Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

A third-generation warrior for civil and human rights, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III, has built his ministry  on community advancement and racial and social justice activism. As Senior Pastor of Trinity  United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill., since 2008, Dr. Moss routinely preaches and practices a  Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration,  environmental justice, and economic inequality. 

Dr. Moss’ latest book project, Dancing in the Darkness: Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent  Times, released in November 2022, has been lauded as a “life-affirming guide to the practical,  political, and spiritual challenges of our day.” Utilizing the scholarship of Dr. Martin Luther King,  Jr., and Howard Thurman, alongside biblical texts, a bevy of religious traditions, Black culture,  and his own personal experiences, Dr. Moss offer up a methodology on performing spiritual  resistance by uniting two pillars of his ministry: love and justice. 

Dr. Moss is part of a generation of ministers committed to preaching a prophetic message of  love and justice, which he believes are inseparable companions that form the foundation of the  Gospel of Jesus Christ. As part of his community engagement through Trinity United Church of  Christ, Dr. Moss is currently providing vision for an ongoing-multi-year social project in Chicago  called Imani Village. The goal of Imani Village is to develop and build a physical and social  community at 95th & Cottage Grove, gateway to Chicago’s Pullman Community. The project is  designed to provide all of the components a community would need to be whole, including a  medical health center, lodging for tourists, housing for multiple generations, multiple options  for fresh food and vegetables, and a sports and recreation center. 

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College who earned a  Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago  Theological Seminary. He returned to Yale in 2014 to present the famed Lyman Beecher  lectures. The three-day event included an in-depth discourse on the subject of “The Blue Note  Gospel: Preaching the Prophetic Blues in a Post Soul World.” The lectures, which demonstrated  a homiletic blueprint for prophetic preaching in the 21st century, were the foundation of his  book, Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair

Dr. Moss has a passion for preaching, which led him back to the classroom. As a visiting lecturer  of homiletics at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, Dr. Moss helped up-and-coming  preachers build and strengthen their own preaching ministries. In 2022, Dr. Moss was named a  professor of homiletics at McAfee, where he continues to teach the next generation of  preachers. 

In addition to being an author and educator, Dr. Moss is also founder and CEO of the  Unashamed Media Group, established in 2012. The production company is a faith based social  justice collective, dedicated to curating stories to inspire the heart and challenge structures that  hinder human flourishing. The Group’s award-winning production, Otis’ Dream, is a narrative  documentary short film, highlighting Otis Moss, Sr.’s 1946 attempt to vote in Troup County,  Ga. The film has not only been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday, The Joy Reid  Show and Roland Martin Unfiltered, but it is also the winner of eight film festival awards in the  United Kingdom and the United States. Festival awards include, best narrative short, best  documentary short, best musical score, best actor and audience favorite. Currently Unashamed 

Media is in pre-production for a feature length version of Otis’ Dream

With a unique gift to communicate across generations, Dr. Moss’ creative bible-based messages  have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Dr. Moss a  popular speaker on college campuses, at conferences, and churches across the globe. He is  highly influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Howard Thurman, Jazz,  and Hip-Hop music. The work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the pastoral ministry  of his father, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. of Cleveland, Ohio, have been primary mentors for his spiritual  formation. 

Over the years a number of awards and honors have been bestowed upon Dr. Moss. Two such  honors are: 

  • Baylor University’s Truett School Theology recognized Dr. Moss as one of the 12 most  effective preachers in the English-speaking world. 
  • Presbyterian College, Clinton, S.C., Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur Ga., and  Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Ga., jointly awarded Dr. Moss the inaugural  Harrington Prize for young preachers. This distinction recognizes young ministers who  have shown evidence of distinguished examples of preaching, evangelism, community  service, and the promise of future contributions. 

Dr. Moss is the former pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., his first  pastorate, where the church grew from 125 members to over 2100 disciples during his tenure.  

His earlier publications include: Redemption in a Red Light District, and The Gospel According to  the Wiz: And Other Sermons from Cinema. He co-authored The Gospel Re-Mix; How to Reach  the Hip-Hop Generation with three other contributors, and Preach! The Power and Purpose  Behind Our Praise, with his father. His sermons, articles, and poetry have appeared in several  print and online publications, including Sojourners Magazine and The African American Pulpit  Journal. 

Dr. Moss is an ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United  Church of Christ. In addition to his other ministerial duties, he also serves as chaplain of the  Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference. 

He is married to his college sweetheart, the former Monica Brown of Orlando, Fla., a Spelman  College and Columbia University graduate. They are the proud parents of two creative and  humorous young adults, Elijah Wynton and Makayla Elon. 

Rev. Tim Seery

Rev. Tim Seery (he/him) is the pastor of the Congregational Church of La Jolla, United Church of Christ located in a coastal suburb of San Diego, California. He’s previously served in pastoral capacities at two Boston-area congregations as well as a chaplain at an assisted living community. Ordained in 2017 by the Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference (acting as an Association) of the United Church of Christ, Tim holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and bachelor’s in comparative religion from Harvard University. He is currently a Doctor of Ministry candidate at the UCC-affiliated Pacific School of Religion where he is studying the complexities, challenges, and opportunities of the Congregational Way of church governance. Passionate about the radical inclusion and vision of the UCC, Tim serves the wider church as chair of his Association’s Committee on Ministry, as an ethics response team member, and as Vice Chair of the Southern California Nevada Conference Board of Directors. He is also proud to be a member of Cohort 11 of the UCC Pension Board’s Next Generation Leadership Initiative.

