From day one until the very end, OFN’s 2019 Conference offered something for everyone: 119 sessions across 11 tracks, five tours – including four in D.C. and a full day tour of Baltimore — many special guests — among them President Bill Clinton — and numerous networking opportunities.
Among the highlights:
The Conference kicked off with pure energy when Step Afrika! took the stage. They are the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, an art form practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities.
During the Opening Plenary, four national policy makers — Mike Espy, former Secretary of USDA; Anne Hazlett, Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs, Office of National Drug Control Policy; Martin Gruenberg, Board of Governors and former Chairman, FDIC; and Jovita Carranza, US Treasurer — reflected on places familiar to them where finance made a difference and how their personal experience informs their national policy work.
Brandee McHale of the Wells Fargo Foundation and Matthew Arnold of JPMorgan Chase spoke about how CDFI lending makes their investments count.
“You’ve got to do the right thing and believe it will come out over the long run,” said President Clinton, in his keynote address to a riveted ballroom full of notables, CDFI practitioners, partners, and funders.
The first annual Native CDFI Awards honored Four Directions Community Development Corporation (2019 Native CDFI Catalyst Award recipient) and Lummi CDFI (2019 Seed Capital Award recipient). Shane Jett also received the 2019 Visionary Leader Award.
OFN’s membership elected three new Board members: Aisha Benson, Executive Vice President, TruFund Financial Services, Inc., Sara Razavi, CEO, Working Solutions, and Christina Travers, Vice President Finance & Capital Strategies at Low Income Investment Fund.