Greater Minnesota Housing Fund president, CEO and founder to retire after 27 years

Warren Hanson established Minnesota’s largest nonprofit affordable housing lender and investor, financing 20,000+ affordable homes across the state

Minneapolis, MN – Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF) President, CEO and Founder Warren Hanson today announced his retirement from the nonprofit community development financial institution that he founded in 1996.

For the last 27 years, Hanson has led GMHF and worked closely with state and local governments, philanthropic organizations, institutional investors, and community leaders to assemble resources and design strategies to meet affordable housing needs across the state. To date, the nonprofit has provided direct financing of nearly $1 billion and mobilized another $3.1 billion in investments in housing, resulting in the financing of more than 20,000 affordable homes throughout Minnesota.

“Everyone deserves a safe, decent, affordable place to call home,” said Hanson. “We started Greater Minnesota Housing Fund in the hopes that we would move the needle on access to affordable housing and I am so grateful for the support and partnerships that have allowed us to finance, create and preserve affordable housing across Minnesota. I’m confident we are in a place of momentum to find solutions to homelessness, and I’m eager to pass this work on to the next passionate leader.”

GMHF is mission-driven and raises low-cost, high-impact affordable housing investment capital to deploy throughout Minnesota. Hanson founded GMHF in 1996 through a unique collaboration with the Blandin Foundation and the McKnight Foundation. With his leadership, the organization’s partnerships with philanthropy, Minnesota Housing, local government and affordable housing organizations throughout Minnesota remain strong today.

“Communities throughout Minnesota have benefited greatly from Greater Minnesota Housing Fund’s nimble abilities and flexible resources for solving housing challenges, from fostering workforce housing in areas of job growth, to supporting new developers of color to enter the housing field, to investing in permanent supportive housing for those at risk of homelessness,” said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Jennifer Ho. “I am so proud to have worked alongside Warren for over 23 years on behalf of individuals experiencing all forms of housing insecurity, and I’m thrilled his bold vision will continue to be a resource and provide greater investments in safe homes and healthy communities.”

Hanson’s passion for social justice, affordable housing and community development has driven his dedication to leading and partnering with a diverse range of Minnesota nonprofit, philanthropic and government organizations. Prior to founding GMHF, he was the director of riverfront and neighborhood development for the City of Saint Paul, economic development director of West Bank Community Development Corporation, and a co-founder of Community Reinvestment Fund USA (CRF-USA). He also co-founded the public radio station Fresh Air Radio KFAI-FM and was an organizer of Minnesota’s early food co-op movement.

“Warren’s vision and dedication to secure financial resources and create innovative programs and initiatives that support the creation of safe, decent and affordable housing in Minnesota is inspirational,” said Nancy Vyskocil, board chair of Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. “He has been a passionate leader on housing issues across the state, and has built meaningful relationships with community leaders, lawmakers and funders that benefit the affordable housing movement and are embedded in the organization. We are so grateful for his vision, leadership and dedication over the past 27 years.”

The GMHF Board of Directors is leading the process to find Hanson’s replacement. A search committee has been formed and they have secured the services of Simkin Search LLC. Interviews will be conducted in February and March, with the goal of selecting a new CEO in Q2 of this year. Hanson’s last day as CEO of the organization will be July 2. He will stay on in a consulting capacity to assist with the transition through the end of the year. A celebration and recognition event will be held this summer.

A photo of Warren Hanson is available here.

To learn more about Greater Minnesota Housing Fund visit


About Greater Minnesota Housing Fund
Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF) supports the creation of strong communities and affordable homes through strategic investments and effective partnerships. GMHF is dedicated to social and racial justice and committed to advancing solutions that support equity for communities of color throughout Minnesota. More than just a lender, GMHF is known for its innovation and creative approaches to Minnesota’s affordable housing challenges. GMHF is certified by the Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to address the affordable housing needs of Minnesota’s under-served areas including cities, towns, rural areas, and tribal nations. GMHF is rated Four-Star, AA Policy Plus by Aeris and is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines.

Colorful banner image featuring the skyline that you might typically see in a small city or town in Greater Minnesota.