Today, the Board of Directors of Community Vision announced the selection of current Senior Vice President of Programs, Catherine Howard, to be the organization’s next President. Howard, who started her career with Community Vision as an intern in 1997, will officially assume the position on May 10, 2021. She was selected after an exhaustive national search led by The 360 Group and under the leadership of a search committee composed of key board members and staff representatives.
Cat has more than 25 years of experience in community investment in staff and volunteer roles at Community Vision, Capital Impact Partners, and Opportunity Fund. Her track record includes creating innovative financial tools and programs that center community needs and priorities and creating systems that remove barriers to move capital and other resources into high impact projects.
Over the course of her career, Cat has overseen more than one-quarter billion dollars in community investment, which has been leveraged many times over, into projects that support healthy food access, economic development, affordable housing, and community ownership of community assets. She is also recognized for her expertise in developing innovative strategies that support lending, finance, program development, and partnership development.
“No one knows this organization more fully than Cat,” said Carolyn Johnson, Community Vision Board and Search Committee Member, and CEO of Oakland’s Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation. “As a former colleague, I know her depth of professional experience and her commitment to community are exactly the attributes that we need leading Community Vision and the important work we have in front of us.”
Cat is Community Vision’s third President since its inception in 1987. Hired by the first President, Paul Sussman and working closely for years with long-time President Mary Rogier, she has experienced many phases of the organization’s growth, including introducing real estate and financial consulting services, expanding into the Central Valley, and the development of important collaborative efforts throughout the state. Recent efforts have focused on integrating our definitions and practices related to risk to address implicit racial bias and ensure we are meeting our work with the focus and urgency needed to move capital into communities of color.
“We were very lucky to realize that what this position required was already available to us on staff,” added Patricia GoPaul, Community Vision Board Chair and Executive Vice President, Legal Counsel for the Low Income Investment Fund. “I’ve had the privilege of working with Cat for many years and am excited that under her leadership Community Vision will continue to invest in critical community-driven projects throughout California.”
As a leading CDFI, Community Vision’s key focus is prioritizing its resources and expertise towards creating opportunities for wealth-building, community leadership, and power-building among BIPOC communities throughout California. Cat’s leadership in challenging traditional concepts of capital risk has led to innovative tools that have unlocked millions of dollars in BIPOC communities throughout our region.
“It’s important to me that communities build generational wealth and have the resources they need to create permanent assets that increase collective power,” said Howard. “This has been our commitment for years and it will continue to be a priority under my leadership.” She is looking forward to engaging with Community Vision’s wide range of supporters, partners, and clients in the coming weeks.
Cat holds a Bachelor of Art in Government from the University of Maryland Honors Program, from which she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Master’s degree in City Planning from University of California, Berkeley. She is a fervent and unapologetic fan of the Oakland A’s.
You can reach Cat by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.