Read about how successful these members have been!
Attend one of our informational HopeBuilders breakfasts to learn more about the Champlain Housing Trust and the affordable housing work we do in northwestern Vermont.
Brenda M. Torpy
Chief Executive Officer
Brenda Torpy has 34 years of experience in the affordable housing field, starting with rural community development and affordable housing advocacy in northern Vermont. As the Community and Economic Development Office’s first Housing Director for the City of Burlington, Brenda led the development of the Burlington Community Land Trust, now Champlain Housing Trust, and served as the founding Board President. In 1991, she joined the staff as Executive Director.
The Champlain Housing Trust is the nation’s largest community land trust with over 6,000 members, 90 employees and 2,600 affordable homes in northwest Vermont, including 566 in their shared appreciation homeownership portfolio along with multiple non-profit facilities, retail and commercial tenants. Under Brenda’s leadership, CHT was selected as the 2008 winner of the UN World Habitat Award and Brenda has travelled extensively as a speaker and to assist start-ups of CLTs both nationally and internationally. CHT does $90 million in development annually, has an operating budget of $10 million and nearly $300 million in assets under its stewardship.
Brenda has also worked for the Vermont Housing Finance Agency as Development Director, Brenda was a Ford Foundation Leader for a Changing World 2002, completed the Achieving Excellence in Community Development program at the Kennedy School of Government in 2003, is past President of the National Community Land Trust Network, and serves on the Governor’s Housing Council of Vermont, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Development Committee and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Affordable Housing Program Advisory Committee.
Chief Operations & Financial Officer
Michael Monte is CHT's Chief Financial and Operating Officer having joined the executive leadership team in December 2007. Michael was a founder of Burlington Community Land Trust and was a board member for Lake Champlain Housing, the two organizations that merged to form CHT. He has over 30 years of community and economic development experience. He worked at Burlington's Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) from its creation and was its longest serving Director. Prior to CEDO, he was employed as Executive Director for several non-profit organizations including the King Street Youth Center. Michael is also a founder and partner of the independent community development consultant group, Burlington Associates, where he worked with Community Land Trusts around the country.
Chief Administrative Officer and HR Director
Kandi Thermansen is our CAO. She joined BCLT in April, 2006 prior to the merger with LCHDC as HR Director to assist with merging all aspects of Human Resources with a focus on benefits, compensation and staffing. Her past experience with mergers and acquisitions, a rapidly growing start-up with multiple locations in several states and her nine years as a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources were very pertinent to CHT through the merger and going forward. Kandi has now taken the additional responsibilities of the IT and Administration Teams and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team.
Mike Bourgea, our Director of Finance joined CHT in October, 2009.. Mike's most recent experience at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity as Fiscal Director (05-09) and private sector experience at Lane Press as controller (95-05) made him a great fit for being in charge of CHT's complex financial systems.
Mike graduated from Bentley College in 1984 and has been in the accounting field for over 25 years. His experience has prepared him well for the unique mix of public funds accounting and entrepreneurial finance that is the business of non-profit housing and community development.
Director of Property & Asset Management
Josie is our Director of Property & Asset Management and has worked at Champlain Housing Trust for almost 12 years. Prior to the merger Josie worked for the Lake Champlain Housing Development Corp. as a property manager for a number of properties in South Burlington. As Director Josie oversees the day-to-day operations of the 1,600+ apartments and is accountable for their physical and financial well being as well as compliance with a number of regulatory requirements.
Josie is currently serving her third year as President of the Vermont Housing Managers Association.
Director of Asset Management & Special Initiatives
Margaret joined CHT in 2012. She is a Certified Housing Asset Manager and helps to develop strategies to balance mission, cash flow and sustainability for CHT’s rental portfolio. Margaret currently serves as the co-chair of the Chittenden Homeless Alliance and sits on the Governor's Council on Homelessness. Prior to joining CHT, Margaret worked in Burlington's Community & Economic Office for fourteen years where she managed the Community Development Block Grant program, oversaw the AmeriCorps, VISTA and community engagement programs, and worked on a variety of policy issues such as expanding early education and fighting predatory consumer lending. Margaret practiced law for a number of years before entering the community development field.
Director of Real Estate Development
Amy is our Director of Real Estate Development and has worked at the Champlain Housing Trust since 1994. She leads development projects from inception through permitting, funding and construction often in partnership with our co-developers, Housing Vermont. Amy is responsible for a number of our most unique and challenging projects such as the Community Health Center, Bus Barns, City's Edge and the Multi-Generational Center. Amy started at BCLT on North Street single-handedly serving our homeownership customers and remains a resource to the Homeownership staff. Amy is a non-profit representative on the Housing Vermont Board.
Director of Community Relations
Chris Donnelly is CHT's Director of Community Relations, having joined the Trust in April 2005. He directs CHT's external communications, including community and endowment fundraising, grant writing, media and public relations, coalition and advocacy work, marketing of all programs and homes, and all publications. Chris also oversees community organizing and member relations. He has many years' experience in fundraising for social justice organizations and has a strong background in public policy.
Director of Homeownership
Robert Leuchs is CHT’s Director of the HomeOwnership Center. He has 15 years of experience in helping Vermonters purchase affordable homes and supervises CHT’s three homeownership programs:
- Home Education which provides workshops and counseling to help prospective buyers understand the home buying process
- The Shared Equity Program, which provides down payment assistance to low/moderate income households
- The Champlain Housing Revolving Loan Fund, which helps existing homeowners pay for health and safety repairs to their homes
He graduated Magma Cum Laude from the Wharton School of Business in 1997.