In September 2002, Lisa Afua Serwah Mensah joined Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) as the fourth president and CEO. Ms. Mensah joins the organization during a pivotal time – embarking on the development of the Foundation’s next strategic plan and upcoming 2023 celebration of Oregon’s giving community throughout 50 years of philanthropic growth and impact.

Ms. Mensah’s illustrious career has taken her from working on rural poverty with the Ford Foundation to serving as an Under Secretary for Rural Development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, managing a $215 billion loan portfolio, to leading Opportunity Finance Network (OFN).

Lisa Mensah serves on the Boards of Ecotrust, Feeding America, Fidelity Bank of Ghana, and Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (USA). She also serves as a member of the Advisory Committees of Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women and Gaia Impact Fund.

In her former role as president and CEO of OFN, Ms. Mensah headed one of the nation’s leading networks of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Under Ms. Mensah’s leadership, OFN helped CDFIs leverage public funding with private investment from mainstream financial institutions, socially responsible investors, and philanthropic partners to bring capital to distressed communities across America. She is widely considered an expert on access to capital in low-wealth communities and has frequently testified before Congress on the subject.

Prior to OFN, Lisa Mensah was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development in the Obama Administration. As Under Secretary, she directed annual investments of $30 billion in critical infrastructure for rural America. In this role, she developed new partnerships with private and philanthropic partners to drive more capital to persistently poor rural communities.

Before the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ms. Mensah was the founding Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security at The Aspen Institute. She began her career in commercial banking at Citibank then joined the Ford Foundation, where she was responsible for the country’s largest philanthropic grant and loan portfolio of investments in rural America.

Lisa Mensah holds an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. from Harvard University. Born and raised in Oregon, Ms. Mensah is the daughter of an immigrant from Ghana and a former Iowa farm girl.