Valerie D. White
Senior Executive Director, LISC NYC
Valerie D. White is a chief executive, economic development expert, and leading advocate with more than 30 years of experience across private, public, and non-profit sectors. Valerie’s professional career started in city government, working for the City of New York’s Department of Personnel followed by eight years with the New York City Housing Authority, where she led the highly visible implementation of three urban revitalization projects with a budget totaling over $250 million.
Following her work in city government, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services tapped Valerie to help lead its municipal and public finances department. As managing director, Valerie led a team of approximately 50 analysts and established herself as the go-to thought leader in the international public finance housing sector, authoring nearly 60 commentary papers on market trends and issues relevant to the sector.
Since her time spent in the private sector, Valerie has become a leading figure in New York’s economic development space, particularly in devising and implementing community development initiatives for the state’s most vulnerable and financially distressed communities.
Valerie played a critical role in the resurgence of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where she served as vice president of external affairs, building strategic partnerships with government leaders, community groups and corporations, which in turn generated significant grant funding and raised the Navy Yard’s global, national, and local visibility.
Valerie’s success at the Navy Yard led her next to Empire State Development (ESD), a statewide organization that provides loans, grants, tax credits, real estate development, marketing and other forms of assistance to promote economic opportunity.
As executive vice president at ESD, as well as executive director of the agency’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development, Valerie spearheaded business development and engagement strategies for MWBEs, while establishing and executing the strategic development of outreach, positioning, and marketing strategies for the division’s goals for MWBEs, developers, prime contractors, community partners, and other external stakeholders.
Since 2020, Valerie has served as the executive director, now senior executive director, of LISC NYC, the flagship New York City office of the national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), where she’s committed herself and the organization to a singular focus: closing the racial wealth gap through equitable community development.
Named executive director of LISC NYC just as the COVID-19 virus took hold of New York, Valerie leveraged her network and time-tested economic development know-how to establish a Small Business Relief & Recovery Fund to support hundreds of minority-owned businesses across the five boroughs with grants, saving these businesses on the brink of collapse. Valerie’s leadership ultimately led to more than $4 million dollars injected into more than 400 small businesses, along with an additional $13 million in PPP loans provided to non-profits and small businesses. Additionally, under Valerie’s leadership, LISC NYC has invested nearly $40 million in affordable housing projects, leveraging $335 million and supporting the development of more than 850 affordable units. She’s since developed innovative programs like a Developers of Color Training Program and forged public-private partnerships with agencies like the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York to expand opportunities for Black and brown developers, businesses, and neighborhoods.
Valerie holds both a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a law degree from Fordham University, and master’s degree and Certificate in Organization Development from The New School. She also serves on the advisory board for the Fordham Urban Law Center and is a director on the Fordham Law Alumni Association.