Remembering Jane Dembner

The Columbia Housing Center Board of Directors mourns the loss of Jane Dembner, whose vision and dedication brought our organization into being. It was Jane who found compelling the recommendation of a 2014 regional housing plan that we need to be proactive in preserving the unique parts of our metropolitan area, like Columbia, that are racially integrated. She saw the need to nurture that special quality that helped make Columbia so successful from its founding more than 50 years ago.

When former Howard County housing director Tom Carbo brought the Housing Center idea to her attention, it was Jane, through her work at the Columbia Association, who brought Oak Park Regional Housing Center’s then-director Rob Breymaier to Columbia in October 2016 to share that successful Chicago-area model with us here in Columbia. And it was Jane who then brought together alumni of Leadership Howard County and others who had been inspired by Rob to create the Columbia Housing Center nonprofit organization, form a Board of Directors, begin fundraising and outreach, and develop a strategic plan for implementing this vision here.

Jane planted the seed that is growing to be a tribute to her foresight and commitment. We miss her presence with us, and we will always be grateful for her friendship and for her initiative in beginning this crucial effort for Columbia’s continued success.