Stephen Acree : Executive Director/President

Stephen Acree

Executive Director/President

Stephen has been with Rise since 1999 and has been its Executive Director and President since late 2002.  He was born and raised in the City of St. Louis, worked in three successive City of St. Louis Mayoral administrations, and is the former Director of the City of St. Louis Community Development Agency, which administers the Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs for the City.

Stephen brings over 30 years of experience in community development and considerable knowledge and experience in development finance, particularly with the structured financing of development in more difficult to develop areas.

Stephen is a founding member of the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, a member of its Executive Committee, and was the founding President of the organization.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis and has formerly served as the organization's President.  He is also a former Chairman of the Greater St. Louis Regional Empowerment Zone and has been a member of the University of Missouri at St. Louis Public Policy Research Center's Advisory Committee, Fannie Mae's Southwestern Regional Housing and Community Development Advisory Council, and the Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.'s Network Advisory Board.

Stephen received his undergraduate degree from The George Washington University and is a member of the Missouri Bar Association with a law degree from Washington University.  He is also a member of the Urban Land Institute and is certified by the National Development Council as a Housing Development Finance Professional. In 1997 Stephen was a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government Executive Program for State and Local Government Officials.

Rick Bonasch : Director of Technical Assistance

Rick Bonasch

Director of Technical Assistance

Rick joined Rise in 2000 as the organization's Director of Technical Assistance responsible for the CDC Capacity Building and Collaborative Grant Programs.  Rick's work is focused on providing technical assistance and training to community based development organizations, helping them increase their capacity to carry out their organizational missions.  His expertise covers organizational and neighborhood planning, financial management, non-profit board development, real estate development, and neighborhood revitalization.

Rick has over 20 years of Real Estate and Community Development experience.  His work experience ranges from the private sector to the public sector, including the Community Development Agency in St. Louis as a Neighborhood Development Analyst.   Rick's broad background has earned him a wide range of industry contacts and experience in neighborhood development giving him the right set of qualifications to carry out Rise's technical assistance programs.

Rick is a licensed real estate broker and serves as the Broker-Officer for the St. Louis Public Development Corporation I, a Rise affiliate organization.  He has a degree in Business Administration from California State University and is a Certified Housing Development Finance Professional with the National Development Council.

John Cruz : Data Management Coordinator

John Cruz

Data Management Coordinator

John joined Rise in 2015. As the Data Management Coordinator, he uses geospatial and census data to tell a visual story of what is happening with land use in the St. Louis region while tracking neighborhood change metrics. As an intermediary between data sources and human consumption, he assists community partner organizations to interpret and properly utilize data as a way that can positively impact their service areas. He also provides technical assistance and consulting services to Rise partners and works on community planning efforts. A Detroit native, John moved to St. Louis from Montreal in 2015, having spent most of his earlier career in private-sector software development.

John holds an undergraduate degree in web development from Baker College and a graduate degree in urban planning from Wayne State University.  He is a board member of the APA Missouri’s St. Louis section, serving as web committee chairman and is a charter board member of the St. Louis Civic Tech and Data Collaborative


Jessica Eiland : Project Manager

Jessica Eiland

Project Manager

Jessica joined Rise as a Project Manager in 2017. She is a metro Detroit native and University of Michigan alum who relocated to St. Louis to attend the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.  She has experience in nonprofit management, housing programs & development, and community engagement and partnerships. Previously, she worked as President of Northside Community Housing, Inc., Associate Director of the Skinker DeBaliviere Community Council, and Project Coordinator for the mPortfolio program at the University of Michigan.

Jessica is currently a board member of the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, Eagle Bank (Advisory Board), Horizon Housing Foundation, Revitalization 2000, St. Patrick Center, and a member of the Regional Arts Commission's Public Art Advisory Committee.

Brian Hurd : Technical Assistance Program Manager

Brian Hurd

Technical Assistance Program Manager

Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Brian has been with Rise since 2003.  He is the Technical Assistance Program Manager providing organizational capacity building and management, training along with housing development consulting services to nonprofit organizations, financial institutions and government partners.  Additionally, he serves as a field instructor for Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

Brian has two decades of urban planning and community development experience.  Prior to relocating to the St. Louis area, he was a Senior City Planner for the City of Norfolk, Virginia where he specialized in several planning functions that included housing, community development, transportation, and economic development.

