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News January 28, 2022

Reinvestment Fund Promotes Two Executive Leaders

Topic General

Cheila Fernandez and Sara Vernon Sterman

Cheila Fernandez named Chief Operating Officer and Sara Vernon Sterman named Chief Program Officer

Philadelphia, January 28, 2022 — Reinvestment Fund announced today that it is promoting two women to new executive leadership positions. Cheila Fernandez is Reinvestment Fund’s new Chief Operating Officer, providing strategic and operational leadership to ensure that priorities and allocation of resources align with the organization’s strategy and mission. Sara Vernon Sterman, Reinvestment Fund’s new Chief Program Officer, will lead strategy and operations for technical assistance, capacity-building, and grant programs at Reinvestment Fund.

Fernandez transitions into this new position from her previous role at Reinvestment Fund, Chief Compliance & Risk Officer, responsible for enterprise risk and control management processes. Sterman previously served as Vice President of Strategic Investments, leading Reinvestment Fund’s work on investment models that integrate the organization’s lending and policy work in education, health care, childcare, food, social services, and affordable housing.

“We are delighted to have two executives of exceptional skill and experience be part of the leadership team responsible for Reinvestment Fund’s future growth,” said Donald Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “Cheila and Sara bring decades of experience in building and maintaining processes and systems.”

In addition to her tenure as Chief Compliance & Risk Officer, Fernandez previously served as a risk management consultant at Deloitte & Touche for 14 years. There, she led complex strategic, regulatory and operational changes at large domestic and foreign banking organizations.

“Throughout my career, I have maintained a steadfast commitment to developing actionable strategies and enhancing processes that further the organization’s priorities,” said Fernandez. “I was happy to marry that commitment with my drive to create equal access to opportunity when I joined Reinvestment Fund in 2018, and I look forward to continuing that work as Chief Operating Officer.”

Sterman has held multiple roles at Reinvestment Fund since joining in 1999. In addition to serving as Vice President of Strategic Investments, she co-directed Reinvestment Fund’s Pay for Success investments. Sterman also previously served as Chief Lending Officer, responsible for leading business development, originations, and relationship management within Reinvestment Fund’s lending operations.

“I’ve had the unique opportunity to be part of Reinvestment Fund’s growth in so many ways, from expanding our education lending to our Pay for Success portfolio,” said Sterman. “With this new role, I look forward to scaling yet another critical piece of our work–capacity building and capital access programs that can help communities better take advantage of opportunities.”

Fernandez is also a champion of diversity and inclusion initiatives. She is a founding board member and first vice president of the Association of Latin Professionals in Accounting and Finance (ALPFA) in Philadelphia, and member of the Women in America mentoring program.

Outside of the office, Sterman is an active member of her local community. She was the past chair of the United Parents Group, supporting parent advocacy in the school district that her children attend. She also volunteers with Cheltenham Neighborhood Connections, a food distribution program.


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About Reinvestment Fund

Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that everyone has access to essential opportunities: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets, communities, and impediments to opportunity—and how investment and policy decisions can have the most powerful impact. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.7 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Learn more at

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