USADF Announces Passing of Shari Berenbach

President and CEO championed African-owned, managed and led growth development


WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) announced today that Shari Berenbach, President & CEO, passed away on Sunday in Washington. Ms. Berenbach had been suffering from advanced breast cancer. 

As leader of the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) since 2012, Ms. Berenbach was a pioneer in promoting economic growth and prosperity in Africa and an advocate of impact investing for vulnerable and underserved populations, promoting investments that generate beneficial social and environmental impact as well as ensures the resilience of USADF grantees and their communities.

In a statement, USADF Chairman Jack Leslie said: “Shari was a champion for the most vulnerable in Africa, tirelessly working to be sure that communities and people are not left behind as Africa rises. She was an innovative leader, launching new initiatives to enable more Africans to be a part of the continent’s growth story."

"Shari fearlessly led the Agency towards its mission of serving the most vulnerable communities in Africa with visionary approaches designed to address income disparity through entrepreneurial, African-led and managed solutions. Her leadership at USADF created a more positive environment for economic growth across Africa. She will be deeply missed.”

Prior to leading USADF, Ms. Berenbach served as President & CEO of Calvert Foundation and began her microfinance work in the early 1980s as Program Director for Partnership for Productivity International, serving multiple countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

She is survived by her husband, Jim, and her daughter, Moriah.

The USADF Board of Directors announced that Constance B. Newman will serve as Acting President/CEO. Ms. Newman has a distinguished record of public service and experience in African development. She previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in 2004-2005 and Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management from 1989-1992. Ms. Newman has also held positions at USAID and the World Bank.


Contact: AYSHA HOUSE / 202.233.8863 / AHOUSE@USADF.GOV


About USADF | The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), an independent agency of the U.S. federal government, funding grassroots development projects to African-owned enterprises, cooperatives and community-based organizations to build capacity, resilience and economic activities. In 19 countries with over 350 project grants, USADF is benefiting more than a million and a half Africans. USADF operates as the only U.S. agency exclusively centered on an African-led, grassroots development model to create pathways to prosperity for underserved communities.