Technical Assistance


Jennifer Cummings

Assembling Capital for Rural Development
Tuesday June 1 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Director of Business Programs
Finance Authority of Maine

As Director of Business Programs at the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), Jennifer Cummings oversees a strong and experienced lending team that works with Maine lenders and businesses to help them get to “yes.” FAME has a unique role in Maine, tasked with taking on greater risk than traditional lenders for the benefit of the state. FAME does this primarily by offering Maine lenders commercial loan insurance and providing direct loans to Maine businesses through its FAME Direct Loan program, frequently facilitating deals that would not otherwise be possible.

At FAME success is measured by the number of jobs created and retained, as well as the amount of capital deployed: since 1983 when FAME opened its doors, over 100,000 jobs have been created or retained across all of Maine’s major industries and over $2 billion in loans and equity capital has been funneled into the Maine economy.

Jenn has over 15 years of experience as a commercial finance professional, both as a commercial loan officer and workout officer. She joined FAME in 2013 as Senior Workout Officer and now serves as Director of Business Programs. A Maine native, Jenn received her BS in International Business and Logistics from Maine Maritime Academy and earned her MBA from Thomas College. When not at work, she enjoys spending time outside hiking and skiing with her two daughters, Grace (9), and Eleanor (4). She can also be found competing at local Crossfit competitions and is a Crossfit Trainer.

Alessandra Jerolleman

Financing Disaster Resiliency in Rural Communities
Tuesday March 23 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Associate Professor of Emergency Management
Jacksonville State University

Alessandra Jerolleman is an Associate Professor in Jacksonville State University’s Emergency Management Department. She is a community resilience specialist and applied researcher at the Lowlander Center, as well as a co-founder of Hazard Resilience, a United States based consultancy providing leadership and expertise in disaster recovery, risk reduction, and hazard policy. She recently published a book titled: Disaster Recovery through the Lens of Justice. Dr. Jerolleman is one of the founders of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) and served as its Executive Director for its first seven years. Dr. Jerolleman is a subject matter expert in climate adaptation, hazard mitigation, disaster recovery, and resilience with a long history of working in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She is involved in various aspects of planning and policy and the national and local level, including participation in several workshops each year. Her experience includes the following: conducting independent research on disaster risk reduction and hazard mitigation for various organizations such as the National Wildlife Foundation; working as the lead grant writer and emergency planner for the First Peoples’ Conservation Council, through her role with the Lowlander Center on coastal community resettlement; community based resilience planning across the United States; working with Save the Children USA along the Gulf Coast following hurricanes and tornadoes, on a resilience initiative around children’s needs in emergencies; hazard mitigation planning at the local, state and campus level; community education and outreach regarding mitigation measures and preparedness; development of collaborative networks and information sharing avenues among practitioners; and, delivery of training and education to various stakeholders. Dr. Jerolleman speaks on many topics including: Just Recovery; hazard mitigation and climate change; campus planning; threat, hazard and vulnerability assessments; hazard mitigation planning; protecting children in disasters; and, public/private partnerships.

Mary Kerner

Best Practices for Rural Development Finance Agencies
Tuesday August 31 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Rural Nevada Development Corporation

Mary Kerner is the CEO for the Rural Nevada Development Corporation. She has been with RNDC for 18 years. Her lending service area encompasses all of Nevada, with specialty in the rural areas. She is responsible for effectively creating and administering a $24 million loan portfolio and maintaining a less than 1% default rate, that alone would be worthy of recognition. However, she has also consistently worked to ensure RNDC clients receive the needed business acumen, technical assistance and advocacy required to achieve and maintain success, both before and after they receive their funding through RNDC. She is familiar with rural markets and understands the struggles that small businesses encounter daily. She relates your situation to real life examples that she’s dealt with in her 20+ years of business finance.

In addition to her board and community experience, her formal credentials include a BA in Business Administration with and emphasis in HR Mgmt. She earned her Certified Public Officials certificate through UNR extended studies and she is an Economic Development Finance Professional certified by the National Development Council. Formerly, she was honored by the SBA as the Financial Services Champion of the Year for Nevada and nationally as one of the top 10 lenders in the nation, as well as, being given the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award by SBA.

Katie Kramer

Financing Disaster Resiliency in Rural Communities
Tuesday March 23 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Best Practices for Rural Development Finance Agencies
Tuesday August 31 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Vice President
Council of Development Finance Agencies

Katie Kramer is a Vice President at the Council of Development Finance Agencies and has been with CDFA since 2005. She is an accomplished non-profit executive with expertise in fundraising, grant writing, operations, and building organizational capacity. In her role at CDFA, she leads Government & External Affairs, provides technical assistance to communities, and builds strategic partnerships with foundations, federal agencies, and other industry non-profits to grow the professional acumen of CDFA members and the development finance industry at-large.

Ms. Kramer interacts with thousands of development finance practitioners each year, guiding them through their professional development and understanding of the diversity of development finance programs. She has developed numerous courses in the CDFA Training Institute, edited several CDFA publications, and designed marketing and communications collateral for the association. Her writing has been featured in publications and reports on development finance, including those commissioned by The Kresge Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, World Bank, U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Agriculture. She regularly speaks about development finance at national and local conferences and is a guest lecturer at The Ohio State University.

Previously, Ms. Kramer served as CDFA’s Director of Education & Programs and Development Director. Before joining CDFA, Ms. Kramer worked in the Assessment Division at Ballard & Tighe, Publishers as Project Coordinator where she managed projects involved with the development of standardized language tests. Prior to Ballard & Tighe, Ms. Kramer was employed by Scripps College as Assistant Director of the Annual Fund where she organized fundraising campaigns for alumnae, parents, and students.

