Staff Bios

François Chargois

Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, François Chargois studied Global Studies and Economics at the New School in Manhattan, NY. He will be working as a Community Development Specialist at the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC). He is very passionate about socio-economic development that begins at a grassroots level and is excited to learn about the challenges facing the development field in Philadelphia. He is eager to put into practice all that he has learned in school. In his free time, Francois enjoys organizing on music events, reading, starting up companies, and keeping up with international news. He is also learning French currently.

Alex Millard

With an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School, Alex brings extensive experience to the role of Communications & Events Coordinator, including communications and brand consulting work for a range of small businesses, individuals, and politicians. She also worked as Feminista Jones’ social media manager for several years and helped to run the Women’s Freedom Conference, the first global digital conference for women of color with an audience of over 600,000 worldwide. Alex has written for many publications, including xoJane, Huffpost, Alternet, and The Establishment. Before working in Communications, Alex worked in education for over a decade, as both a teacher and administrator, working to ensure students and parents in all neighborhoods had access to equitable education.

Jeanna Murat

Jeanna has over 10 years experience in programming and non-profit management. She has a passion for serving her community, especially disenfranchised youth. Prior to joining the PACDC team, she served as Director of Homelessness Prevention for Family Promise Philadelphia where she re-organized an expanded Prevention Team through training and technical support. She used technology to improve communications, standardize case records and promote teamwork. Jeanna pursued a Master’s degree in Arcadia University’s International Peace & Conflict Resolution with a concentration in nonprofit management and social justice. As a tri-lingual first generation Haitian-American, she brings personal knowledge of the immigrant experience. Before relocating to Philadelphia in 2015, Jeanna lived in Boston, New Jersey and New York, where her work focused on community and parent engagement and college access programming.

Garrett O’Dwyer

Garrett assists the organization with its policy and advocacy, data and GIS analysis, as well as external communications work. His primary areas of policy focus are on affordable housing, vacant and abandoned properties, and the intersections of community development and healthcare systems. Garrett serves on a number of boards and committees including Philadelphia’s Vacant Property Review Committee, Philadelphia’s Open Data Advisory Board, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Community Advisory Board, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals’ Community Health Needs Assessment Advisory Board, and the Executive Committee of the Vote for Homes Coalition. Prior to joining PACDC in 2009, he worked on campaigns for candidates seeking offices of Congress, the Pennsylvania State House, and Philadelphia District Attorney.

Martin Sakansong

Martin brings his past experience in community development and a passion for the wellbeing of his community to the table. Graduating from the University of Vermont in 2019, he majored in Communications with two minors, one in Community Development and Applied Economics, and the other in Consumer Affairs. Prior to joining the PACDC team, Martin was a remote consultant for the Douglass Community Land Trust, a relatively new organization located in Washington DC, working to preserve affordable housing for DC residents and to prevent longtime residents from being outpriced and displaced from their community. As the Administrative Associate at PACDC, he will be working closely with the Director of Administration and H.R. and other staff on organizational tasks and with the general upkeep of everyday operations.

Rick Sauer

Rick has over thirty years’ experience in the non-profit housing and community development field.  He has served as Executive Director of PACDC since 1999, providing overall organizational management.  Prior to coming to PACDC, he was Associate Director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, a statewide association of non-profit developers, and Assistant Editor of Shelterforce magazine for the National Housing Institute.  He is a recipient of a 2007 Eisenhower Fellowship on Urban Challenges and a NeighborWorks America Northeast Region 2013 Visionary Leader in Community Development, holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and is a graduate of the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence program.  He currently serves on a number of housing and community development-related boards and committees, including: the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations Board; Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania Board; Urban Affairs Coalition Board and Community Economic Development Committee (Co-Chair); Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund Oversight Board (Vice-Chair); and Philadelphia Land Bank Board.

Suzanne Sheeder

Suzanne has over twenty years of administrative and financial management experience in the non-profit sector, as well as an extensive background in event management. She provides administrative guidance to all of PACDC’s initiatives, oversees the Human Resources Department and manages the books of the organization.  Prior to joining PACDC, she served as Administrative Director/Event Coordinator for the award-winning, internationally syndicated Consider the Alternatives Radio.  During her eight years there, she managed financials and coordinated events including the National Sane Peace Award which was given to the Right Rev. Desmond Tutu, Jesse Jackson, and Joan Baez among others.  Suzanne majored in English and Liberal Studies at Arcadia University and has taken extensive leadership, organizational development and financial management courses through the years including the Nonprofit Management Certificate Program through LaSalle University. Her professional affiliations include the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) along with numerous political, environmental and animal-rights organizations.

Andy Toy

Andrew (Andy) Toy comes to PACDC after serving as the Community Development and Communications Director at the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition (SEAMAAC). Andy successfully led the Conceptual Plan effort for Mifflin Square Park moving towards implementing a $4.2 million improvement and an almost completed Neighborhood Plan. Andy and his team also managed the SoPhiE Food Truck immigrant chef incubator, which engages and connects community. Previously, Andy was the Managing Director of the now built Chinatown Community Center mixed-use community project, built a successful Commercial Corridor Initiative at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and developed Philadelphia’s Brownfields Program before that. Andy is recognized as a thought leader and innovator when it comes to community and economic development. Andy’s policy and advocacy work has included efforts to ensure everyone has a voice in their community. He founded United Voices for Philadelphia and still engages in voter registration and voting advocacy. Andy also helped garner support for our public schools by founding the Philadelphia Public School Giving Circle and serving on the Philadelphia Public School Notebook). Andy is currently on the Boards of The Merchants Fund and the Union Benevolent Foundation, as well as a part of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs. Andy was an appointee on the Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission where he championed mixed income zoning policies as well as Accessory Dwelling Units. In 2006, Andy was selected as one of the top 101 Connectors in Philadelphia.

Joanna Winchester

Joanna brings over fifteen years of experience in community-based economic development and nonprofit management, with expertise in community wealth building strategies, commercial corridor management, program design, curriculum development, project management, and resource development. Prior to joining PACDC in 2021, Joanna co-founded North 4th, a Philadelphia-based consultancy with a focus on community and economic development, where she worked with a number of PACDC member organizations and local partners. She also previously served as Director of Economic Development and Director of Strategic Initiatives at NKCDC, where she received a PACDC Rising Star award in 2017. Before relocating to Philadelphia in 2011, Joanna lived in Oakland CA and Washington, DC, where her work focused on community organizing, leadership development, and environmental justice. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and has secured grant awards up to $5 million for community-based organizations. Joanna received her Master’s degree in City Planning from the University of City Planning, where she currently serves as a first-year Workshop instructor.