Lori Finnesand is a distinguished leader and the Chief Executive Officer of GROW South Dakota, a private nonprofit corporation established to provide services to low-income individuals and promote and foster economic development in distressed communities and underserved markets in South Dakota. With over three decades of dedicated service at GROW South Dakota, Lori’s unwavering commitment to her role has been instrumental in transforming lives and communities.
As the CEO, Lori provides steadfast oversight of all facets of the organization, including the loan fund and financial accountability, ensuring that GROW South Dakota’s initiatives are both impactful and sustainable. Her remarkable leadership has left an indelible mark, particularly in the construction and renovation of four schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, an area facing significant economic challenges. These educational projects not only enhance resources for students but also create and sustain hundreds of jobs, breathing new life into a community in need.
Lori’s active engagement within the communities she serves plays a pivotal role in guiding GROW South Dakota’s selection of worthy projects, further underscoring her dedication to making a positive impact. Her educational background includes a double major in Business Administration and Business Education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She has also honed her skills through prestigious programs, having graduated from the Achieving Excellence in Community Development Executive Education at Harvard Kennedy Business School and obtaining certification as an Economic Development Professional from the National Development Council. Her expertise extends to Management and Leadership, as recognized through NeighborWorks America.
Lori’s remarkable contributions have not gone unnoticed, as she was named the 2011 SBA Financial Services Advocate of the Year for South Dakota, acknowledging her commitment to financial empowerment. In 2018, she received the SBA Women Empowerment & Entrepreneurship Award, cementing her position as a driving force in the world of community development and empowerment.
Beyond her role at GROW South Dakota, Lori serves as a board member and officer of Community Development Corporation Bancshares Inc., which owns the Community Development Bank with locations in Ogema, Hancock, and St. Michaels in Minnesota. Her multi-faceted involvement in community development and financial services underscores her unwavering dedication to fostering positive change and economic empowerment in the communities she serves. Lori Finnesand is an exceptional advocate for progress and transformation, leaving an indelible legacy of change in her wake.