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Media Alert: FHLBank San Francisco Names Beerling, Risdon, and Whitsett to Affordable Housing Advisory Council

Donald Blascak

SAN FRANCISCO, February 14, 2024 – The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) is pleased to announce the appointment of Maryann Beerling, Mee Heh Risdon and Andrea Whitsett to its Affordable Housing Advisory Council (Advisory Council). The three new appointments are the latest additions to the 15-member group.

The Advisory Council provides FHLBank San Francisco with expert guidance on affordable housing and economic development issues. The group also advises on the Bank’s community grant and credit programs. Each year, the Chair of the Advisory Council reports on the challenges and opportunities in the three-state region and the ways that local partners make local communities vibrant, equitable and resilient.

“Advancing affordable housing initiatives is at the core of everything we do, and our Advisory Council members provide critical expertise, experience and insights to help shape our programs and ensure that we are focused on the most innovative approaches to invest in our communities,” said Teresa Bryce Bazemore, President and Chief Executive Officer of FHLBank San Francisco. “We are delighted to welcome Maryann, Mee Heh and Andrea to our Affordable Housing Advisory Council and look forward to their contributions.”

Here are the bios of the three new members:

Maryann Beerling is the chief executive officer of Compass Affordable Housing, Inc., an organization that provides low-cost housing, programs, support services, and advocacy to low-income households and people in transition from homelessness. She has over 25 years of experience working with nonprofits and government agencies in affordable housing and project development. Her work includes organizing public-private partnerships to advance single-family and multifamily housing development, nonprofit capacity building, grant writing, and executive leadership. Ms. Beerling is a member of the City of Tucson’s Commission on Equitable Housing and Development and Arizona Housing Alliance and is an honorary member the Arizona Association of Grant Writing Professionals.

Mee Heh Risdon is the director of housing at A Community of Friends (ACOF), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit. At ACOF, Ms. Risdon oversees the housing development team and supportive housing pipeline. Prior to joining ACOF, she was a senior loan officer for the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a national nonprofit intermediary, originating $83 million in loans for permanent supportive housing in Los Angeles. During her career, she has worked on all aspects of affordable housing including feasibility analysis, acquisitions, planning, and project management. Ms. Risdon serves on the board of Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing. She has a Master’s in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University.

Andrea Whitsett is the executive director of Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, a nonpartisan research institute that houses the Kyl Center for Water Policy, the Arizona Research Center for Housing Equity and Sustainability (ARCHES), and the Arizona Governance and Policy Academy. Ms. Whitsett has overseen the publication of a wide range of research on topics including affordable housing, child and family well-being, workforce development, and educator retention. She is president of the national Consortium of University Public Service Organizations and the past chair of the Arizona Foundation for Women. She is also a member of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s DATOS Research Committee. Whitsett holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Yale University, where she was awarded an Amy Rossborough Fellowship, in addition to a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University.

About Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is a member-driven cooperative helping local lenders in Arizona, California, and Nevada build strong communities, create opportunity, and change lives for the better. The tools and resources we provide to our member financial institutions — commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions — propel homeownership, finance quality affordable housing, boost economic vitality, and revitalize whole neighborhoods. Together with our members and other partners, we are making the communities we serve more vibrant, equitable, and resilient and changing lives for the better.

02/15/2024 | FHLBank San Francisco

MEDIA ALERT: Compass Affordable Housing Receives $25,000 Donation from First Interstate Bank’s Believe in Local Campaign

Donald Blascak

Funds dedicated toward improving the quality of family and community life through low-cost housing, support services, and advocacy

TUCSON, Ariz. — August 1, 2023 — Compass Affordable Housing recently received a $25,000 gift from First Interstate Bank and the First Interstate BancSystem Foundation as part of their second-annual Believe in Local grant campaign. These funds will be deployed to support programs and housing that is affordable at the local, state, and national levels.

