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Laurel Tinsley

Managing Director

Laurel serves as the Managing Director of Tax Advantage Group (TAG) by Cherry Bekaert. With 20 years of experience, Laurel brings expertise in complex financial transactions for the economic development of communities through her knowledge of federal and state New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), Historic Tax Credits, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Renewable Energy Tax Credits, bond financing and other types of incentives. Laurel provides clients with technical guidance through transactions beginning at inception and assists in compliance through the entirety of the loans until unwind.Before joining Cherry Bekaert, Laurel was the Chief Executive Officer of MBS Urban Initiatives, a Community Development Entity (CDE), and Deputy General Counsel of Development at McCormack Baron Salazar. During her tenure, Laurel deployed over $297 million of the CDE’s NMTC allocation into 42 investments resulting in over $1.16 billion in investment in Low-Income Communities (LICs) across the country. In addition, she sourced over $50 million in third party NMTC allocation into 6 projects as a tax credit, finance and development consultant.

Laurel’s extensive knowledge in tax credits began with a legal career with an emphasis on federal, state and local tax issues and complex investments involving corporations, partnerships, and tax-exempt entities.


Emma Wyatt

Program Manager

As program manager of The Innovate Fund, Emma oversees the New Markets Tax Credit funding that helps to revitalize low-income communities in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Emma supports, supervises, and implements The Innovate Fund’s strategic plan that includes community engagement, pipeline development and marketing throughout the service area.

Emma brings experience from her prior role as a Community Development Specialist, providing project development advisory services to community-based organizations and businesses participating in transformative community development projects through the New Markets Tax Credit program.


David Barnett

Chairman of the Innovate Fund Board

David Barnett currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for The Innovate Fund. David also serves as Board President for the Greenville Local Development Corporation. David retired from banking in 2020 (former President and CEO of Pinnacle Bank of SC) and now serves on the Division Board of Directors of Park National Bank. David has been instrumental in helping The Innovate Fund and the Greenville Local Development Corporation invest dollars into low income communities in the Upstate and throughout South Carolina.


Tammy Propst


With 25 years of incentive and financing experience, Tammy C. Propst is Operating Officer of The Innovate Fund.  In addition to her role with The Innovate Fund, Tammy is also President of Tax Advantage Group by Cherry Bekaert, a specialized consulting firm that provides business incentive and tax credit financing advisory services to clients across the country. She is part of the team that created Greenville New Markets Opportunity, (GNMO) LLC, the first allocated Community Development Entity (CDE) in South Carolina. Ms. Propst holds a Master of International Business Studies (MIBS) degree from the University of South Carolina, and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Appalachian State University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of CommunityWorks Inc., a certified CDFI and she is an Advisory Board member of South State Bank and Self Help Ventures Fund, a certified CDE.

Advisory Board

  • Andrew Crosson, Invest Appalachia, Chief Executive Officer
  • Bill Pollard, BrightBridge Capital, COO
  • Brendan Buttimer, South Carolina Community Loan Fund, Upstate Community Development Loan Officer
  • Brian Oxford, CAHEC, Manager, Acquisitions & New Markets
  • Carl Rees, Electricities of NC, Senior Economic Developer
  • Duncan Cheney – Metanoia CDC, Director of Physical Asset Development
  • Jennifer Derryberry, CommunityWorks, Chief Financial Officer
  • Merle Johnson, City of Greenville, SC, Director of Eocnomic and Community Development
  • William Turner, Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Banking, Senior Vice President

Operating Board

  • David Barnett, Board Chair – Carolina Alliance Bank, President SC Western Region
  • Laurel Tinsley, Operating Officer – Tax Advantage Group by Cherry Bekaert, Managing Director
  • Tammy Propst – Tax Advantage Group by Cherry Bekaert, Founder and Former Managing Director
  • Michael Panasko – City of Greenville, Business Development Manager
  • Mark Cooter – Cherry Bekaert, Managing Partner SC Upstate
  • Andrew Kurtz – Kopis, LLC, CEO & Vigilix, LLC, CEO
  • Charlie Mickel – RSI Holdings, President