As Head of Community Development, Catherine Buell is responsible for long-term and innovative programs that address civic priorities in the communities where Amazon employees live and work. Catherine helped launch and oversees Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion commitment to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington State’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville, Tennessee—three communities where the company has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees each in the coming years. Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund will help preserve existing housing and help create inclusive housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies, and minority-led organizations.
Catherine previously served as the President and CEO of the Atlanta Housing Authority where she led the agency’s strategic, financial and operational efforts by providing housing to more than 23,000 of Atlanta’s low-and extremely low-income households. While at Atlanta Housing, Catherine led the development of the agency’s five year plan, called “Vision 2022” (Live, Work, Thrive), aimed at increasing the number of households served, increasing investments in family self-sufficiency efforts and agency fiscal responsibility. During her tenure, she advanced major real estate efforts including partnerships with the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. to develop affordable housing near the popular BeltLine and also work with Invest Atlanta to purchase the 19-acre Civic Center site in downtown Atlanta. She also served as Vice President of Policy and Programs for the Greater Washington Partnership, a first-of-its-kind civic alliance of CEOs in the Washington D.C. region, where she focused on a range of issues include regional housing policy issues.
Prior to her time in Atlanta, Catherine served as the executive director of St. Elizabeth’s East, one of the District of Columbia’s largest mixed-use redevelopment projects. As a result of her tenure, St. Elizabeths East became home to the District’s Entertainment and Sports Arena which hosts the Washington Mystic’s performance arena and Wizards practice facility, the Residences at St. Elizabeths (a mixed-income multi-family housing development), the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center and Gateway D.C. Ms. Buell also served as the Chair of the Washington D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board and earned a number of awards for her revitalization efforts – the Built by Women DC Award and Historic Preservation Review Board Chair’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation among them.
Catherine also serves on a number of boards, including Community of Hope (DC), Greater Greater Washington and the Anacostia Coordinating Council. She started her career as an attorney with Patton Boggs LLP where she counseled institutional investors on real estate assets and private equity funds in the United States, South America, and Europe. She is a cum laude graduate of Spelman College and the Georgetown University Law Center.