The Rainier Valley Community Development Fund’s first and longest serving business loan officer—longtime southeast Seattle resident Charleete Black—has retired.
Having joined the organization when it opened its doors in 2003, Charleete worked tirelessly to reach the businesses in the path of the light rail construction that lasted five long years, being directly responsible for these businesses accessing a significant portion of the total $15.2 million in mitigation grants funded during that time.
Once the light rail construction was complete in 2009, Charleete continued her work with Rainier Valley businesses in her new position as business lending officer. By that time, many of the businesses that received mitigation grants and had survived the disruptions of construction were now ready to expand and grow their businesses, so it was a perfect fit.
For the next eight years, she helped many area businesses stay afloat, improve their premises, expand to larger locations, buy equipment, upgrade their customer service areas, and much more.
“Having been both a commercial banker, business finance officer, and small business owner, Charleete brought a wealth of experience,” says RVCDF Executive Director Wayne Lau. “We are grateful for her 14 years of service and will miss her and her selfless commitment to helping Rainier Valley businesses.”
This past summer, Charleete was honored for her work in the community when the Rainier Chamber of Commerce presented her with the John L. O’Brien Lifetime Achievement in recognition of her “Enduring Vision, Leadership and Achievement in the Rainier Valley.”
Charleete’s last day was September 29, 2017.
She has long been looking forward to retirement and taking the opportunity to travel, sleep in, and volunteer in the community. She will continue as a secretary/treasurer on the board of the MLK Business Association, which she helped found in 2008. Charleete still lives in the neighborhood, so be sure to say 'Hi' and congratulate her on a well-deserved retirement when you see her out and about.