Promise Zone Team

Director of the Promise Zone

Tyrone Roderick Williams

Tyrone Roderick Williams is the Director of the Sacramento Promise Zone and the Director of Development at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

Mr. Williams is an urban revitalization trailblazer. His development activities have been at the forefront of neighborhood transformation efforts in Boston, Houston and Atlanta. He is an industry leader in organizational development, strategic planning and project implementation. He has spent the past 20 years successfully leading multi-million dollar, large-scale holistic revitalization initiatives totaling over $500 million.

As the Director of the Sacramento Promise Zone, Mr. Williams is responsible for coordinating the implementation of activities that have a transformational collective impact in targeted neighborhoods. He advises and leads the development and delivery of policy, strategy and programs particularly in the areas of education, health, jobs, economic development and sustainable community revitalization.

He coordinates the development of activities addressing Promise Zone goals and objectives. He directs recruitment of key stakeholders to participate in subcommittees and contributes in other ways to ensure strong engagement and representation from over 50 partners across the Promise Zone area.

Additionally, Mr. Williams works with VISTAs and the Sacramento Federal Liaison to track new Notices of Funding Availability (NOFA); works with community partners to identify the best positioned organizations to apply for grant opportunities through federal and state governments as well as with philanthropic organizations. He also provides strategic alignment and support to other place-based initiatives that include Choice Neighborhood Initiatives, Jobs Plus, and Promise Neighborhood inspired activities. 


Mr. Williams is also the Director of Development at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. He directs the real estate development and project financing activities for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), Sacramento Housing Authority,  Sacramento County Housing authority, the City of Sacramento, and Sacramento County


He believes that opening doors for academic advancement for students is paramount to creating thriving communities and economic success. He is a professional speaker, national conference presenter, and media contributor. He is the author of the book Igniting the Power to Succeed - Practical Performance Principles for Achieving Phenomenal Results. The book was featured by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.


Mr. Williams also enjoys mentoring and speaking to youth and is supporting the activities of former President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.” He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Prairie View A&M University, a Master of City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a PHD from the School of Hard Knocks.

Julius Austin joins the Sacramento Promise Zone team as the Promise Zone Coordinator at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. He previously was the Director of Community Development at the Center for Fathers and Families. Mr. Austin has over a decade of experience in the education field and the non-profit sector.  He has specialized in cross sector collaboration and placed based initiatives.  Julius is passionate about work that allows him to empower underserved communities in the areas of education, health & fitness, economics, politics, and sustainability. 

Promise Zone Coordinator
Julius Austin 


He is responsible for coordinating Promise Zone activities and processes that address issues of neighborhood housing development, public safety, job creation, training and placement, economic development, small business development financing, and neighborhood revitalization issues. He will also work with Promise Zone AmeriCorps VISTAs, a coalition of community stakeholders and Zone sub committees to advance the goals of the Promise Zone with focus on researching, identifying and pursuing federal funding opportunities.

Julius is an alumnus of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (Class VI) and is a Metro EDGE member.  Additionally, he is a graduate of the City of Sacramento 2014 City Management Academy.  Julius has won several awards for leadership and community service, including the 2016 Drexel University Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III Leadership Award, the Sacramento Kings 2016 Dream All-Star Award, and was selected for the  2015 Sacramento Business Journal 40 Under 40.  During college, he was a two-time USCAA All-American basketball player.  He led Rochester College to the 2004 USCAA National Championship as the captain and team MVP.  Julius has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics & Sciences from Rochester College and a Master of Business Administration from Drexel University.  

Julius holds several board positions including Treasurer of the Board for the Third District of the California State PTA, Board Member for the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, and Board Member for the Afripeace Foundation. He also traveled to South Africa to represent Sacramento District 5180 as a team member on the Rotary Club’s Group Study Exchange team.

