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-- Fastest Growing Nonprofit Down Payment Gift Provider Promotes Two Officers --

Gaithersburg, MD (December 19, 2002) The AmeriDream Charity, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing homeownership opportunities for underserved groups, today announced the promotion of two officers.  Former Chief Operating Officer Ann Ashburn has been named CEO of AmeriDream, while Robert “Josh” Tolford, previously the chief financial officer, will assume the position of president of the charity.  Ashburn and Tolford take over the reins at AmeriDream effective January 1, 2003, replacing the charity’s founders Christopher Russell and Ryan Hill.

Both Ashburn and Tolford joined AmeriDream during the early stages of the organization.  Ashburn, who was initially hired to manage new programs related to the organization’s overall mission, was quickly promoted to vice president of AmeriDream’s down payment gift program.  She was then promoted to chief operating officer in 2001 and has since worked closely with the outgoing CEO and president to develop AmeriDream’s current strategic plan.  Tolford began as AmeriDream’s comptroller and was responsible for establishing its in-house accounting structure.  He was promoted to chief financial officer in 2001, where his duties have included oversight of both the accounting and human resources departments. 

“I am honored to be given this opportunity to lead AmeriDream and am eager to pursue our mission to expand affordable housing,” said Ashburn.  “Over the past few years, we’ve worked hard to establish AmeriDream as the premier nonprofit down payment gift provider, and I’m excited to continue our work in an effort to increase minority homeownership and strengthen communities through redevelopment.”

“Our programs have already helped a staggering number of low- and moderate-income families buy homes, and we’re committed to increasing that number every day,” Tolford added. 

The promotions of Ashburn and Tolford recognize their significant roles in taking the fledgling nonprofit that the founders began in a basement four years ago, and building it into an efficiently run organization with a staff of 70 that has already helped more than 90,000 low- and moderate-income families buy their own homes.

“Ann and Josh have been critical to the success and growth that AmeriDream has achieved over the past four years,” said outgoing CEO Chris Russell.  “Moving them into key leadership positions is yet another strategic step forward as the organization expands its abilities to provide affordable housing. AmeriDream will not only benefit from their considerable talents, but also from a smooth transition that will ensure continuity in both the philosophical and operational aspects of the organization.”

Russell and Hill co-founded The AmeriDream Charity in 1999 with the establishment of The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program, which provides down payment assistance to low- and moderate-income homebuyers in the form of gift funds.  In 2001, they expanded the charity’s scope of work by launching The AmeriDream Redevelopment Program, which rehabilitates distressed properties and returns them to the housing market at affordable prices.  In addition to these housing-focused programs, an organized charitable contributions program was established that has donated more than over $ 1.5 million to various community groups across the country.  While continuing to be available to AmeriDream on a consulting basis, after January 1 Russell and Hill will officially hand over their leadership roles in order to pursue other personal and business opportunities.




The mission of The AmeriDream Charity, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD, is to expand homeownership opportunities for underserved groups and promote the value of homeownership as the foundation for building strong communities and individual prosperity.   A 501(c)(3) organization, The AmeriDream Charity, Inc. meets HUD requirements for FHA insured loans as a charitable organization.  In addition to The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program, the charity also operates The AmeriDream Redevelopment Program in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Through the Redevelopment Program, AmeriDream has spent more than $8 million to rehabilitate properties and return them to the market at affordable prices. The AmeriDream Charity, Inc. has also donated more than $1.5 million to a range of community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.