She studied art history at Scripps College and holds a BA in English with honors from Cleveland State University. Ms. Kramer is President of the Board for the Ohio Statewide Development Corporation and serves on the advisory board for Eldon & Elsie Ward Family YMCA.

Amanda Martin

Financing Disaster Resiliency in Rural Communities
Tuesday March 23 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Deputy Chief Resilience Officer
North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Amanda Martin is Deputy Chief Resilience Officer with the State of North Carolina. Amanda is passionate about building resilience in ways that advance economic prosperity, strengthen housing options, and celebrate cultural and natural heritage. In her current work with the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, she advances the state’s resilience through policy advising, stakeholder engagement, and technical assistance. She completed her PhD in City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill, where her dissertation examined post-disaster home buyouts in North Carolina from the perspectives of resilience, recovery, and racial justice. Amanda has over a decade of experience in climate resilience, disaster recovery, and community development, and she holds a Master in City Planning from MIT and Bachelor’s degree from Harvard. She lives with her wife and two children in Durham, North Carolina.

Johanna Nelson

Assembling Capital for Rural Development
Tuesday June 1 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Strategic Program Manager
New Mexico Economic Development Department

Johanna has worked in economic development for over 10 years, currently, she works under the Cabinet Secretary’s Office within the New Mexico Economic Development Department as a Strategic Program Development Coordinator. She is a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council and was a previous Franzini Fellow with CDFA. She has owned several small businesses and currently operates a small business in her spare time. She holds an MBA in Organizational Development and a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Technology and Design.

Tony Pipa

Best Practices for Rural Development Finance Agencies
Tuesday August 31 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Senior Fellow/Global Economy and Development
Brookings Institution

Tony Pipa is a senior fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development, housed in the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings. He studies place-based policies to improve social progress in the United States and globally, including through use of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local level. He is also considering the future of U.S. multilateral aid and the applicability of lessons from international development to improving rural development in the U.S.
Tony has over 25 years of executive experience in the philanthropic and public sectors addressing poverty and advancing inclusive economic development. During the Obama administration, he served as chief strategy officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development and held multiple senior policy positions at the Agency. He served as U.S. special coordinator for the Post-2015 Agenda at the Department of State, leading the U.S. delegation at the U.N. to negotiate and adopt the SDGs. Prior to his government service, he directed the NGO Leaders Forum at Harvard University and was the founding CEO of the Warner Foundation, a family foundation in North Carolina focused on improving economic opportunity and race relations. He helped launch Foundation for Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and has played a principal role in the start-up of several philanthropic ventures focused on addressing poverty and improving distressed communities.
He serves on the board of directors of StriveTogether and the Advisory Council of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. He has published articles, book chapters, and opinion pieces on local implementation of the SDGs, the effectiveness of place-based policies, multilateral aid, philanthropic effectiveness, financial innovations, and policies to strengthen resilience and prosperity. He attended Stanford University, was graduated from Duke University, and earned a Master of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Adam Rose

Assembling Capital for Rural Development
Tuesday June 1 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Growth
Travois New Markets, LLC

Adam Rose is the director of partnerships and growth for Travois, a Certified B Corporation focused exclusively on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. Travois has helped clients to develop more than $1.5 billion in housing and economic development projects in 22 states. Adam joined Travois in 2008 and has more than a decade’s experience helping tribes and tribal housing authorities to develop affordable housing and other community amenities. Working with clients, tribal leadership, and community stakeholders, Adam listens and learns about needs, discusses and explores development possibilities with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, and other gap financing applications, such as grants through the Affordable Housing Program (AHP), and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. Adam helps clients to bring private investor funds and grants to build new homes, rehabilitate existing homes and expand businesses and services to help strengthen Native communities. Adam also works with the state and federal agencies that make funding decisions to ensure that tribally sponsored projects can compete evenly with other developments. Adam graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a master’s degree in urban planning. He is a Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP), designated by the National Association of Home Builders. Before becoming director of partnerships and growth, Adam served as senior project coordinator and project coordinator for the affordable housing team. He supports local housing efforts as a member of the board of directors for Kim Wilson Housing of Kansas City, KS.

Allison Rowland

Assembling Capital for Rural Development
Tuesday June 1 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Project Manager
One Columbus

As Director of Research and Technical Assistance for the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), Allison oversees all of CDFA’s food systems finance work, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded initiative to “define the food system asset class” to advance opportunities and leverage existing financing streams to scale local and regional food systems by increasing access to healthy foods and creating new living wage jobs in communities across the country. Throughout this work, Allison has collaborated with hundreds of stakeholders and co-authored the CDFA Food Finance White Paper Series. Allison also is working alongside five food system pilot projects across the country, leads the Food Systems Finance Advisory Council, and is initiating a variety of technical assistance projects to help position communities, their resources, and their financial products to support equitable, local food economies.

Allison also researches financing tools for the energy sector and economic development tools for Native American communities. She also produces several monthly newsletters and manages various webinar series.

Allison is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in City and Regional Planning with a focus on sustainable community and economic development.

Michelle Stephens

Financing Disaster Resiliency in Rural Communities
Tuesday March 23 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Program Director
California Association for Local Economic Development

Michelle is the Program Director for CALED and its affiliates. As the Program Director, she is the in-house economic development practitioner for CALED and the lead for the Rural Economic Development Exchange and the Economic Development Finance & Real Estate Committee as well as CALED’s federal grants. She also promotes CALED’s economic development finance tools including the Statewide Revolving Loan Fund and the California Enterprise Development Authority.

After completing her Master's in Community & Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin, Michelle interned with the International Economic Development Council in Washington DC before moving back to her native California to work on improving the economic opportunities for communities.

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