Few people at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City know more about the Bank’s work in community investment initiatives than Ariel Cisneros, Senior Community Development Advisor at the Denver Branch. He has served bankers, community organization representatives, foundation and government officials in identifying and meeting their community and economic development needs in the seven states of the Tenth District for more than 15 years.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is being part of the commitment and passion with my constituents in building stronger, more vibrant communities and to see the creative public and private partnerships from community players.”
He also serves on various committees, councils and Federal Reserve System groups dedicated to community and economic development. He has been instrumental in developing tools and programs to foster economic growth, including Investment Connection, a program that educates community development organizations on opportunities to find funders and share information.
Investment Connection has been quite successful in helping community development organizations and funders make connections, almost $29 million to date. Ariel’s dedication plays a big role in the program’s positive outcomes. In fact, he recently held one event in New Mexico that has already resulted in visible impact. “These loans and investments often take months, sometimes years to solidify, but we’ve already seen in the first quarter of 2017 over $ 1.1 million in new funding for community development organizations, with seven connections made across the district ranging from financial education to affordable housing,” he said.
Ariel’s work ethic and knowledge is a major asset to the team. When it comes to community development, there’s nothing that beats having someone with extensive experience and knowledge being invested in and available to your colleagues.
Ariel is responsible for setting the community development investment strategy across the seven-state district. In addition to Investment Connection forums, Ariel and his Community Development colleagues develop programming to educate community organizations and banks on understanding the Community Reinvestment Act. Ariel also partners with the Bank’s other Community Development Advisors across the district to deliver programing within the Denver zone of Colorado, Wyoming and northern New Mexico. “Everything I do ties in with the work of my colleagues: affordable housing, small business, financial health, stakeholder engagement, and workforce. We are all working towards the same mission,” he says.
He has been involved in community and economic development throughout his career. Prior to joining the Kansas City Fed, he worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and has also worked overseas, serving as a business extension officer in Botswana, Africa.
During his upbringing in Dallas, Ariel’s mom, a schoolteacher and active volunteer, and his father played a vital role in making him feel connected to his community and developing in him a social and civic identity that is lasting a lifetime.
Aside from his professional responsibilities, Ariel is a husband and father to three boys. He and his family are actively involved in educational and environmental initiatives around their community.
When asked about how people can get more involved, he said, “Become educated about the issues—all sides of the issue and be open to listening. Volunteer, vote and make your voice heard for the benefit of the communities we live in and for the communities and people being left behind without a voice.”