While the fall midterm elections captured the nation’s attention, the CDFI industry was also following another closely contested race: the 2022 OFN Board Election. In the months leading up to voting at the OFN annual conference, 10 stellar candidates vied for four open seats on OFN’s Board.
OFN announced the slate in early September, kicking off weeks of campaigning that culminated at the OFN conference in New York City. In person at the October event, candidates had the opportunity to press hands, meet their constituents, and share creative campaign swag leading up the vote.
The crowning event was two days into the OFN Conference at the OFN Annual Membership Meeting. After listening to rousing candidate speeches, delegates from OFN member CDFIs cast their votes. A few hours later, OFN announced the winners:
Aisha Benson, President and CEO, Nonprofit Finance Fund. Benson brings 30 years of professional experience in lending to nonprofits, small- to medium sized businesses, real estate projects, and more — 16 of them in banking — and more than a decade spent overseeing New Markets Tax Credit deployment, lending, and technical assistance at TruFund, a CDFI that works in New York, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. An incumbent, Benson first joined the Board in 2019.
Henry Jiménez, Executive Director, Latino Economic Development Center. Prior to joining LEDC, Jiménez ran a variety of programs and organizations with local to statewide scopes, including Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization and Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs. Jiménez also serves as the founding president of the board of directors of Comunidades Organizando el Poder y Acción Latina, a nonprofit working to consolidate and activate the civic power of Minnesota Latinos.
Sara Razavi, Chief Executive Officer, Working Solutions CDFI. Razavi joined Working Solutions in 2013, serving as COO before becoming CEO. She brings 20 years of experience in the social sector to the role, with expertise in operations, strategy, finance, small business, and partnership management. An incumbent on the OFN Board, Razavi also serves on the Executive Committee of the California Coalition for Community Investment, a statewide coalition of CDFIs, and the Advisory Council of REDF Impact Investing Fund.
Christina Travers, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, LISC. Prior to joining LISC, Travers was the CFO of Working Solutions CDFI. Travers also spent more than two years at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) as vice president for Finance & Capital Strategies. Before LIIF, she spent ten years at LISC as senior vice president for Finance & Capital Strategies. Prior to joining the CDFI industry, Travers worked as a policy analyst at New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. This is Travers’s second term on the OFN Board.
“The industry really embraces the OFN Board Election as a vehicle for change,” said OFN’s Interim President & CEO Beth Lipson. “It’s a spirited race among talented CDFI leaders who are committed to justice and excellence and determined to lead the opportunity finance industry in exciting, innovative new directions. OFN is grateful to everyone who threw their hats in the ring this year to make it a strong contest. Congratulations to our four winners — we look forward to working with the new Board on our continued mission of change.”