Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Ranell Washington Will Lead WHEDA Board

Washington, an experienced banker, replaces Ivan Gamboa.

By - Sep 30th, 2021 05:21 pm
Ranell Washington photo from Town Bank. Background photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Ranell Washington file photo from Town Bank. Background photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Joaquín Altoro will see a familiar face when he presents to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) board.

Ranell Washington, Altoro’s former coworker at Town Bank, was named board chair this week.

Altoro left Town Bank to become the WHEDA CEO and executive director in 2019. The state agency is the largest driver of affordable housing in Wisconsin, primarily through its provision of low-income housing tax credits.

Washington, who now works as a partnership development advisor at American Family Insurance, first replaced his former coworker on Milwaukee’s City Plan Commission in 2019. He joined the WHEDA board in August 2020. Now he leads it.

“As Wisconsin works to expand housing and economic opportunity, I’m thrilled to appoint Ranell Washington as WHEDA’s board chair,” said Governor Tony Evers in a statement. “His vast banking and community development experience will bring tremendous strength and insight to WHEDA’s board of directors.”

The board chair helps guide the policy of the state agency, including formulas by which the competitive tax credits are awarded.

Prior to joining American Family, Washington served as vice president of business banking at Town Bank. He is a resident of the city’s Arlington Heights neighborhood and a 2005 graduate of UW-Milwaukee.

Washington, 39, replaces Ivan Gamboa, a senior vice president at Tri-City National Bank.

“I’m sincerely grateful for my time as board chair. It has been a privilege to serve two administrations under the leadership of Wyman Winston and Joaquín Altoro. I have the highest respect for everyone that works at WHEDA,” said Ivan Gamboa. “Although it was a difficult decision to step down as WHEDA’s board chair, it is an important next step so that I can support the other public-service initiatives I’m working on in the communities I serve.”

That list of public service initiatives is long.

Gamboa services on the boards of the Harbor District, Carmen High School of Science and Technology and St. Augustine Preparatory Academy. He’s involved in the fundraising effort for a new location for the Milwaukee Public Museum and last week, through his work with the Urbano conference, he announced a $10 million fund for Latino real estate developers.

Washington’s list is long as well.

He’s a co-founder of young professional group Social X and received national press in the past year for the organization’s F.E.A.R. MKE (Forget Everything and Run) meetups.

He currently serves on the boards of the African American Chamber of Commerce and Uptown Crossing business improvement district. Washington also is a member of the Legacy Redevelopment Corp. loan committee, serves as development coordinator for Milwaukee Film‘s Black Lens series and is a member of VISIT Milwaukee‘s diversity and inclusion committee. He previously served on the Domes Task Force and the board of the Milwaukee Excellence Charter School.

The WHEDA board is made up of six gubernatorial appointees, members of both parties from the state senate and assembly, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration and the CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Members serve four-year terms on a staggered basis.

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