“We are incredibly appreciative of First Interstate’s generosity and support,” said Maryann Beerling, chief executive officer of Compass Affordable Housing. “This donation helps us to continue to improve the quality of family and community life in the Tucson area. We’re thankful to have dedicated partners like First Interstate working with us to support and strengthen our community.”

First Interstate Bank launched the Believe in Local campaign in 2022 to celebrate the Bank’s longstanding commitment to the communities it serves. Each year, 40 nonprofit organizations across the Bank’s 14-state footprint receive a $25,000 gift in support of their mission. Compass Affordable Housing was nominated by local First Interstate employees and selected from a pool of over 500 submissions thanks to its alignment with the Bank’s philanthropic goals.

“Giving back to the places we call home is central to who we are as a community bank,” said Richard Mullen, First Interstate commercial relationship manager in Tucson. “Our Believe in Local grant campaign captures our core values in action and is the ideal way to celebrate the nonprofit organizations that deliver the greatest positive impact. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to further support Compass Affordable Housing in its work to make our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

In addition to campaigns like Believe in Local, First Interstate makes annual donations and grants totaling at least 2% of its pre-tax earnings to local communities. These funds aid in the improvement of workforce development, boost early childhood education, mitigate poverty, and support nonprofit organizations.

For more information on First Interstate Bank’s philanthropic efforts, please visit the Bank’s website.

Donald Blascak, 1934-2022

Donald Blascak

Colonel (Retired) Donald “Don” Blascak (88) passed away quietly on December 10, 2022. His daughter and son were by his side at the time of his passing.

Don was born, August 19, 1934, in West Orange, New Jersey, where he attended West Orange High School. After high school, Don studied Agricultural Science at The Ohio State University. Upon graduation, he was commissioned into the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant on October 26, 1956 and served on Active Duty for 30 years, ultimately retiring as a Colonel on October 31, 1986. During his 30 years of service, Don served as: an Armor Officer; in the US Army Special Forces; with the Central Intelligence Agency; and in Military Intelligence. He commanded at every level from platoon through brigade. In addition to three tours in Vietnam, Don served overseas in Korea, Germany, and Panama. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Vietnam Service Medal and many more. He was inducted into the MI Hall of Fame at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Don also received the Knowlton Award recognizing outstanding and continued service to the Military Intelligence community.

Early in his career he met and married Lila JoAnn Berry, of Fayetteville, NC. Together they travelled the world (home is where the Army sends you), and raised two children, daughter, Marlee and son, Marc.

Following a full career of service to the nation as an Army Officer, Don embarked on the next chapter of his life, giving to others and to his community. He was deeply involved in: the Stand Down for Homeless Veterans; the Festival of Hope; Hope Fest; the Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless, their Winter Shelter Committee, and their Discharge Planning Committee; and the Angel Tree program. Ever busy, Don sat on the boards of: Mission Tucson; Hope of Glory; Pima County Community Justice Board; Good News Newspaper; Interfaith Coalition for the Homeless; United Way – Supporting Senior – Compassion Capital Fund; the Tucson Coalition of Compassionate Care Ministries; and Compass Affordable Housing, Inc.. In support of the American Red Cross, he served in many coordinator positions, chairperson positions, and instructor for multiple courses. He also served as a Shelter Manager in support of the Rodeo Chedeski Fire and Hurricane Katrina response.

In addition to the military awards already mentioned, Don received the Robert Moore Award from Compass Health, and was recognized as Volunteer of the Year by Sun Sounds Radio Reading Service, and also as Volunteer of the Year by the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness.

Besides helping others, Don had two passions, dogs and military history. He gave countless hours of service to the Southern Arizona Greyhound Rescue. Don never met a greyhound he wouldn’t adopt and at his height had three greyhounds calling his house their home. Don was fascinated, some would say obsessed, with the study of the Battle of Gettysburg. Through the years, he visited the battlefield more than a dozen times, led small gatherings on battlefield tours there, and created a collection of Gettysburg books and memorabilia perhaps second only to the actual Gettysburg Museum.

