our work together with Bill as our Executive Director,” Lederer said.

NKCDC’s Director of Community Engagement, Katsí Miranda-Lozada, was one of the staff representatives on the search committee. 

“Dr. McKinney has all the qualities that I would hope for in a community leader,” she said. “As a community engagement professional and a long-term Kensington resident myself, I respect the fact he is from the community. He has seen the neighborhood go through tremendous transitions and has felt the effects of those transitions first hand. He understands the complexities of the opioid epidemic and the barriers to recovery.” 

“He also comes to the table with an extensive background of promoting equity and developing leadership in communities like the one we serve and love,” Miranda-Lozada said. “I’m excited about the possibilities his leadership will bring, and look forward to learning all that I can from him.”

Trauma-informed background

Dr. McKinney is an anthropologist by training. He received his B.A. in Anthropology from Cleveland State University, a Master’s in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Temple University. In keeping with NKCDC’s vision for trauma-informed community development, Dr. McKinney has certifications in Trauma-Informed Care and Enhanced Trauma Awareness.

He has researched, written and presented extensively on Philadelphia and Kensington and on issues of race, equity and economic justice, including food access, access to education, community institutions such as libraries and settlement houses, incarceration and re-entry, addiction and recovery, emergent non-profit support, gender pay equity, and the effect of race and ethnicity on women’s economic status. 

“It is critical that we address systemic racism and poverty while also working from a community-centered, strengths-based approach to develop strategies that combat displacement and create healthy and thriving community,” he said.

Dr. McKinney has lived on McPherson Square in North Philadelphia for over 18 years, where he enjoys gardening and playing music with his band, the West Kensingtons.