Black History Month might only be observed in February, but at FSC First, celebrating the contributions of Black Americans in business is a daily practice. While we’ve worked extensively through our lending programs to support Black entrepreneurs, our commitment to this end is also apparent in our leadership.
For decades, FSC First has been helmed by visionary Black leaders. In January, Dawn R. Medley assumed the role of President & CEO from Shelly Gross-Wade, who presided over the institution for nearly 25 years. Dawn has been with FSC First for more than a decade, and in her role will continue the tradition of growth and community involvement that Shelly left behind.
Being a Black-led Community Development Financial Institution, or CDFI, places FSC First in a small group nationally, and even fewer of those are women-led. FSC First’s leadership has historically prided itself on lending support to small businesses across a range of industries. It is a particular privilege to be able to do so for Black-owned businesses, who often face barriers to access.
In the course of more than 20 years, FSC First has closed more than $100 million in loans for businesses that might have otherwise missed out on funding. During her tenure, Medley aims to grow that figure further, while focusing on ways to expedite disbursing the funds.
“I consider it an honor to build upon the legacy of supporting and encouraging Black-owned businesses that Shelly Gross-Wade left behind when she retired,” Medley said. “FSC First is committed to ensuring that underrepresented businesses have access to all the same opportunities. That’s true year-round, and not just in February. I am excited to help grow FSC First even further.”