Rafael Cestero

Director, Up for Growth Action Board of Directors; President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Preservation Corporation

Rafael E. Cestero is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), and a member of its board of directors. He joined CPC in 2012 as the company was going through a challenging restructuring and recapitalization process. Cestero worked with the company’s Board of Directors and Executive Management to implement a strategy that effectively resolved CPC’s portfolio, and returned its focus to the core mission investing in housing that create a positive impact on the physical, social and economic infrastructure of communities.

Today CPC is a leading nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company, and the largest Community Development Financial Institution in the nation that focuses solely on investing in multifamily housing. CPC provides a full suite of capital products throughout its construction lending, agency lending, and equity investing platforms. Since its founding in 1974, the company has leveraged more than $10 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 193,000 units of multifamily housing.

From February 2009 to April 2011, Cestero served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the largest municipal affordable housing development and housing code enforcement agency in the country. As HPD commissioner, he simultaneously served as chairman of the board for the New York City Housing Development Corporation, the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency. During his tenure, Cestero helped implement and oversee Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance the creation and preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing. Before taking the helm at HPD, Cestero was the agency’s Deputy Commissioner of Development.

Cestero has also held leadership positions at L+M Development Partners as Managing Director, at Enterprise Community Partners as Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, and at the Enterprise Foundation as Director of New York Programs.

A native of Rochester, New York, Cestero received a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.