Carlina Bell Rollins serves as the executive director of the William Franklin Buchanan Community Development Corporation (WFBCDC) whose mission is to connect vulnerable individuals to opportunities and services so they can overcome adversity, experience an improved quality of life, and participate in the revitalization of their communities.
The latter has become increasingly difficult as rents and home prices rise, and Nashville communities contend with a development boom that is excluding and forcing legacy residents out of the transforming urban core. Carlina has raised nearly $1 million to support WBFCDC’s mission by developing and managing attainable housing, providing workforce training, home ownership education and counseling, and conducting personal finance coaching.
Addressing the need for affordable housing in north Nashville is the cornerstone of WBFCDC’s effort representing over 81% of the agency’s programmatic income, however developing attainable housing has become more challenging in the current economic environment. To support the agency’s strategic plan and Carlina’s vision, WFBCDC’s participation in the R.E.D. Academy project will elevate the agency’s real estate development acumen and as well as position it as a formidable partner in Nashville’s hot residential construction industry. She believes the guidance and support she receives as a participant in the R.E.D. Academy will help her address and solve some of the challenges she shares with other small Nashville community development organizations – securing quick access to capital which serves as the largest barrier to scaling to larger projects and which supports the many needs of clients striving for economic stability.
Carlina knows this from experience, having served as a loan officer and community lender for PeopleFund, an Austin, TX-based community development financial institution where she managed a $2 million loan portfolio addressing entrepreneur’s financing needs and operational challenges. Her consultative conversations equipped clients with needed guidance and information to ensure the financial sophistication required to mitigate potential risks identified by funders. Carlina’s goal of empowering residents and business owners with knowledge and skills to achieve personal and professional economic aspirations is the foundation of her accomplished career.
Carlina holds a BS in accounting from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA and an MBA with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and strategy from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management in Nashville, TN. On behalf of her agency, she leads the North Nashville Community Economic Development Consortium, serves on the board of directors for the Nashville Foundation for Women of Color Inc. and the Operation Andrew Group, and participates as a member of other local and national organizations including National Low Income Housing Coalition, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“Affordable housing has always been a problem. The city of Nashville and Davidson County need more than 30,000 units but they are not being built fast enough. And my agency is not at the table, but we should be involved. This is a solvable problem [that the R.E.D. Academy cohort can impact]. We have to embrace it and act.”