Dr. Akilah Watkins-Butler

President and CEO, Center for Community Progress

Dr. Akilah Watkins-Butler is President and Chief Executive Officer for the Center for Community Progress, America’s non-profit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.” As President and CEO, Dr. Watkins- Butler leads work in more than 300 communities throughout 48 states to help grow strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods.

A 25-year national thought leader, conference speaker, and non-profit executive, Dr. Watkins- Butler’s work began at the age of 14 when she led efforts to convert a vacant lot and abandoned home into a community center in Roosevelt, New York. Since then, she’s served as executive leader for non-profits and community development initiatives which include work for the Obama administration, NeighborWorks America, the Ford Foundation, and hundreds of municipalities throughout the U.S.

Today, Dr. Watkins-Butler’s work as an equity advocate includes leading work in more than 300 communities in 48 states at Community Progress. Collaboratively, Community Progress works to grow strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods.