When Brian Benjamin was 5, his family moved from Harlem to Starrett City, Brooklyn. So when Benjamin decided to move back to the fast-changing neighborhood as a young adult, his mother was a little puzzled. "She told me that we didn't leave there so I could go back," he recalled.
Benjamin has secured his place as a leading uptown organizer, using the connections he built while attending Brown University and working in finance to help raise money for Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. In 2010, he joined Genesis Cos., a real estate development firm started by a classmate at Harvard Business School.
The company now owns 1,000 affordable apartments in the area and last year bought 358 units from Abyssinian Development Corp. for $26 million, pledging the housing will remain affordable for decades to come.