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DRF Announces Formation, First Recipient of Tufts University/REPP Fellows Scholarship Program

In its continuing mission to support the educational and career goals of affordable housing leaders of the future, the David Reznick Foundation (DRF) announced the formation and first recipient of a new scholarship program with Tufts University/Racial Equity in Policy and Planning (REPP) program. 

The Tufts Racial Equity in Policy and Planning (REPP) program promotes racial justice in the public policy and planning fields.

The recipient of the inaugural (2022/2023) $15,000 David Reznick grant was Tufts M.A. Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning student (’24) Melissa Cepeda (pictured), who is using the funds for room and board.

Melissa holds a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies from Tufts.

She shared, “My upbringing in the Bronx lit a fire within me to interrogate the failings of public policy and grapple with the daily existential struggles my community faces. And my undergraduate experience at Tuft further illuminated the many intersections of public policy and urbanization with food justice, affordable housing, and diet-related illnesses on a local and global platform. Now, as a REPP fellow, I hope to use my story and lead with vulnerability as I center my life’s mission of advancing racial justice and economic mobility for marginalized groups.” 

Melissa is currently working on her thesis, focusing on leveraging renewable energy to phase out polluting peaker power plants in NYC's environmental justice communities. She hopes to use her coursework in sustainability, energy, and finance “to promote a clean energy transition that prioritizes those that bear the brunt of environmental burdens." 

DRF’s new partnership with Tufts came about after Allentza Michel, a graduate of the Tufts program, a Visiting Practitioner & Racial Equity Fellowship Program Coordinator and a fervent advocate of equity in community development, saw a post about the DRF grants program on LinkedIn and reached out.

"Tufts is delighted that the Reznick Foundation is now a sponsoring partner of our Racial Equity in Policy and Planning fellowship program,” said Allentza. “The Foundation's history of supporting community development curriculum in higher education is an extension of the racial equity education we provide to the Fellows and student body at large. We hope and anticipate that this deepened relationship will expand more positive opportunities.”


“We are thrilled by this opportunity to carry David Reznick’s message and momentum forward into a new market, the Boston area,” said DRF Board member Russell Phillips. “And we couldn’t have picked a more worthy inaugural recipient, demonstrating both great passion and potential to further the cause of affordable housing, than Melissa. We cannot wait to see what she goes on to do.”



From revitalizing communities to mentoring the leaders of tomorrow, the David Reznick Foundation creates long-term progress within the affordable housing industry by facilitating opportunities for individuals and organizations alike. For more information visit

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