Model Cities Names Kizzy Downie as New CEO

Model Cities Names Kizzy Downie as New CEO

 Saint Paul – April 27, 2018


Model Cities announced today that its Board of Directors has named seasoned Model Cities’ veteran Kizzy Downie as the organization’s next chief executive officer, effective August 6, 2018. She succeeds Beverley Oliver Hawkins, who will be retiring as Model Cities’ CEO effective July 20, 2018.  Downie, 40, takes the helm with more than 12 years of experience at Model Cities. She has held four positions at Model Cities: Youth Enrichment Services program coordinator, manager of housing services, director of operations management and director of community services. As the new CEO, Downie’s top priorities will be sustaining the organization’s performance and advancing its cache of support services.


Downie most recently served as Model Cities’ director of community services where she oversaw Family Support Services, Youth Services Programs, Homeownership Services, and Financial Literacy, the largest of Model Cities’ three divisions. She was responsible for a portfolio that included HomeStretch Workshops, Pre-Purchase Counseling, Children’s Mental Health and all Supportive Housing Services.  And, she served as the project manager for Model Cities BROWNstone’s Reading Room, working closely with designers, artists, and contractors in the completion of this space.

Before joining Model Cities in 2006, Downie served as program coordinator of Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama.


“The CEO Search Committee unanimously recommended Kizzy Downie to the board to be our next CEO and the board unanimously approved the recommendation,” said Brenda Bailey chair of the Model Cities board. “I am proud to say we found a great match for what Model Cities’ needs. Kizzy will be an excellent leader in the Model Cities movement. She is smart, brave, unpretentious and has the skills the organization requires,” said Bailey.


“I am honored and humbled to be appointed Model Cities’ CEO.  I am committed to continuing the work that has been started and sustaining the support our stakeholders have for Model Cities,” said Downie. “As we create the Model Cities of tomorrow, I will focus on facilitating opportunities that enrich the lives of our community, while also creating future sustainability and growth within our agency.”


Downie earned a Bachelor’s Degree and gained a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She currently serves on the boards of Heading Home Ramsey Continuum of Care and Cycles for Change. She is also a member of the Housing Opportunities Made Equitable (HOMECo) and African American Financial Capabilities Community of Practice (AAFC-COP) collaborative groups.


Bailey praised the work of Model Cities’ current CEO, saying “Model Cities is deeply appreciative of Dr. Hawkins who has been the Chief Executive Officer of Model Cities for the past 34 years. Her leadership, Bailey said, has built this organization with integrity and a clear sense of purpose. We will be forever grateful for her leadership and vision.”


About Model Cities

St. Paul-based Model Cities, a private nonprofit organization, serves families and youth from the 7-county metro area at 6 locations. Since its founding in 1967, Model Cities has served several thousand residents in housing and human services and helped advance the community’s revitalization goals. Model Cities also provides home ownership education and counseling services. Model Cities is developer, owner and manager of residential and commercial properties, including single family, multifamily and mixed-use properties.  In its role as a community-based developer, Model Cities has created 67 units of multi-family housing and 5 commercial and mixed-use properties, including 20,400 feet of commercial and retail space in the BROWNstone Building at 839 University Avenue West. For more information, visit Model Cities’ website at or follow Model Cities @


Media Contact: Kia Yang

Office: 651-632-8341

Cell: 651-272-0824