He received his undergraduate degree from Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, North Carolina and holds a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa where he currently serves on the Department’s Advisory Committee.  Brian has completed financial management executive education at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and received the University of Missouri – St. Louis Chancellor’s Certificate of Planning and Zoning.  He takes courses in Washington University’s social work continuing education program. Brian is a certified Housing Development Finance Professional and also a Certified HOME Program Regulations Specialist.

Formerly serving on the City of Maryland Heights’ Citizens Advisory Group for Greenways and Trails and the city's Board of Adjustment, he remains actively involved.  He currently serves on the Maryland Heights Planning and Zoning Commission and is a member of the American Planning Association where he is actively involved with local food systems planning in the Greater St. Louis region.

Kathy Kingsbury : Executive Assistant/Corporate Secretary

Kathy Kingsbury

Executive Assistant/Corporate Secretary

Kathy joined Rise in 1997.  Her responsibilities include all Rise office and human resources administration, accounting support, board and committee support, and development project support.  Kathy also plays a key role in her support of the Rise annual report and fundraising efforts.

Kathy attended Southeast Missouri State University and has experience in foundation work, including the McDonnell Douglas Foundation.

Her volunteer work includes past service on the Board of Directors of Evangelical Children's Home, Love in Action, and numerous other volunteer efforts that lead to her selection as an Olympic Torchbearer in the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay.  She is currently active in her church, as the director of Women's Ministry, teaching Sunday school and serving as a Lady of Distinction.

John Nuernberger : Asset Manager

John Nuernberger

Asset Manager

John Nuernberger started with Rise in April, 2011, as Asset Manager to oversee performance, reporting, budgets and financial matters of the properties under contract with third party management companies.

Since 1995, John has worked in the field of property management. As a regional manager, he had profit and loss responsibilities for over 1500 multi-family apartments. This included budget preparation, budget variance reporting, as well as weekly property analysis of performance and marketing strategies. He was also responsible for implementing all policies and procedures and compliance verification for all properties. He coordinated all capital improvement project budgets, bidding, and implementation. His background in overseeing a variety of properties, from smaller tax credit and market rate properties to large multi-family projects in all areas of metro St Louis, gives him the experience and skill set necessary to manage the diverse and complex matters of Rise.

Born and raised in North St. Louis County, John received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri St. Louis.  He has served as an officer of the St. Louis Apartment Association since 2004, and for the past eleven years has served as a board member on The City of Brentwood Planning and Zoning Commission where he resides.

Larry Perlmutter : Communications and Development Manager

Larry Perlmutter

Communications and Development Manager

Larry started with Rise in March of 2013, as Communications and Development Manager. Larry is responsible guiding and implementing the communications and fund development plans for Rise. He manages external communications and marketing activities to increase awareness and public support. Larry was born in St. Louis and has a strong background in fund development and marketing, including events promotions and logistics; and has 16 years of nonprofit management experience.

Mark Stroker : Director of Real Estate Development

Mark Stroker

Director of Real Estate Development

Mark recently joined Rise as the Director of Real Estate Development in July of 2013. Prior to coming to Rise, Mark was the Director of Development for the Housing Authority of St. Louis County from 1993 to July of 2013 where he was responsible for the development of over 1100 affordable units utilizing federal and state low-income tax credits, HOME funds, CDBG, Missouri contribution credits and other conventional resources. Mark works with a team of development professionals on all aspects of Rise’s affordable housing and mixed use development.

Mark is a former staff member of Congresswoman Joan Kelly Horn, has been involved in local, state and federal government affairs, and has worked in a variety of affordable housing related capacities for over 20 years.

Born in St. Louis and raised in Hazelwood, Mark now makes his home in Maryland Heights. Mark is married to Leslie Stroker and is the father of Jefferson and Kennedy Stroker. Mark is a licensed real estate broker, a member of the St. Louis Association of Realtors, has completed many professional and trade programs, is a National Association of Home Builders Certified Green Professional and serves on the City of Maryland Heights Human Rights Commission. He is a graduate of Christian Brothers College High School and holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.