Three Affordable Housing Industry Veteran’s Join Merritt Community Capital Corporation’s Board of Directors

January 23, 2019
Press Release

Merritt Community Capital Corporation is pleased to announce the addition of three new members to the Board of Directors: Chuck Cornell, Bob Williams, and Karen Smyda.

Mr. Charles “Chuck” Cornell, past Executive Director and CFO of Burbank Housing Development Corp. in Santa Rosa, CA. His time at Burbank Housing spanned 30 years, where he started as its CFO. He is a former board member of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH). Mr. Cornell holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Colorado, Boulder.

Mr. Robert “Bob” Williams, past partner and current Of Counsel of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, Los Angeles, CA, where he spent over 30 years of his career representing lenders in financing of affordable housing transactions.  He holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in History from University of California, Santa Barbara.

Ms. Karen Smyda, past Acquisitions Director for Merritt Community Capital Corporation, after serving almost 20 years in this capacity has returned to Merritt as a board member.  Prior to joining Merritt, Ms. Smyda spent several years at TRI Financial Corporation (PNC Multifamily Housing), Bank of America and the San Francisco office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She holds a Bachelor of Philosophy from Lone Mountain College. 

“I am pleased to welcome, Chuck, Bob, and Karen to the Board of Directors”, says, Lisa Castillo, President and CEO, “Each of them brings a passion for the affordable housing, deep industry knowledge, and the desire to envision an ambitious future for Merritt Community Capital Corporation.”


Merritt Community Capital Corporation provides equity capital for affordable housing throughout California, revitalizing neighborhoods through construction, rehabilitation, and long-term asset management. Since 1989, the company has financed more than 8,887 affordable homes, and invested more than $846 million in 21 separate funds. Merritt is the West Coast member of the National Association of State and Local Equity Funds (NASLEF) and continues to offer exceptional service to investors, developers and consultants of LIHTC affordable housing properties. For more information, visit



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