There was a lovely retirement party on Wednesday, June 28, for Warren Hanson, president and CEO of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. He began the GMHF in 1996.
For the last 27 years, Hanson has led GMHF and worked closely with state and local governments, philanthropic organizations, institutional investors and community leaders to assemble resources and design strategies to meet affordable housing needs across the state. To date, the nonprofit has provided direct financing of nearly $1 billion and mobilized another $3.1 billion in investments in housing, resulting in the financing of more than 20,000 affordable homes throughout Minnesota.
“Everyone deserves a safe, decent, affordable place to call home,” said Hanson. “We started Greater Minnesota Housing Fund in the hopes that we would move the needle on access to affordable housing and I am so grateful for the support and partnerships that have allowed us to finance, create and preserve affordable housing across Minnesota. I’m confident we are in a place of momentum to find solutions to homelessness, and I’m eager to pass this work on to the next passionate leader.”
GMHF is mission-driven and raises low-cost, high-impact affordable housing investment capital to deploy throughout Minnesota. Hanson founded GMHF in 1996 through a unique collaboration with the Blandin Foundation and the McKnight Foundation. With his leadership, the organization’s partnerships with philanthropy, Minnesota Housing, local government and affordable housing organizations throughout Minnesota remain strong today.
“Communities throughout Minnesota have benefited greatly from Greater Minnesota Housing Fund’s nimble abilities and flexible resources for solving housing challenges, from fostering workforce housing in areas of job growth, to supporting new developers of color to enter the housing field, to investing in permanent supportive housing for those at risk of homelessness,” said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho. “I am so proud to have worked alongside Warren for over 23 years on behalf of individuals experiencing all forms of housing insecurity, and I’m thrilled his bold vision will continue to be a resource and provide greater investments in safe homes and healthy communities.”
Hanson’s passion for social justice, affordable housing and community development has driven his dedication to leading and partnering with a diverse range of Minnesota nonprofit, philanthropic and government organizations. Prior to founding GMHF, he was the director of riverfront and neighborhood development for the city of St. Paul, economic development director of West Bank Community Development Corporation, and a co-founder of Community Reinvestment Fund USA (CRF-USA). He also co-founded the public radio station Fresh Air Radio KFAI-FM and was an organizer of Minnesota’s early food co-op movement.
“Warren’s vision and dedication to secure financial resources and create innovative programs and initiatives that support the creation of safe, decent and affordable housing in Minnesota is inspirational,” said Nancy Vyskocil, board chair of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. “He has been a passionate leader on housing issues across the state, and has built meaningful relationships with community leaders, lawmakers and funders that benefit the affordable housing movement and are embedded in the organization. We are so grateful for his vision, leadership and dedication over the past 27 years.”