He is preceded in death by his father, Stanley Joseph Blascak, his mother Ruth Godfrey Blascak, and his wife Lila JoAnn Berry Blascak. Don is survived by his daughter Marlee Blascak Marshall, her husband LTC (RET) Timothy J. Marshall, grandsons Weston Timothy Marshall (22) and Jeb Owen Marshall (20), all of Lansing, Kansas. And, his son Marc Weston Blascak of Tucson, Arizona.

A Celebration of a Life Well Lived is scheduled for December 19th, at 11:00am, at Grace Community Church, 9755 N. La Cholla Blvd, Tucson, AZ.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to “Compass Affordable Housing” at 48 N. Tucson Blvd. #102, Tucson, AZ 85716 or to

Your Healthy Home Market Update

Study of US Institutes (SUSI)
Dear Friends of Compass Affordable Housing,

Happy October! We hope that you are enjoying the cooler weather inArizona. We have been busier than ever at Compass Affordable Housing. So much so that we fell behind a bit with our newsletter, now slated for November and our Annual Program Data Report.

Please refer to on this website to view the report.

You will see in the report that we delivered over nine tons of food to low-income households living in CAH-owned properties and to people in the larger community. We call it Your Healthy Home Market (YHHM). This innovative program started several years ago at the urging of volunteers and staff wanting to find other ways to help people with fixed and little or no income afford to eat healthier, improve their diets and improve their health. There are no fees to tenants who shop for free. There has never been government funding or grants funding this effort.

We rely upon donations from people like you to help keep YHHM operating every year.

The market is set up and taken down at our apartment communities by tenant volunteers and then we deliver to local non-profits and shelters that serve women, families and youth. We also have our own gardens. One is at Alvord Court (photo above) and Downtown Motor Apartments. Both of those gardens provide fresh produce for tenants residing at each property.

The Market is an expansion of our Tenant Services program. It addresses the effects of food poverty by helping low-income households increase food security, access nutritious food, improve diets and learn about dietary habits that affect their wellbeing.

For questions about donating to Compass Affordable Housing, please call 520-627-1956.

Your Healthy Home Market

Study of US Institutes (SUSI)

Compass Affordable Housing has a comprehensive Tenant Services division that delivers much needed support at the properties we own. Among them is a project called “Your Healthy Home Market” (YHHM).

YHHM addresses the effects of food poverty experienced by the households we serve and those from the surrounding communities. It is a volunteer run market staffed by tenants and community members. The market enables low-income households to increase food security, access nutritious food, improve diets, and learn about dietary habits that affect their wellbeing. Three times each month Your Healthy Home Market delivers 600-1500 pounds of fresh food (each time) that includes proteins, vegetables, grains, fruits, breads, plants and herbs, and harvested produce from the Alvord Court Community Garden. Local partners provide educational sessions that range from learning about produce, budgeting for food, food and health, cooking techniques, etc. After the class tenants and community members “shop” for food at no cost to them.

The Market is supported by tenant volunteers, vegetables grown in the Alvord Court Community Garden, and collaborating partners such as Gap Ministries, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Program and professionals from the community. Community education sessions include information about the produce on hand, budgeting, food and health, and cooking techniques. Here are some pictures of our most recent Your Healthy Home Market being set up to serve our tenants at Tucson House and Glenstone. We love what we do at Compass Affordable Housing!

For questions about donating to Compass Affordable Housing, please call 520-627-1956.

Compass in your Community

Study of US Institutes (SUSI)

On May 24th, Compass Affordable Housing hosted 19 women from Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica.

Sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies these young women are enrolled through the Study of US Institutes (SUSI).

The SUSI grant for Indigenous and Afro-Descendent Women Leaders hosts 40 university student women leaders from Latin America every year. These young women are students of medicine, architecture, engineering, law, etc.

They were serenaded by a mariachi band of students from Tucson and spent the morning with us.

We discussed leadership, social services, poverty, food, housing issues in all of the countries and how activism can make a difference. It was an inspiring and heartwarming event for everyone.

Thank you SUSI for the opportunity!