Title and Organization:
Derwin is the co-founder and CEO of Adaptive Commons, a real estate company that invests in the transformation of civic spaces for social good. Prior to Adaptive Commons, Derwin co-founded and co-led Maslow Development Inc., a real estate & community development firm that advises, designs, and develops mixed-use communities anchored by high-quality schools. Prior to Maslow, Derwin co-founded and served as the CEO of Gestalt Community Schools, a charter management organization that develops high-quality, community-based charter schools in Memphis, Tennessee. Honored by the White
House and the U.S. Department of Education, GCS grew into one of the highest performing networks of schools in Tennessee, anchoring over 40 acres of a mixed-use development that Derwin spearheaded, including a performing arts center and affordable housing.
In partnership with the Menkiti Group, Derwin also co-founded Grove Social Impact Partner’s Obsidian Catalyst Fund, a real estate investment vehicle that aims to drive neighborhood-level social impact by capitalizing a new category of Black real estate developers. Derwin’s work has been featured in numerous publications, including Urban Land Institute’s Urban Land Magazine, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has also lectured at various colleges and universities, including Harvard Graduate School of Design, Yale School of Management, and Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.
Derwin has held private, mayoral- and gubernatorial-appointed board seats at healthcare, foundation, education, and arts-based companies, including Collage Dance Collective, one of the largest Black-led performing arts organizations in the American South, and the developer of Crosstown Concourse, a 1,500,000 sq. ft. adaptive reuse of a historic Sears distribution center. In 2015, Derwin became the youngest person to chair the board of Memphis Light, Gas and Water, the nation’s largest 3-tier public utility.
Derwin holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University, a PhD from the University of Memphis, and he is an alumnus of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he was a Loeb Fellow. Derwin is also a Broad Fellow and a Pahara Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, where he was selected as a Braddock Scholar.