The David Reznick Foundation Announces New Initiatives

4 min read

Honoring an Affordable Housing Icon by Supporting Community Development and Nurturing the Next Generation of Leaders

For the past several years, I have had the honor of serving as president of The David Reznick Foundation (the Foundation). The Foundation was established to honor the memory of a man who was beloved and respected by the affordable housing industry. David, and his wife Sandy, were close friends of my husband and mine so this responsibility is one that I have taken very seriously.

David, who passed in 2014, was co-founder of the accounting firm Reznick, Fedder & Silverman, now CohnReznick. He served as president of National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) and was instrumental in fostering its growth and establishing it as the premier organization supporting the work of affordable housing developers.

If any of David’s numerous friends were asked how they would characterize him, the word mentor would most often be mentioned. David was known for his commitment to housing and education. Above all else, he helped companies and individuals achieve their greatest potential. He had a unique knack for pushing and helping one to think more creatively and expansively.

It is that spirit of mentorship that The David Reznick Foundation strives to honor. Our mission is to do our part in nurturing and supporting future leaders of the affordable housing industry and the people and organizations who are working hard to make affordable housing available to all who need it.

Mentoring the Next Generation of Leaders
David believed in the value and potency of education. Endless studies show that financial and professional success are closely aligned with the attainment of a degree from an institution of higher learning. Therefore, the Foundation is providing tuition assistance to needy and deserving students at several colleges and universities in the Washington/Baltimore area. We are providing grants to students studying for a degree in accounting, real estate development or affordable housing public policy.

The Foundation is currently focusing on students enrolled at David’s alma mater, the University of Maryland, and the University of Baltimore, the alma mater of Mark Einstein, a business partner and dear friend of David’s who was the founding chairman of the Foundation.

Specific programs supported by the Foundation include the University of Maryland School of Public Policy; the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation program for graduate studies; and the University of Baltimore.

And to encourage a more diverse corps of professionals to enter the industry, the Foundation is also funding scholarships to accounting students at Bowie State University – the oldest, Historically Black College/University in Maryland (HBCU) and one of the ten oldest in the country. 

These students face challenges in paying for their education and persevering in their studies. Their stories are truly heart-warming and can be viewed on the Foundation’s website.

The Foundation also supports The University of Baltimore Real Estate Fellows, which recently created an innovative new program. The Pitch for a Million program teaches current students and alumni of the University how to source, fund and develop deals that serve the “missing middle” of the Baltimore housing market.

Small teams of students spend time in the classroom and conclude their training by presenting a development opportunity to an investment committee comprised of local industry leaders. The Foundation participates by serving as teachers to the students, as well as by providing equity to the winning teams, so that their developments may be turned into reality.

Students enrolled in the program thus far have, generally, been mid-career and are highly motivated and deserving of support.

Making it Grow
There is no way I could have done this on my own.

The Foundation is extremely fortunate to have a board of directors who represent the best of the industry. Every board member had a direct tie to David and has earned respect in the industry, including David’s niece, partners at CohnReznick—whom David originally hired at his fledgling firm—prominent tax attorneys, as well as communications and marketing executives. 

Their dedication to memorializing David by doing good in the industry he loved and respected makes me proud to work with each of them.

But our work is just beginning. If David were alive today, he would say, “That’s good, Sharon, but how are you going to make it grow?” I hope to see chapters of the Foundation someday soon in cities across the country providing the support students need to be successful in their academics and play a leading role as the next generation of leaders in the affordable housing industry.

For more information on the David Reznick Foundation, please visit

Sharon Dworkin Bell is a Principal at Dworbell, Inc., the company she co-founded at the beginning of her career. Dworbell, Inc. manages National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA), National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) and the National Aging-in-Place Council (NAIPC) and is also the publisher of Tax Credit Advisor magazine. Throughout her career, including her tenure at Fannie Mae, Sharon has represented developers and owners of affordable and market-rate rental apartments. In her current role, she is developing a new suite of products and services for executives involved in the development and ownership of multifamily housing to assist them in leading their companies successfully into the future. Prior to rejoining Dworbell, Sharon was Senior Vice President for Multifamily and 55+ Housing at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Washington, DC. Sharon established the organization as a leading advocate and resource for the multifamily industry and led a turn-around of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industries Council whose members build single-family lifestyle communities designed to meet the specific needs of the Baby Boomer generation. Sharon has been named several times as one of the most influential members of the multifamily industry.