Kansas City Fed Senior Community Development Advisor Ariel Cisneros was named the Federal Reserve System’s first recipient of the Janet L. Yellen Award for Excellence in Community Development.

The award, named for the former chair of the Federal Reserve Board, honors outstanding achievement in community development activities and those who embody Yellen’s commitment to serving low- and moderate-income communities. Yellen, who was chair from 2014 to 2018, joined current Chair Jerome H. Powell in December in Washington to present the award.

Cisneros led creation and growth of Investment Connection, a Kansas City Fed signature program that matches funders with nonprofit organizations that have projects focused on meeting a community need. Since its inception, Investment Connection has assisted in securing more than $31million in funding for nonprofits throughout the seven-state district.

“Ariel successfully translated a complex investment process into a simple application and expanded it to include not only financial institutions but also foundations and government agencies charged with funding local economic development programs,” said Tammy Edwards, Kansas City Fed vice president of Community Development and director of the Bank’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. “This award recognizes not only the Investment Connection program, but Ariel’s unwavering commitment to contribute to the advancement of building stronger communities.”

Investment Connection is hosted in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Denver, Albuquerque and Omaha.  The success of the program across the Kansas City Fed’s region led to its expansion in 2018 to the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis and Minneapolis.

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is being part of the commitment and passion from our constituents in our region and supporting them in building stronger, more vibrant communities,” Cisneros said.

Before joining the Kansas City Fed, Cisneros worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; combined, he has 24 years’ service in the Federal Reserve System. Earlier he worked as a community extension officer in Botswana.

The Bank’s Community Development team promotes fair and impartial access to financial products through research, relationship building and resource development.

“This is an honor for the Kansas City Fed and well-deserved recognition for Ariel,” said Bank President Esther George. “These community development initiatives provide essential resources to local communities and are vital to developing a strong and healthy economy.”