Aeris Announces Retirement of Founding Board Member Andrew Cooney; Appointment of Omar Blayton and Sonja Velez
PHILADELPHIA, PA, February 16, 2022—Aeris Insight, Inc. today celebrates a decade of service by its longest-tenured board member, and the appointment of two impact investing leaders to its board. A founding board member, Andrew Cooney is retiring from the board, concluding 10 years of dedicated service to the organization. Also, Aeris announced the appointment of two new board members: Omar Blayton, Chief Financial Officer, Sunwealth Power, Inc. and Sonja Velez, Chief Financial Officer, San Francisco Foundation.
Andrew Cooney, Principal at 1112 Capital, LLC, is Aeris’ longest-tenured board member. From the time of Aeris’ spin-off as an independent corporation, Mr. Cooney has made key contributions to Aeris’ evolution and growth into the leading expert in the financial and impact performance of CDFIs and other private impact loan funds. He has served twice as the corporation’s Treasurer, holding this position for seven of his ten years on the board.
“Aeris owes Andy a debt of gratitude for his invaluable contributions over the past 10 years,” said Paige Chapel, President & CEO of Aeris. “I am very grateful for Andy’s good guidance and fortitude in steering our organization through our startup years to the mature organization that Aeris has become. Although he is stepping down today from our board, Andy will always be part of the Aeris family.”
Also today, Aeris announced that it has appointed two new board members, Omar Blayton and Sonja Velez. Their appointments are effective February 16, 2022.
Mr. Blayton is CFO of Sunwealth Power, Inc., a solar energy finance firm focused on providing accessible, affordable, and inclusive renewable energy to communities throughout the U.S. Mr. Blayton’s prior roles include Managing Director of Project Finance at Innova Energy Partners and Vice President of Structured Finance at Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a leading commercial and industrial solar developer. Earlier in his career, Mr. Blayton was a Vice President with Reznick Capital Markets Securities and an associate in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Leveraged Finance Group. Before entering finance, Mr. Blayton was an attorney with Reed Smith LLP. He holds a JD from Columbia Law School, an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School, and a BA from Cornell University.
“Omar brings to Aeris extensive knowledge of social and environmental finance—including CDFIs—and a deep commitment to impact. His entrepreneurial talents and legal expertise will also benefit a fast-growing organization like ours,” said Paige Chapel.
Ms. Velez is CFO of The San Francisco Foundation, where she oversees financial planning and analysis, accounting, and investments. She has played a key role in expanding the Foundation’s impact investing strategies in support of its mission. Ms. Velez previously worked in Myanmar and Thailand while serving as CFO of DVB Multimedia / The Democratic Voice of Burma. Before that, she held a variety of finance roles during her 13-year tenure at Charles Schwab, including VP of Treasury Balance Sheet Management, VP of Individual Investor Finance, and VP of Corporate Planning and Analysis. She currently serves on the board of Financial Women of San Francisco, and co-chairs the Diversity and Inclusion committee. She holds an MBA from UC Berkeley, an MFA from the University of San Francisco, and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from UC Davis.
“Sonja has extensive knowledge of nonprofit finance, impact investing, philanthropy, and other highly relevant sectors. Her knowledge and experience—and her passion for our mission—will be important assets to the Aeris board,” said Paige Chapel.
“I could not be more pleased to welcome these two leaders to our organization,” said Penelope Douglas, Board Chair and Chief of Strategy for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. “On behalf of the entire board and staff of Aeris, I welcome them and thank them for their willingness to serve our organization.”
Aeris is the leading expert in the financial and impact performance of CDFIs and other private impact loan funds. Drawing upon our in-depth knowledge, we guide capital to good by providing indispensable tools and solutions to more than 200 corporate, government, and philanthropic CDFI investors and other stakeholders. Since 2004, Aeris® Ratings, analyses, and data have grown to cover more than 150 CDFIs managing more than $19 billion in loan capital. Contact Aeris for more information.
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