As Associate Vice President of Programs for the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Laurie Benner is responsible for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating innovative national programs designed to advance research, programs, and policies that provide equitable access to homeownership, housing, economic, and other opportunities. Her primary focus is to spearhead the Keys Unlock Dreams initiative – a 10-city program aimed at expanding affordable and fair housing options; increasing the homeownership rate and related benefits for people and communities of color; preventing an unbalanced recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and closing the racial wealth and homeownership gaps.
Laurie is a seasoned housing and nonprofit professional with experience in financial management, strategic planning, communications, organizational development, land conservation, grant management, real estate development, affordable housing, community outreach, program development, financial literacy, fair housing, diversity issues, foundation management, and consumer education. Prior to joining NFHA, Laurie served as the Director of Housing Programs for Maryland REALTORS®, the largest professional trade association in the state. Her team focused on programs serving first-time and moderate-income homebuyers, fair housing, education, industry outreach, communications, and public policy work.
Laurie holds a Bachelor’s in Legal Studies, a Master’s in Nonprofit and Association Management, and an MBA. She is a trained mediator and experienced facilitator. Laurie also serves on several nonprofit organizations’ boards and committees. She lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her two daughters.
Fun Facts about Laurie:
- She was a photography major in high school and had her work displayed at the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington D.C.
- Her dream vacation is to buy an RV and travel across the US and Canada going to music festivals and visiting national parks.
Laurie’s Financial Journey:
“After many financial missteps in my youth and later a divorce, at the age of 45 I finally have a credit score I’m satisfied with and an emergency savings fund with six months of basic living expenses. My next big goal is to tackle my sizable student loan debt. Financial stress can be overwhelming, but if you break your goals into small steps, you might be surprised at your progress. Everyone has struggles – don’t be embarrassed to ask for help.”