MBA (1971), University of Rochester, U.S.; BA (1968), University of Notre Dame, U.S.
Ron is Chief Strategist, U.S. Impact Investing. His background and extensive experience in community investing enables him to identify a broad range of solutions for clients. He is often sought to consult with leading government officials on a variety of community impact issues. Before joining the organization, he was co-founder and chief executive officer of an investment adviser specializing in community investments that was acquired by RBC GAM in 2008. Previously, Ron enjoyed an extensive banking career including thirteen years as president and chief executive officer of a large bank in Boston. He joined the financial services industry in 1969.
Ron was born and raised in the Bedford Stuyvesant/Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, the oldest child of dreamers who migrated to the US from the West Indies. Both of Ron’s parents were raised by single mothers seeking a better life for themselves and their children.
Ron attended high school during the height of the civil rights movement and attended college during the period when most of the important civil rights legislation was enacted. While at college, the University of Notre Dame, there were only a handful of other Black students attending with him; however, it turned out that he was in good company. One of Ron’s roommates become the first Black mayor in the state of Alabama and another classmate and card-playing partner was Alan Page, former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Ron was the first in his immediate family to graduate from college, but he continued his schooling and subsequently obtained an MBA. He entered the workforce as an aspiring banker during a momentous time in US history. The Great Society, Affirmative Action and Black Capitalism were just making an appearance as the next phase of the civil rights movement.
At age 32, he became the Chief Operating Officer of the largest Black-owned bank in the US located in Harlem. Four years later, in the aftermath of school busing confrontations, he helped establish a Black-owned bank in Boston, becoming its Chief Executive Officer and a principal shareholder. This was an important step for Ron personally and for the banking industry broadly, happening just as the Reagan Administration was promoting small government and the roll-back of federal government-sponsored programs dealing with racial disparities and income support. He continued in this role through the first Bush Administration and both Clinton administrations which spawned the birth of the CDFI industry, the expansion of the Community Redevelopment Act and a consolidation within the banking industry. Ron’s bank is still in business today and is now the largest Black-owned bank in the US.
In 1994, Ron advised Harvard Business School Professor and competitive advantage guru, Michael Porter, in forming the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a research organization focused on attracting private sector investment in underserved urban centers.
In 1997, Ron co-founded the Access Capital Community Investment Fund, an investment adviser specializing in community investments. In 2008, this firm was acquired by RBC GAM and 12 years later, Ron remains with the organization as President and Chief Strategist of Impact Investing.
In addition to his esteemed banking career, Ron has held various board leadership positions within Boston’s philanthropic sector, namely, The Boston Foundation and the United Way. He has also held positions in government-sponsored agencies such as the MA State Housing Finance Agency and the MA Industrial Finance Agency.
In Ron’s own words, his extensive experience in community investing has granted him the opportunity to observe, influence and guide a wide range of initiatives focused on expanding economic opportunities within historically underserved communities. Over several decades and within each of the organizations he was affiliated with, doors were opened that facilitated more people of color to enjoy the benefits of the American dream of wealth, home ownership and income appreciation. As Ron has worked tirelessly throughout his career to increase access to the resources needed to improve communities, he continues to believe that we can all do better if we share our collective wisdom and resources going forward.