Staff Spotlight: Nedrah Barnes

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024-Oakland, CA

Nedrah started working in finance in 2003 at a company focusing on supporting small businesses. While working there she became a tax preparer, learned the ins and outs of running a business and corporate filing, and found a connection with impact-focused work.  In her role, she worked with many small, family-run businesses vital to the health of a neighborhood. She saw how her work had a positive impact ranging from individuals to communities. She aimed to make people feel safe and comfortable during stressful financial times. 

When looking for new opportunities, Nedrah put a lot of value on working for organizations that had positive impact and focused on communities, which was often through working in non-profits. With a wide-ranging financial background, Nedrah was a very valuable asset to a non-profit team and the more she learned about non-profits the better support she could provide.  

After meeting and speaking with long-term Merritt staff member and former-Director of Asset Management, Maria Duarte, Nedrah joined Merritt as an Asset Manager. She was joining a team that had been there for 10-20 years, seeing an established organization and a different side of a non-profit was exciting to Nedrah. After 5 years as Director of Finance at the World Insitute on Disability in Berkeley, she was intrigued to learn about affordable housing and the world of asset management.  

The affordable housing industry was new to Nedrah and posed an interesting learning curve when she joined Merritt. She was eager to gain experience and education. In her first four months on the job, she earned her National Assocation of Home Builders Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) designation! For two years Nedrah worked as an Asset Manager before a need arose in Merritt’s finance department. She volunteered to step in to help with investor reporting and other immediate needs. as she continued her work in Asset Management with support in covering her duties.  

After several months of temporary coverage, Nedrah was offered the full-time Controller role at Merritt. She found that she was enjoying being back in a finance-focused role in this new environment and accepted the position. Having a background in asset management proved to be incredibly helpful in creating a holistic understanding of Merritt, the processes, and the finances.  

Now Nedrah is Merritt’s Director of Fund Management and Controller, overseeing the financial reporting and audit compliance for the organization and all the Merritt Funds. She has been with Merritt for almost 9 years and has been an invaluable member of Merritt’s team in her different roles. Nedrah talks about how grateful she is to have joined the team and for the strong foundation they built for the work Merritt continues to do now.  

She has really appreciated how Merritt talks about why we as an organization exist, that there is a purpose behind affordable housing. Ultimately, it focuses on people. “It’s about the people that we’re serving. Creating buildings and homes that are safe and affordable for those in California. That’s why we do this work,” shared Nedrah.  

Nedrah was part of the strategic planning process and outlining Merritt’s updated vision, mission, and values where she connects the most with Merritt’s solutions-oriented value. “I love when a problem occurs and I’m able to fix it and find the best solution for everyone,” said Nedrah. When something comes up that hasn’t been done before or it is unclear how to accomplish something, Nedrah finds an answer. She appreciates that every solution she finds she knows has a positive impact on Merritt staff, partners, properties, and for the people we serve. Her solutions-oriented approach is rooted in her kindness and community awareness.  

Nedrah shared, “I enjoyed working with the Merritt I started with, and I still enjoy working with the Merritt we are now.” Merritt is very grateful to have a dedicated, solutions-oriented team member like Nedrah! Thank you for your kindness and we look forward to many more years with you on the team! 

About Merritt Community Capital Corporation 

Merritt Community Capital Corporation is a nonprofit dedicated to our mission to provide equity capital for affordable housing exclusively to California. We do this by partnering with mission-aligned affordable housing developers throughout the state to ensure the most critical communities are developed and maintained for low-income residents. Since 1989, Merritt has created and/or preserved 11,100 affordable homes, through investing over $1.4 billion in 26 separate funds, providing housing for over 29,700 people. 



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