RCAC’s CEO Stanley Keasling joined the California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) Board of Directors in 1982. Although CCRH had been around already for six years, Keasling’s involvement – which continues today – contributed mightily to bringing sustainable and affordable housing to the state’s thousands of farmworkers and Tribal communities.
Through the years, RCAC’s mission has dovetailed with CCRH’s. Whether policy advocacy, technical assistance, asset building or leadership development, both organizations have benefitted from each other’s experience and vision. Keasling’s tenure at RCAC and at CCRH has been integral to both, according to CCRH executive director Rob Wiener, who presented him with this year’s lifetime achievement award during its 40th anniversary celebration on April 12. Rob also noted that since Keasling joined the board, CCRH has saved thousands of rural housing units, trained more than 140 interns, helped more than 60 owner-builders save for closing costs, helped tribes access more than $2.6 million for housing improvements, and delivered some 20 elder financial fraud prevention workshops.
But for Keasling, his service with CCRH is something else altogether.
“I’ve always said, from the very beginning, that working in rural housing is just plain fun,” he said in accepting the award. “The people I get to work with … it’s just a total pleasure.”
Clearly, Keasling loves what he does. He spent nearly 15 years as executive director at the Rural California Housing Corporation (RCHC) and was instrumental in initiating RCHC’s merger with Mercy Housing. He later served as vice president and senior vice president at Mercy Housing. As RCAC’s chief executive officer since 2008, Keasling has spearheaded RCAC’s overall strategic direction, financial health and service quality.
Keasling has more than 40 years of experience in affordable housing and community development: he began his community development work as a VISTA volunteer with Self-Help Enterprises, working with the self-help, multifamily and public facility programs. Now he’s come full circle—he helped establish the community development program which then formed Rural Community Assistance Corporation.