RCAC executive and senior leadership staff

Suzanne AnardeSuzanne Anarde-Devenport

Chief Executive Officer

Suzanne Anarde-Devenport is Chief Executive Officer of Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), and a lifelong rural resident, leader and champion for rural culture. Her career began in 1991, in rural Colorado as founding executive director of a nonprofit, building a single-purpose organization into a diverse community development entity. Subsequently, as LISC Vice President, she led Rural LISC’s national community, housing and economic revitalization work, partnering with and through rural community-based organizations, across 45 states. At RCAC, Suzanne strives to support and integrate Indigenous cultural awareness into RCAC’s ecosystem.  She is a member of the U.S. Bank Community Advisory Committee, BMO Harris Advisory Committee, serves as a board member for National Rural Housing Coalition, California Coalition for Rural Housing, and Rural Community Assistance Partnership.


Murat Unal, Chief Financial Officer Murat Unal

Chief Financial Officer

Murat joined RCAC in January to oversee its financial operations and fiscal health. He brings more than 26 years’ experience with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) – most recently as the Senior Director of Finance and Operations responsible for Rural LISC’s overall health and operations focused on rural and indigenous communities nationwide. His expertise includes community development, technical and financial assistance, budgeting, grant compliance, micro loans, private and public grant management, planning and financial analysis. As a LISC Senior Leadership Team member he was involved in decision‐making processes, developing strategic plans, program activities, staff management, expansion, and developing and implementing key performance indicators.

Murat is a certified public accountant, State of Virginia; he holds an MBA in finance, George Mason University; bachelor’s degree in business administration, Istanbul University; Leading in Finance certificate and Financial Accounting, Harvard Business School Online; an Internal Auditor certificate, George Mason University; he is a certified financial management professional with a certificate in personal financial planning, Georgetown University.

Cyndi SpencerCyndi Spencer

Chief Operating Officer

Cyndi became RCAC’s COO in 2022. She joined RCAC in 2016 as a program analyst in the Grants and Contracts administration within the Finance department. In six years she progressed from manager to assistant director overseeing grant administration and compliance. Her department grew from six to 14 grant management professionals. She has managed an active portfolio of grants and contracts, serving department directors and program leads within the Housing, Community & Environmental Services and Loan Fund departments. In addition, Cyndi is involved with new initiatives within the organization, such as the Biomass Utilization Fund and Partners for Rural Transformation.

Her 30 years plus career in operations and administration is diverse. She served as real estate and facilities director for a marketing research firm and several healthcare insurance companies. During that time, she facilitated corporate relocations, leasehold improvements, contract negotiations and facilities management throughout the organizations on a national basis. Her project and events management experience varies from IT server rooms to telecommunications to fund raising.

Having grown up in a small town in the Southern California desert, she understands life in a rural community and the resources that it takes for a community to thrive. Cyndi holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from California State University Fresno and a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources from Golden Gate University.

Ari NeumannAri Neumann

Chief Impact & Policy Officer

Prior to being named CIPO, Ari was RCAC’s Director of Community and Environmental Services since November 2018 after serving as Assistant Director since 2016. As Director, he led RCAC’s efforts to provide technical assistance and training on drinking water, sewer, solid waste and community-led economic development. During his tenure, the Community and Environmental team expanded RCAC offerings with a focus on environmental justice, helping communities access the unprecedented funding for infrastructure from the federal and numerous state governments, and launching one-on-one coaching services for small businesses in rural and Indigenous communities. He has extensive experience in rural communities and with small utility systems. Before joining RCAC, he held a director level position at the national Rural Community Assistance Partnership in Washington, D.C. His experience also includes environmental policy advocacy at the state and federal level.

Ari earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington School of Law and was admitted to the Washington, D.C. Bar; a Bachelor of Arts in American studies with a concentration in environmental policy from Stanford University; and has professional affiliations with the Greenlaw Environmental Law Society, the California Climate Justice Working Group and the California County Drought Advisory Group.

