Executive Team

Kerwin Tesdell, President

Kerwin Tesdell is president of the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, the association of venture capital funds that provide equity financing for businesses that create good jobs, wealth, and entrepreneurial capacity in underinvested areas of the United States and the world. CDVCA serves the industry by providing education and networking opportunities, developing best practices, performing industry research, and supporting positive public policy at the federal and state levels. CDVCA also manages $185 million directly in a combination of business investments and investments in funds.  Mr. Tesdell is an adjunct professor at New York University, teaching Social Venture Capital at the Stern School of Business and Community Development Law at the School of Law.

Prior to joining CDVCA, Mr. Tesdell was a program officer at the Ford Foundation, first in its Office of Program-Related Investments and then in its Economic Development Unit, where he had primary responsibility for the Foundation’s investments and grantmaking for small business finance and job creation. Before that, he was the director of the Community Development Legal Assistance Center, which provides corporate, tax, and real estate legal assistance to community development organizations in New York. He was also an associate with the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, where he represented clients in the financial services industry, including private equity investors in businesses and funds. Prior to joining Debevoise, he was a law clerk to federal judge Constance Baker Motley, Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Tesdell is a managing director of the InnovateNY Fund, a $47 million fund of funds in New York State, and of the Puerto Rico Fund for Growth, which recently closed on the first $45 million of a fund of funds for Puerto Rico, as well as a number of investment partnerships that make investments in businesses in states that include Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, and Kentucky.  Mr. Tesdell is a board member and the past board chair for seven years, of the Coalition of Community Development Financials Institutions (CDFIs). He serves on the board of Community Investment Partners, which is the registered investment advisor of the Calvert Foundation, and is also a board member of the New York Community Investment Company, LLC, a CDVC fund.  He serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Community Development Investments of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Franciso;Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS); the Financial Innovations Roundtable at the Carsey Institute; Meritus Ventures, a Rural Business Investment Company investing in Appalachia; the National Community Investment Fund NMTC fund; and the Advantage Capital Community Development Fund.

Mr. Tesdell graduated from Harvard College with a degree in economics and holds JD and MBA degrees from New York University, as well as a certificate from the Venture Capital Institute.


Alan J. Bernstein, Managing Director

Alan Bernstein is Managing Director at the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, responsible for the Puerto Rico Fund for Growth and other investment activities.

He was a partner at the Wall Street law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, and currently holds the title of Senior Counsel at the firm. His corporate practice concentrated on transactions involving venture capital investments, public offerings and private placements representing issuers and underwriters, mergers and acquisitions, secondary offerings, negotiated stock and asset purchases representing buyers and sellers, and licensing and strategic partnering.

Mr. Bernstein is the President of the New York Network of Investors Circle, the national angel impact investing group. Alan also serves on the Board of Directors of 118 Capital Inc., which designs programs to involve millennials in impact investing, of Lavan, which promotes impact investing for organizations and individuals in the Jewish Community, and of Kehilat Romemu, his synagogue.

He received his B.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley.


Julian Wood, Vice President

Julian has a distinguished 25-year investment and professional track record across five continents in 20 developed and emerging markets. Julian is committed to supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and local economies grow via the provision of increasing access to risk capital, creating quality jobs and complimenting strategies with workforce development programs.

He has led in all aspects of capital raising, deal flow, due diligence, fund construction/management and strategy development and has advised and supported investments over $200m in startup and growth stage companies.

Julian has a unique and diverse background gained in investment banking, airline, financial services and hospitality industries. Established networks with leading Foundations, Family offices, Institutional Investors and DFI’s having supported and raised over $300m.
He has been a pioneer and a thought leader in Impact, ESG and SDG investing and innovative business and customer service models, catalyzing long-term economic growth, quality job creation, workforce development and entrepreneurship.

Julian supports the management of CDVCA’s $190M investment portfolio including New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) allocations, The Puerto Rico Fund for Growth and Central Fund. He leads the Job Quality and Workforce Development programs that compliment our primary investments.

Julian is also the lead for new business development and emerging funds in international markets, including Africa, Central America and Haiti.

Julian is also the City Leader for New York for Bunker Labs, a leading nationwide Veterans Entrepreneurship Non-Profit that supports the scale and growth of veteran owned businesses,  and he is active in programs and initiatives that increasing minority GP’s access to funds for deployment and investment in minority owned and operated businesses.

Julian has a Bachelors degree in Business Administration and studied International Banking and Finance in London, UK.


Alexandria Harris, Vice President

Alex Harris is an attorney and manages the assets of CDVCA’s $46M Innovate NY Fund, and $45M Puerto Rico Fund for Growth, as well as our NMTC allocations, focused on increasing access to capital for early-stage, job-creating companies. She supports deployment activities of the Puerto Rico Fund for Growth and New Markets Tax Credit program by leading outreach, performing initial screenings, overseeing pipeline and due diligence, and preparing investment memoranda for Board approval.

Prior to joining CDVCA, Alex provided legal counsel to early-stage ventures on company formationinternal corporate affairs, and advised emerging growth companies on business development strategies

Alex has a JD from George Washington University and a BS from Ithaca College. 

Mr. Ernesto Villarini-Baquero, Vice President

Mr. Ernesto Villarini-Baquero is Vice President of the Community Venture Capital Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to economic development through access to private capital markets. Ernesto’s previous experience includes work as an investment advisor and business consultant specializing in strategic planning, financing and development of social enterprises and entrepreneurial nonprofit organizations. He has 20 years of executive and managerial experience. Villarini-Baquero holds bachelor’s degree in science and science education from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, a master’s in business administration from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and is completing a doctoral degree in business administration at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus.

Villarini-Baquero is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Puerto Rico Model Forest Trust, Vice-President of the Board of the Association for Financial Professionals – Puerto Rico Chapter, and a Member of the Financing Committee of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation’s Community Investment Fund. Villarini-Baquero is an Entrepreneurship Education Fellow of Babson College and a member of the editorial board of PRAXIS: The University of Puerto Rico’s Business Administration Journal.  He has presented both professional and academic work at various international conferences in San Juan, Stockholm, Santo Domingo, New York, Miami, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

Salvatore Virgadaula, CFO

Salvatore (Sal) has been working with CDVCA since October 2003 as a part-time CFO. In this capacity, he monitors and tracks accounts and funds movement of all of CDVCA and all its subsidiary entities and SPVs. He prepares monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports for the Board of Directors. He works with auditors on annual numbers for the audited statements. Sal also ensures financial compliance with covenants of existing debt.

Sal joined Kiwi Partners in 1998, and has contributed significantly to the growth and success of the firm over the past 16 years.

Prior to joining Kiwi Partners, Sal worked at Ernst & Young for three years as an auditor in the financial services industry, with a concentration on banks and mutual funds. He is a graduate of Manhattan College.