Toledo Fair Housing Center appoints new CEO, Michael P. Marsh
December, 2012: The Toledo Fair Housing Center, a non-profit civil rights agency, has announced that its new president and CEO is Michael P. Marsh. Marsh takes the leadership post on February 1, 2013, replacing Katherine Lawson Broka, who retires January 31, 2013.
The Board of Directors conducted a national search that spanned a five-month period and voted unanimously to hire Marsh for the top executive post. Marsh is a Certified Fund Raising Executive who joined the Center in 1997 and currently serves as the agency’s vice president, Development and Public Relations.
Michael P. Marsh
Marshall Rose, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, states, “We were impressed by his dedication and commitment to the mission of ensuring and expanding equal housing opportunity in our community, as well as his strategic vision for the agency's future. At this critical juncture in the agency's existence, we believe Mr. Marsh possesses the background, knowledge and the leadership qualities that are necessary to lead the Toledo Fair Housing Center forward.”
Just this year, under Marsh’s direction, the Center raised an unprecedented $1.425 million in federal funding through the Fair Housing Initiatives Program. “These projects will direct the agency on a path of investigating systemic housing discrimination issues across many facets of the housing industry,” said Marsh, “including examining what responsibility lenders played in the foreclosure debacle and how we should hold them accountable for rebuilding and stabilizing our neighborhoods.”
Marsh brings to the position over 16 years of fair housing experience and an intricate knowledge of non-profit management, having completed the Certificate in Non-Profit Executive Leadership Program through Indiana University in 2011. He earned a Master of Arts degree in American Culture Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree, both from Bowling Green State University.
“I first became aware of the Fair Housing Center in the mid 1990s when I was working at the Toledo Board of Realtors and staffing their equal housing opportunity committee while also teaching a diversity course at BGSU,” said Marsh. He served under former Toledo Fair Housing Center President & CEO, Lisa Rice, for 10 years. Rice hired Marsh as the nation’s first full time resource development professional in a fair housing organization. She later moved on to become the vice-president of the National Fair Housing Alliance in Washington, DC.
Marsh was recently elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, beginning January 1, 2013. “I want to more closely align the work of our agencies to ensure and expand equal housing opportunities for persons with disabilities,” he stated. For the fourth consecutive year, the most common type of housing discrimination alleged in Ohio was related to disabilities, according to a recent analysis by the Dayton Daily News.
About 57 million US-Americans have a disability, and people with disabilities are protected under the Fair Housing Act, which also prohibits housing discrimination based on sex, race, religion, color, national origin and family status. But some landlords, mortgage brokers and property managers are violating the law by denying or failing to properly accommodate injured veterans, aging baby boomers and residents with mental, physical or emotional disorders.
“I also plan to work at the national level to expand fair housing protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I currently serve on the National Enforcement Advisory Committee of the National Fair Housing Alliance,” explained Marsh. The National Fair Housing Alliance and other civil rights organizations have worked closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure that protections from housing discrimination be extended to the nation’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. That happened under HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s leadership with the approval of new rules that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in HUD-insured and HUD-assisted housing. “While some states and local jurisdictions cover sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, they have not been added as protected classes under the federal Fair Housing Act,” he explained.
The Women of the Old West End and several other concerned citizens and organizations established the Center in 1975 to combat discriminatory practices in housing that were destroying Toledo’s neighborhoods. Since its inception, the Center has investigated over 11,500 allegations of housing discrimination, has recovered over $27.82 million in damages for Toledo’s neighborhoods and victims of discrimination and has demonstrated a talent for setting national precedents that have expanded housing opportunities for millions of US-Americans.