William French award recipients

Michael CarrollMichael Carroll



Michael Carroll has more than 40 years of community development leadership and lending experience in public, nonprofit and corporate environments. He was RCAC’s Lending & Housing director between 2008 and 2017. During the interim, he served as lending director for Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and multifamily housing director for the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA).   He began his career as a VISTA volunteer with Self-Help Enterprises in the California Central Valley and stayed there for eight years in a variety of positions. He was senior program manager for the California Department of Housing and Community Development. He was also senior vice president for Bank of America Community Development Banking where he managed an affordable housing lending team and a product development team. He also opened and managed the Fannie Mae Central Valley Partnership Office as the director.  He returned to RCAC to serve as the Vector Fund Director in 2022 and retired in 2024.

He is on the board of directors for the California Coalition for Rural Housing, NeighborWorks Capital, the National Rural Housing Coalition and is a founding member of the California Coalition for Community Investment.

His tireless dedication to providing affordable housing and equitable access to credit has positively impacted rural and Indigenous communities throughout the rural West. His leadership and effective management skills, along with his expertise has had a beneficial effect on his colleagues here at RCAC.

Paul Boyer



Paul Boyer was Self-Help Enterprise’s Program Director, Community Development (water), and worked for the Visalia nonprofit organization for 43 years. During that time, his leadership impacted more than 60 disadvantaged, rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley as he helped them to secure funding for more than 70 water and sewer projects.

Amon Tibon


Majuro, Marshall Islands

Amon Tibon was the managing director for the Marshall Islands Development Bank (MIDB). He was instrumental in the Marshall Islands’ efforts to launch the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Mutual Self-Help Housing program. MIDB completed 150 self-help homes, and Tibon’s determination and commitment to the self-help program made this possible for the Marshallese people. He also assisted with the self-help program launch in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia.

Moises LozaMoises Loza


Washington DC

Moises Loza, a South Texas native, traveled extensively with his family across the South, Midwest and West in search of farm work. He worked at the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) from 1973 to 1978, and from 1981 until he retired in 2017. Since becoming HAC’s executive director in March 1989, he has been one of the nation’s strongest voices on behalf of affordable housing in rural America. Mr. Loza’s skilled leadership enabled HAC to improve the lives of thousands of rural residents. Mr. Loza is the Rural Development Leadership Network chairman. He also is the National Low Income Housing Coalition treasurer, and is on the board of directors of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the National Housing Conference, and the National Rural Housing Coalition. He also serves on the Morgan Stanley Advisory Committee.

John F. MealeyJohn F. Mealey



John F. Mealey, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition’s (CVHC) founder and executive director, has provided affordable housing to thousands of low- and very low-income families in California’s Coachella Valley for more than 34 years. From a $10,000 seed money grant from the Aetna Foundation, Mealey directed CVHC’s growth to its current value of about $550 million. Before joining CVHC in 1982, he worked with the County of Riverside Department of Housing and Community Development (now known as the Economic Development Agency), and before moving to the desert, as a real estate agent and the director of real estate operations at a large housing nonprofit organization in Philadelphia.

Alan T. MurakamiAlan T. Murakami



Alan T. Murakami has devoted his career to practicing public interest law to help indigent clients, and advocating for the constitutionally protected rights of Native Hawaiians. He has worked on water and environmental issues, preserving agricultural lands, and rural community-based economic development, helping to ensure that Hawaiians and others can live healthy, viable, sustainable lives in small tradi­tional communities. He has been an attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) since 1984 and has been its litigation director since 1990. NHLC is a nonprofit law firm established to provide legal assistance to Native Hawaiians.

Starry Krueger

Starry Krueger



Starry Krueger is founding president of the Rural Development Leadership Network (RDLN), a vibrant national multi-cultural organization that works for community-based development in poor rural areas through hands-on projects, education, leadership development and networking. She worked with many others to create and sustain RDLN, which began as the National Rural Fellows program in 1977, and officially became RDLN in 1983. She has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation and other organizations, evaluator for the New York City Community Development Agency and a volunteer organizer for the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee in Stockton, California.

William (Bill) FrenchWilliam French



To honor William (Bill) French’s legacy when he retired in 2007, the RCAC board of directors created the William French Rural Leadership Award. The award honors French’s ability to start, grow and sustain an institution that has a significant impact on rural communities. French helped found RCAC in 1978, and served as its chief executive officer for 30 years. As is customary, the first award was presented to its namesake.