Donna Gambrell

Senior Advisor

Donna Gambrell has nearly four decades of government and public service, including banking, community and economic development, consumer protection, grants management and community relations.

Donna is a highly regarded leader with a record of accomplishments directing start-up organizations and “right-sizing” organizations adversely impacted by financial and resource constraints. She has an impressive string of achievements, including enhancing the capacity of community-based organizations, and administering a multi-million-dollar awards program that assists low-income communities nationwide.

As Director of the U.S. Department Treasury’s CDFI Fund, Donna led initiatives to fulfill CDFI’s mission, expand its funding, and implement new programs that broadened support of small business financing, affordable housing development, community facilities, and financial education. She administered U.S. Treasury’s only community and economic development program office and implemented programs that provided capital, credit and financial services to distressed and underserved communities across the country. Donna led the restructuring of the CDFI Fund, which resulted in improved business processes and protocols; enhanced standard operating procedures; a significant reduction in award processing timelines; more efficient disbursement of awards; a greater emphasis on human capital investment and workforce diversity; and an overhaul of the Fund’s infrastructure, including its information technology, financial management, compliance, and certification programs. She provided congressional testimony and briefings and conducted frequent outreach events to the public.

During a distinguished 16-year tenure at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Donna held a number of senior leadership roles overseeing the FDIC’s national compliance bank examination, community affairs, consumer protection, and deposit insurance programs. This oversight involved guiding over 500 managers and staff in compliance, the Community Reinvestment Act, fair lending, consumer protection and deposit insurance regulations, as well as community and economic development principles and practices.

In 2017, Donna was hired as President and CEO of  Appalachian Community Capital (“ACC”), an intermediary organization created in 2013 to bring new sources of capital to a  consortium of community development financial institutions serving small business owners in the Appalachian Region, one of the most economically distressed regions in the country. ACC’s capital has helped finance renewable energy projects, manufacturing sites, elder care facilities, restaurants, farms, ecotourism centers, and downtown redevelopment projects, among other projects. Members who have received loans through ACC report that the proceeds resulted in 90 loans totaling $18.5 million to Appalachian small businesses. Two-thirds of these loans went to businesses with general annual revenues of $1 million or less, and 47% went to minority- and women-owned businesses. These initiatives have created or retained over 1,800 jobs, about 44% of which low-income residents occupy. Selected as a Forbes Opportunity Zone 20 Catalyst, ACC is partnering with local, state, and national leaders, along with grant support t from the Appalachian Regional Commission, to attract investors to Opportunity Zone projects in the region.