The Alliance Hosts 2024 Annual Meeting & Conference: The Power of Us

In a celebration brimming with blackness, beauty, and warmth, The Alliance held their second annual in-person conference in Chicago, IL, from June 12-15. The theme, “The Power of Us,” captured the essence of Black-led CDFIs and Associate members aspiring to become CDFIs uniting to overcome all obstacles and empower their communities by building wealth and providing capital and housing opportunities. Since its establishment, The Alliance has been a cornerstone for Black-led CDFI CEOs, offering capacity-building programs and resources to help them thrive. 

This year’s three-day conference rallied the call to harness the potential within the underserved communities they serve. By focusing on collective strengths, experiences, and expertise, members strategized and implemented solutions together. Through engaging sessions, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, members fostered collaboration among visionary leaders, partners, and dedicated allies to celebrate Black excellence and create lasting impact.   

We held sessions focused on housing, economic development, green lending, financial empowerment, and wealth creation within Black communities. Among them, we held a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund half-day workshop led by Trenton Allen from Sustainable Capital Advisors that included in-depth discussions and case studies that enhanced our members’ green lending initiatives.  

Dynamic panel discussions, keynote speeches, and inspirational words from notable figures added to the experience, including: 

  • Harold Pettigrew, CEO, Opportunity Finance Network 
  • Amber Koonce, Assistant Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund 
  • Munya Muvezwa, Partner, McKinsey and Company 
  • Xavier Ramey, Founder/CEO, Justice Informed 
  • Pravina Raghavan, Director, CDFI Fund 
  • Lennox Yearwood, President/CEO, Hip Hop Caucus 
  • Akuoma Nwadike, Founder, President/Principal, Inclusivity Education 
  • Heather Parish, Founder and Principal Consultant, Strategies for Community Economic Development and Finance 
  • Chris Womack, CEO, Southern Company 
  • Katie Gailes, CEO, Katie Gailes & Company 
  • Dariely Rodriguez, Deputy Chief Counsel, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law 
  • Priscilla Sims Brown, President, Amalgamated Bank 
  • Michael Crooks, Global President, PaySoko Systems 
  • Jordan Taylor, Director of Renewable Energy, Sustainable Capital Advisors 
  • Trenton Allen, CEO, Sustainable Capital Advisors 
  • Taylor Lavender, Launch Team Member, Justice Climate Fund 

The conference concluded with an Awards Ceremony & Juneteenth Celebration Dinner and Harlem Nights Gala, where attendees dressed in roaring ’20s attire and enjoyed a violin selection with spectacular food. Several members were recognized for their remarkable contributions, embodying the Alliance’s mission to build capacity, power, and bridges.  

Congratulations to the award recipients: 

  • Innovation Excellence Award: Everett Sands 
  • Financial Empowerment Award: Renay Dossman 
  • Digital Innovation Award: Ifeyani Jemie 
  • Equity in Housing Award: Marshall Crawford 
  • Small Business Champion Award: Hilda Kennedy 
  • Climate Justice Award: Donna Gambrell 
  • Community Impact Award: Arlo Washington 
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Inez Long 

Leadership was also surprised with awards to show appreciation for their dedication to The Alliance: 

  • Good Trouble Award: Lenwood V. Long, Sr., Alliance CEO – An inaugural award to be presented each year at the Annual Meeting & Conference to a member or staff that embodies the tenets of this award. 
  • Visionary Leadership Award: Amber Banks-Bond, Alliance President 

We are grateful to all our members and allies for their attendance, and a special thank you to all of our sponsors for your support: Citi Bank, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, US Bank, NALCAB, AERIS, Goldman Sachs, MacArthur Foundation, FHL Bank Chicago, Amalgamated Bank, NCIF, PNC, the California Endowment, PaySoko Systems, McKinsey & Company, the Kresge Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Key Environmental Consulting and Marie Bibbs.  

The Alliance looks forward to continuing this impactful work at the 2025 Annual Meeting and Conference in Charleston, SC.