AmeriCorps VISTAs

Five AmeriCorps VISTAs are one of the benefits of a Promise Zone Designation. Each year, VISTA members are placed at a community organization or public agency to create and expand programs that build capacity to overcome critical problems that burden low-income communities. During their year of service, VISTA members direct their efforts to build organizational, administrative, and financial capacity to further assist communities out of poverty. 

2018 AmeriCorps VISTAs (from lower right, clockwise): Angela Thao, Kao Ye Thao, Alisha Gomes, Alphonse Wilfred and Ken Docekal.

Thomas C. Gibbs III - Jobs & Economic Development Coordinator

Thomas Gibbs is currently the Jobs & Economic Development Coordinator for the Sacramento Promise Zone. Utilizing his experience as a small business owner and board chairman, Thomas focuses his energy and expertise on the acceleration of job growth and economic development within the Promise Zone. Mr. Gibbs employs his ability to create and build effective partnerships to grow new jobs while increasing employment retention in the Zone.

Thomas is a Morehouse College alumnus where he graduated at the top of his class with a degree in African American Studies and a concentration in Sociology. A certified Ralph Bunche Institute graduate research scholar from the University of California, Los Angeles, Thomas also studied Contract Law and developed a passion for forging business partnerships while attending Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law. 

Thomas utilizes the Jobs and Economic Development Coordinator platform to promote systemic change. He engages the Sacramento Promise Zone (SPZ) with compassion, a perspective of open-mindedness, and purpose. Thomas is determined to close the gap of economic despair. He believes all people must feel they have value in our society. He is committed to resolving longstanding issues of social exclusion and economic distress. Every day Thomas focuses on resolving economic development issues and accelerating job growth. He is actively pursuing how to make California prosperous for everyone.

Hannah Phillips - Education Coordinator

Hannah serves as the Promise Zone Education Coordinator. She is a resident of the Northern California area and is a recent graduate of the University of California, Davis. During her school term, Hannah obtained a Bachelor's Degree in History and Middle East/South Asia Studies. She had the opportunity to work as a research assistant and analyze the representation of the Middle East through western media news sources and brings a collection of analytical skills to the Promise Zone team. 

Michael Huff - Federal Liaison

Dr. Michael E. Huff serves as a program Analyst, Sacramento Promise Zone Liaison (Community Initiatives) with the HUD office of Field Policy & Management in the San Francisco Region Office. As a liaison, he is tasked with sharing best practices and with helping Promise Zone partners navigate federal funding opportunities - additionally, he is passionate, equity advocate for the Opportunity Zone Initiative.

Previously, he served volunteer terms with both Los Angeles-area Promise Zones (2016-2018) – as Senior Program Associate / VISTA Leader at the South Los Angeles Promise Zone (with LA Trade Tech College) and as Partnership Coordinator at the Los Angeles Promise Zone (with Mayor Garcetti's Office of Economic Opportunity). In 2016, Dr. Huff returned from serving with the United States Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia (near Russia & Turkey). In 2014-2015, he served as an ESL Program Manager in the People's Republic of China - he has some great stories from his international service.


Dr. Huff is committed to disrupting the cycle of inter-generational poverty by employing collective impact, place-based and social innovation strategies. He has conducted entrepreneurship and employability skills workshops in the United States, Australia, Eastern Europe, China and Canada. Michael has earned a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership. His certifications include: AACSB Business Instructor and Infrastructure Liaison Officer. Michael has also served as a social worker, business continuity planner and a privacy officer. For fun, Dr. Huff enjoys karaoke, hiking, sudoku puzzles and stargazing. And, if your jump shot needs some work, he is a basketball shooting coach as well.

 Jack Mannix - Health Coordinator

Jack Mannix is currently the Promise Zone Health Coordinator. A recent graduate from American University, Jack obtained his bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Graphic Design. Through his education, Jack was able to study health inequalities and their impact on communities in Washington, D.C., as well as abroad in Nairobi, Kenya. Having worked on several environmental grassroots campaigns in Virginia, Jack is hard at work utilizing his community organizing skills to help the Promise Zone make a collective impact among Sacramento communities.  

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