Horacio Mendez Named New President of Woodstock Institute


CONTACT: Jenna Severson, 616-914-2844, jseverson@woodstockinst.org

CHICAGO: Horacio Mendez, an experienced executive with expertise in policy, regulation, finance, research and strategyhas been named President of Woodstock Institute by its Board of Directors. The national and locally renowned research and policy nonprofit welcomes its first Latino leader, who will begin on August 1, 2020.

“Woodstock Institute is thrilled to usher in our first Latino leader. Under Fred’s leadership, we know the organization will take an innovative approach to advancing a just financial system through policy advocacy, research and partnerships with community-led organizations and nonprofits,” said Woodstock Institute Board Chair Byna Elliott, also of Fifth Third Bank. “We warmly welcome Fred and his family to Chicago, the birthplace of the fight to end racism in the financial system.”

Mendez will start at the organization in the midst of an unprecedented time in the national—and world—history. Both the economic uncertainty of a global health pandemic and the civil unrest related to the killing of Black people by the police has highlighted systemic racial and economic inequities. These are the same issues that Woodstock Institute’s founders came together to expose and address in 1973 and are key to Woodstock Institute’s current mission of creating a just financial system in which lower-wealth people and communities of color can achieve economic security and community prosperity.  

Mendez will bring his insider knowledge of the industry, his track record as an expert researcher, and his sharp policy analysis skills to join the Woodstock staff in contributing evidence based research and policy recommendations that help address the racial income and wealth gap.

“Woodstock’s history and expertise in advancing social and economic justice is exactly what is needed to move beyond empty statements and towards real progress. I’m humbled and thrilled to step into this role at such an important moment in our country’s evolution towards fulfilling its potential as a model of liberal democracy and leading a team whose values and skills are up to the challenge,” said Mendez.

Mendez is moving to Chicago from Alameda, California. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Santa Clara University and a Master of Arts in Economics from San Jose State University.  Most recently Mendez was Managing Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Americas at MUFG Union Bank.  Prior to that, he held executive positions at Rabobank and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  He also spent seven years as a Senior Fellow, Economic Opportunities Program, with the Aspen Institute.