Betsey Saffar, Vice President & CFO

Saffar brings extensive non-profit and private-sector financial experience and an entrepreneurial spirit to Cornerstone Fund. She previously served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Achievement Centers for Children, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit that provides an array of services to children and adults with disabilities. Prior to that, Saffar was an accountant at Ernst & Young and also ran her own catering company. After earning a Bachelors Degree from The Ohio State University, Saffar studied Accounting at the Masters level at Cleveland State University and earned an MBA in Applied Management from Indiana Wesleyan University

UCC Financial Ministries


The UCC Church Building & Loan Fund (CB&LF) assists new and renewing United Church of Christ congregations and other Christian congregations regardless of sect or denominational affiliation, that are planning to buy a first church building or land site, or who want to construct, renovate or develop a church building, school, parsonage or other church-owned real property that advances the mission of the Church.

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Bricks & Mortals


Bricks & Mortals helps houses of worship thrive by providing creative and sustaining solutions amidst the costly and challenging landscape of operating in New York City. Bricks and Mortals is a membership organization dedicated to sustaining opportunities for faith-based organizations.

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Jubilee Impact Fund


Jubilee Impact Fund, Inc. is a non-profit ministry organization that directs faith impact investment to Christian community development by establishing impact investment fund and enterprise program models. Jubilee’s biblical vision is to rebuild, restore and renew cities of hope and human flourishing around the United States. By partnering with local investors, churches, and faith-based organizations, Jubilee directs capital into business and real estate ventures in at-risk neighborhoods that employ women, youth, and minorities supported by Christ-centered ministries. Jubilee is raising Christian community development impact investment funds in metropolitan areas nationwide.

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Neighborhood Development Ministries


Neighborhood Development Ministries, Inc. (ND Ministries) serves neighbors by helping the local church foster great neighborhoods. ND Ministries partners with and support churches and ministries in local communities to help them create neighborhood-based opportunities for service and outreach. By fostering these supportive, inclusive, and sustainable neighborhoods, ND Ministries envision the neighborhood’s flourishing by living out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission through innovative community and economic development models.

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Rebecca Perera, Chief of Credit

Rebecca Perera is Cornerstone’s Chief of Credit. Prior to her appointment as CoC, Rebecca was the Fund’s Director of Lending, where she developed and codified lending operations and served as primary underwriter. Rebecca came to Cornerstone from the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), a nonprofit SBA micro lender, where she shepherded dozens of small business owners through underwriting and provided both pre-loan technical expertise and post-loan business development consulting to support their enduring success.

Rebecca’s commitment to community-oriented and equitable access to resources — whether financial, educational, or cultural — makes her a vital contributor to Cornerstone’s mission-oriented approach to lending. Prior to her career in finance, Rebecca was a professional orchestral musician, performing on stages worldwide and spearheading a number of community engagement projects in the arts. This early work was the genesis of her ongoing commitment to community and economic development, including board service with a diverse array of organizations such as Noteworthy Federal Credit Union, Les Delices Early Music Ensemble, Metro West Community Development Organization and Cleveland Public Theatre’s Masrah Al-Arabi.

She holds degrees from Oberlin College and Rice University.

Rachel Duncan, Marketing, Technology and Fund Coordinator

Rachel Duncan joined the Cornerstone Fund in February 2022 in the newly created Marketing, Technology, and Fund Coordinator leadership team position. Rachel has a proven passion for the mission of the United Church of Christ and its crucial role in our communities and beyond, as she served previously in the UCC National Setting for four years. Rachel began her career as an archaeologist with The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and ever since, she has been passionate about digging deep to discover and support what makes each nonprofit unique. Rachel has 30 years of employment and volunteer service in the nonprofit sector, including staff and consulting roles with The Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, NASA Glenn Research Center, The International Women’s Air and Space Museum, The Royal Ontario Museum, The Rochester Science and Museum Center and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Scott Hackenberg, Chief Lending Officer

Having spent the first half of his career working in private equity and leveraged lending, Scott turned toward social impact investing, looking to make a greater difference in the world through high-impact, community-driven initiatives. After graduating with Distinction from Cornell University, Scott began his career in finance with Blackstone. He went on to co-found Swander Pace Capital, a private equity firm with over $1 billion under management focused on building and growing world-class consumer businesses. Driven by a passion for using the tools of finance for the good of those who need it most, Scott then worked for the Non-Profit Finance Fund and RSF Social Finance, two Bay Area organizations at the forefront of the impact investment sector. Given his rare combination of for-profit and non-profit finance experience, Scott brings a depth of experience and diligence to sourcing and gathering catalytic capital, financial structuring, and grant-making programs for social impact investment initiatives. He is passionate about bringing the tools and skills of finance to community-focused organizations looking to affect long-term change.