Jesse's Announcement: Leadership Changes at ABC

I want to share some bittersweet but exciting news with you about the future of A Better Cambridge.

After 7 years at the helm of ABC, I am stepping down from the Chairman's role effective today, July 1st. This is a bittersweet announcement for me - I have poured so much energy into building this organization since we first convened as an informal group of Cambridge residents concerned with a misguided plan to downzone Central Square in the summer of 2012. 

However, it's a sweet announcement because I'm am so confident about the shape our organization is in - although there have been growing pains, ABC has emerged as a leading advocate for the creation of more homes not only in Cambridge and Massachusetts but also nationally. As recent policy conversations in Cambridge have highlighted, ABC has its work cut out for it in the coming months and years, but I am so glad to leave the chairman role knowing that ABC will soar to new heights without me in the leadership role.

I am especially excited that Alexandra Markeiewicz and Becca Schofield are taking over as ABC co-chairs. Alexandra and Becca joined the ABC board earlier this year, and since last year have been instrumental in formulating and implementing our campaign in support of the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay. As trained urban planners, they bring important and complementary experiences to this role. Becca brings a background in affordable housing working for a local Cambridge non-profit. Alexandra as a transportation planner who has worked for both the state and federal government. 

Please join me in welcoming Alexandra and Becca to this new co-chair role.

Stepping down as ABC Chairman won’t be the end of my pro-housing activism. In addition to remaining on the ABC Board of Directors, I have been working with a group of other housing activists from around Greater Boston and Massachusetts to form a statewide pro-housing organization to help grow our grassroots movement in all corners of the Commonwealth. While we’re not quite ready to make a formal announcement yet, please feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like to be notified when we launch this fall.

On a personal note, I want to thank you for providing me with support, guidance, and yes, even criticisms over the past seven years. Cambridge is an incredible community of thoughtful individuals who are committed to helping build a more equitable and sustainable community where individuals and families of all incomes and backgrounds can thrive. While our approaches to addressing the growing housing crisis may differ at times, I have no doubt that the vast majority of Cantabrigians share the ultimate goal of strengthening the diverse fabric of our communities.

Thanks for working with me to build ABC over the last seven years. I look forward to seeing how the organization grows moving forward.

Jesse Kanson-Benanav