Kerwin Tesdell is president of the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, the association of venture capital funds that provide equity financing for businesses that create good jobs, wealth, and entrepreneurial capacity in underinvested areas of the United States and the world. CDVCA serves the industry by providing education and networking opportunities, developing best practices, perfoming industry research, and supporting positive public policy at the federal and state levels. CDVCA also manages $143 million directly in a combination of business investments and investments in funds. Mr. Tesdell is an adjunct professor at New York University, teaching Social Venture Capital at the Stern School of Business and Community Development Law at the School of Law.
Prior to joining CDVCA, Mr. Tesdell was a program officer at the Ford Foundation, first in its Office of Program-Related Investments and then in its Economic Development Unit, where he had primary responsibility for the Foundation’s investments and grantmaking for small business finance and job creation. Before that, he was the director of the Community Development Legal Assistance Center, which provides corporate, tax, and real estate legal assistance to community development organizations in New York. He was also an associate with the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, where he represented clients in the financial services industry, including private equity investors in businesses and funds. Prior to joining Debevoise, he was a law clerk to federal judge Constance Baker Motley, Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York.
Mr. Tesdell is a managing director of the InnovateNY Fund, a $47 million fund of funds in New York State, and of the Puerto Rico Fund for Growth, which recently closed on the first $45 million of a fund of funds for Puerto Rico, as well as a number of investment partnerships that make investments in businesses in states that include Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, and Kentucky. Mr. Tesdell is a board member and the past board chair for seven years, of the Coalition of Community Development Financials Institutions (CDFIs). He serves on the board of Community Investment Partners, which is the registered investment advisor of the Calvert Foundation, and is also a board member of the New York Community Investment Company, LLC, a CDVC fund. He serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Community Development Investments of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Franciso;Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS); the Financial Innovations Roundtable at the Carsey Institute; Meritus Ventures, a Rural Business Investment Company investing in Appalachia; the National Community Investment Fund NMTC fund; and the Advantage Capital Community Development Fund.
Mr. Tesdell graduated from Harvard College with a degree in economics and holds JD and MBA degrees from New York University, as well as a certificate from the Venture Capital Institute.