Bonnie Lester has 30+ years of experience in housing finance, economic development, and real estate development. Previously, as Director of the Humanities Foundation, Ms. Lester developed over 500 units of affordable housing in South Carolina, utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds and private sector loans. A CDBG-Disaster Recovery expert, Ms. Lester has spent the last two and a half years working on Superstorm Sandy hurricane recovery programs for the State of New Jersey. Her work has included advising state policy makers on CDBG program design and related federal regulations and requirements as the 29 Superstorm Sandy recovery programs were designed and implemented. Ms. Lester augmented senior staff by filling two positions: first, as the Acting Assistant Director of Housing until August 2013 and then as the Acting Assistant Director of Other Recovery Programs from October 2013 through April 2015. She continues to provide policy guidance to the senior leadership of the Sandy Recovery Division.
Prior to working with New Jersey, Ms. Lester managed and provided technical assistance to grantees across the country on HOME, CDBG and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) programs/projects. She was also was on the management team for the Louisiana Disaster Recovery program for several years. Ms. Lester has served on many boards in Charleston, including the Board of Directors of Medical University of South Carolina’s University Medical Associates, Charleston Education Excellence Financing Corporation; the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, The Charleston Symphony, Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care, and the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston.