On February 1, 2007, I began my tenure as Director of the CDFI Fund. I am honored that the President and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson have given me their trust to lead this important institution.

I look forward to working with the dedicated, hard-working Fund staff, and deeply appreciate the very warm welcome that they have given me. They, like me, are passionate about the mission of this organization, and I intend to support them in our drive to promote economic revitalization and community development.

In particular, I would like to recognize Peter Dugas, our Manager for Public and Legislative Affairs, for agreeing to serve as the Acting Director during this recent transition. Peter is a valued member of our team, and he and the entire Fund staff have made my first weeks with the Fund a success.

Previously serving as Senior Advisor to Secretary Paulson, as well as to Secretary Snow, I will continue to foster a close working relationship with the Secretary, Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmitt, and many others at the Treasury Department to further the CDFI Fund's priorities. On February 5, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Robert Steel included CDFI Fund staff in a Domestic Finance Town Hall where we discussed projects and priorities for the upcoming year.

The CDFI Fund has a mission to expand the capacity of financial institutions to provide credit, capital, and financial services to underserved populations and economically distressed communities in the United States. I believe that an organization must build its strategic goals and objectives around the mission of the organization. To that end, I currently am reaching out to Members of Congress, Administration officials, the Community Development Advisory Board, industry leaders, Community Development Financial Institutions, Community Development Entities, and other experts to develop an in-depth understanding of the current trends and concerns in community economic development. The CDFI Fund receives wide, bi-partisan support, and I look forward to working with all of the stakeholders of this organization in the months to come.

My intent is to ensure that the CDFI Fund continue its great work of improving the lives in and economic conditions of our nation's urban and rural low-income communities by setting ambitious goals and achieving results that stimulate economic growth and create jobs. It also is important that the Fund be well-managed and continues to improve on its efficiency.

In closing, I want to thank former Director Art Garcia for his service and dedication to the CDFI Fund, and wish him all the best with the next chapter of his life out in New Mexico. It was a pleasure to work with him for two and one-half years while he was Director. In particular, I will never forget his and the Fund's swift action following Hurricane Katrina in finding ways to assist in the recovery efforts. Art has left big shoes for me to fill, and I hope to carry on his legacy of making a difference in the communities that are in the greatest of need.

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