Anjali ShethAnjali Sheth


Anjali joined RCAC in 2018. She leads a team of dedicated finance professionals with expertise in procurement, facilities, payroll, accounting, budgeting, and other finance functions. She prepares the $33 million annual corporate budget and presents budget to actual reports to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Board of Directors. She coordinates treasury functions, and availability of cash for the $140 million loan fund; she supports the CFO with management of about 200 grants and contracts. As an SLT member, Anjali actively participates in corporate decisions including strategic plan and corporate policies. In addition, she coordinates corporate and funder audits, and reviews financial statements for partners and borrowers in RCAC’s network.

Before joining RCAC, Anjali was an accounting manager for a mobile home property management company in the Sacramento area where she handled all accounting matters for the ownership group. Prior to that, for 11 years, she was controller for a hospitality company that owned 30 hotels in California. In that role, she was responsible for refinancing projects in addition to accounting and insurance. She saved the company more than $100,000 in shopping liability insurance coverage. She also brings accounting experience in working with the construction and operation of Low-Income Housing Tax credit projects. Anjali is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and she holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

David FerrierDavid Ferrier

Director, Housing

David spent 35 years at Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), 25 of them as CEO. During that time, CHIP built more than 1,700 self-help homes in a seven-county area covering the Northern Sacramento Valley. More than 400 of those homes used an “urban self-help” model incorporating commercial construction financing and bond-funded mortgages. He also led the effort to build more than 700 affordable rental units, which prompted CHIP to create a property management division to self-manage and manage for other nonprofit organizations. During David’s tenure at CHIP, the organization became a HUD-certified housing and credit counseling agency, operating that program for 17 years up until 2014. He also led the effort to secure nearly $500 million in grants, loans and equity contributions from public and private sources. David holds a bachelor’s degree in information and communication studies from California State University, Chico.

Juanita HallstromJuanita Hallstrom

Director, Loan Fund

Juanita joined RCAC in 2000 and became Loan Fund director in 2017. She oversees loan originations; manages RCAC’s lending program, activities and staff; develops new lending and other financing products and programs; serves as the chief executive officer’s liaison to the board’s Loan Committee; coordinates and communicates with individual clients or networks of clients and funding sources; participates in strategic planning, program development and marketing of RCAC programs, products and services; and assists in establishing major economic objectives and policies for RCAC. In her previous role at RCAC as assistant director of Lending and Housing, Ms. Hallstrom was responsible for the supervision and oversight of the loan administration staff. Her duties included loan closing, loan servicing, investor reporting, cash flow management and the maintenance of RCAC’s Loan Fund systems. She was also responsible for the implementation of several new programs, including RCAC’s 502 Pilot Packaging Program. Prior to joining RCAC, Ms. Hallstrom was the closing manager for a local bank and the operations manager for a large mortgage company.

Julia Helmreich

Julia Helmreich

Director, Communications & Development

Julia joined RCAC in 1998. She assists the chief executive officer plan, develop and secure grants and contracts for the corporation. Julia directs all fundraising and development activities for corporate programs; tracks and reports development and fundraising activities to RCAC’s directors and Board; oversees marketing and public relations activities for the corporation; and assists with strategic planning. Previously, she was manager, program developer and a public affairs specialist in RCAC’s Corporate Development department.

Before joining RCAC, she was an editor for the California Department of Corrections and an information officer for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. She also has worked as a reporter and photographer for several newspapers and as an industrial photographer in the Bay Area. Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English from the California State University, Sacramento.

Patricia Wu Borges Assistant Director, Staff OperationsPatricia Wu Borges

Assistant Director, Staff Operations

Patricia oversees all functions of RCAC’s Staff Operations department, including personal and career development assessment, performance appraisal process, compensation systems, diversity and benefit programs; recruitment and selection; payroll; affirmative action; unemployment; safety, workers’ compensation; strategic planning, assistance to the senior leadership team and Staff Operations team management. She administers human resources policies and practices ensuring compliance with federal and state laws in RCAC’s footprint. She also partners with RCAC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEI) on diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Patricia joined RCAC in 2000 as human resources assistant, then human resources generalist. She became assistant director in 2021 after previously serving as staff success manager.

She holds a master’s degree in human resource management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Sacramento.