A fierce seeker of solutions, Jeremy Nowak identified ways to improve the lives of disadvantaged communities, contributed to the betterment of Philadelphia, and believed in the power of communities to innovate and improve. The CDFI industry lost a friend and one of its original champions on Saturday, July 28, 2018 when Jeremy passed away from complications of a heart attack. He is survived by his wife and two children.
“Jeremy was a vibrant spirit who led our field boldly forward. He influenced many in the CDFI field, was himself an inspirational CDFI leader, and so much more,” said Lisa Mensah, President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network. “He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Jeremy, a founding board member of OFN in 1987, was honored by OFN in 2011 with the Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance for his pioneering work in the opportunity finance field, especially as the founder of Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia in 1985. His influence on the CDFI industry cannot be understated, and includes his co-creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative which ultimately influenced the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
In March 2016 he authored the influential paper CDFI Futures: An Industry at a Crossroads about the critical time of change that the industry faces.
His most recent book, The New Localism, co-authored with Bruce Katz, was published in January 2018 as a roadmap for change rooted in cities as the driving force for progress.
Funeral services for Jeremy will be held on Friday, August 3, at 10 a.m., at Drexel University’s Main Building auditorium, 3141 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA. Donations can be made to the Mastery Charter Foundation—Jeremy Nowak Scholarship; Lankenau Hospital Fund #5121 for the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit; and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.