OFN established the Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance in memory of former Board member—and former Federal Reserve Board Governor—Ned Gramlich. We recognize one Awardee each year at the OFN Conference. The spirit of the award is to celebrate a person of distinction who has produced a body of work that sets him or her apart within the opportunity finance industry.
We invite OFN Members and others to recommend individuals who embody the following characteristics:
- A career dedicated to the core purpose and values that define opportunity finance;
- An exemplary set of work products in or related to the practice of opportunity finance; and
- Is an appropriate representative of the opportunity finance industry.
To honor Ned’s spirit and legacy, the standard is high—nominated individuals should reflect the best of who and what the opportunity finance industry is.
Please submit your nominations for the 2017 Ned Gramlich Achievement Award for Opportunity Finance by completing the Nominating Form by Friday, July 21, 2017.
All nominations require two seconds. After completing the Nominating Form, send the Seconding Form link to two colleagues to complete by Friday, July 28, 2017. Between the nominator and the seconds, two must come from outside the nominee's own organization.
The OFN Board will select the 2017 Awardee. The Awardee will be invited to speak at the OFN Conference in Washington, D.C. in September 26-28.
Former Ned Gramlich recipients include:
- 2016: Elsie Meeks. Creator of the Lakota Funds, a nonprofit promoting economic sustainability on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Meeks played a vital role in bringing CDFIs to the Native community. In a 2014 interview for OFN's CDFI History project , Meeks described that experience: “It was hard work and I fel like I got run over by a truck about every other day at Lakota Fund, but it was so worth it for what other tribes have gained through this.” Meeks embodies Gramlich’s spirit and determination in everything she does. She currently serves as chairperson of Lakota Funds, and chairs the Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Center for Indian Country Development. She also serves on the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. Prior to joining the USDA, a position she was appointed to by the Obama Administration in 2009, Meeks was president and CEO of First Nations Oweesta Corporation. She also served two terms on OFN’s Board and a six-year term on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, making her the first Native American to join the Commission.
- 2015: Moises Loza. Executive Director of Housing Assistance Council, Loza’s career has centered around advocating for justice and social equality, and providing housing solutions to low-income families and individuals in regions such as Indian country, the Mississippi Delta, the Southwest border Colonias, and Appalachia. In a 2014 interview as part of OFN's CDFI History project, Loza stressed the importance of securing racial equity, political power, and economic security for peoples of color.
- 2014: Bill Bynum. Longtime justice advocate and founder and CEO of Jackson, Mississippi-based Hope Enterprise Corporation/Hope Credit Union (HOPE), Bynum said after receiving the award: “Every day at HOPE we strive to realize Ned Gramlich’s vision of responsible finance for our members. I’m grateful to be part of a movement that is committed to ensuring economic justice for people and communities where there is a dire need for financial inclusion and equality.”
- 2013: Ron Phillips. Founder and former President and CEO of CEI, Phillips has dedicated his career to the core purpose and values that define opportunity finance. As a result of his leadership, CEI has received significant state, federal, and private recognition of its accomplishments. Phillips is a leading voice for low-income and low-wealth people everywhere, and especially for people and communities in rural America.
- 2012: Juliana Eades. President and founder of the New Hampshire Community Development Loan Fund, Eades has spent more than 30 years working to bend the arc of capitalism toward justice. Her perseverance has made a profound difference in the lives of people working to rise above poverty in New Hampshire and the entire country.
- 2011: Jeremy Nowak. Cofounder of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), which he led for 25 years, and a pioneer in the opportunity finance industry, Nowak has committed his illustrious career to improving the lives of low-wealth, low-income, and other disadvantaged people and communities by finding solutions to the challenging problems they face.
- 2010: Sister Corinne Florek. Florek leads the Mercy Partnership Fund and advocates for impact investing. A Dominican Sister, Florek has dedicated her life, not just her work, to the social justice movement. Working in the field of economic development as a manager, educator, consultant, financial administrator, and strategic planner, for more than 30 years she has helped build assets in underserved communities.
- 2009: Martin Eakes. Eakes co-founded and serves as CEO of North Carolina-based Self-Help, a community development lender. His financing innovations and policy leadership have enabled countless underserved people and communities across the nation to own homes and businesses and to build wealth.
- 2008: Cliff Rosenthal. The CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (“the Federation”), for more than two decades, Rosenthal championed credit unions serving low-income people and communities.
- 2007: Ned Gramlich. A Governor of the Federal Reserve from 1997 to 2005, Gramlich was a tireless advocate for responsible finance and embodied the values that define the opportunity finance industry. He was one of very few people at the time to warn publicly that irresponsible mortgage lending practices would likely lead to financial crisis.