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Board of Directors

Minnesota Housing's board of directors ensures the independence of decision making and maintaining financial assets.

Board Members

Board of Directors

Board of Directors are appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the Senate.

Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin, Mille Lacs County, Region 7E
Melanie Benjamin is Chief Executive/Chairwoman of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, a role she has held since 2000. Benjamin previously served as the Band’s Commissioner of Administration and Sr. Vice President of Administration and Finance at Grand Casino Hinckley. As Chief Executive, Benjamin leads the Executive Branch of Band government and conducts external relations with other governments. Benjamin’s board service includes: Native American Finance Officers Association, Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations, American Indian Law Resource Center, National Indian Gaming Association, Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, Minnesota Board on Aging, U.S. Attorney Generals’ Tribal Nations Leadership Council, U.S. Department of Interior Self-Governance Negotiated Rulemaking Committee and Lt. Gov. Flanagan’s Young Women’s Leadership Council. 

The Honorable Julie Blaha, State Auditor, Ex-officio member
Julie Blaha is Minnesota’s 19th State Auditor, first elected in 2018 and again in 2022. The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) is the constitutional office that oversees more than $40 billion spent annually by local governments and approximately $20 billion in federal dollars spent by the State of Minnesota. The OSA ensures financial integrity and accountability in local government financial activities. In addition to serving on the Minnesota Housing Board, Auditor Blaha serves on the following: State Executive Council, Board of Investment, Land Exchange Board, Public Employees Retirement Association Board, Rural Finance Authority Board, and Minnesota Historical Society Board. Prior to serving as State Auditor, Julie Blaha was a middle school math teacher in the Anoka-Hennepin school district, past president of Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota, and the first woman elected secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. 

Eric Cooperstein, Hennepin County, Region 11 (Metro) 
Eric Cooperstein has had his own law practice since November 2006. He is a graduate of Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) and the University of Minnesota Law School. He currently serves on the Minnesota Lawyers Mutual board, a mono-line lawyers liability insurer, and chairs its Investment Committee. His board leadership positions include president of the First Universalist Church Board of Trustees and president of the Hennepin County Bar Association. 

 John DeCramer, Chair, Lyon County, Region 8
John DeCramer lives in Marshall and is retired from BH Electronics, Inc., a Minnesota company that designs and manufactures high frequency magnetic components. He has considerable community service experience. John served as a member of the Marshall City Council, with liaison roles to the Marshall municipal utility and Marshall economic development authority. He also served on the United Community Action board, a southwest Minnesota nonprofit community organization. John was designated as Chair by Governor Dayton in January 2015 and reappointed by Governor Walz in 2020.

Stephanie Klinzing, Sherburne County, Region 7W
In addition to her service on this board, Stephanie Klinzing serves as a board member at the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, a role she has held for over a decade. She is also a member of the Minnesota Board on Aging. Stephanie brings a wealth of policy experience. She was mayor of Elk River for 12 years and founded a transitional housing program for homeless families in Elk River. She has served as an elected official in the Minnesota House of Representatives and on the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners. Prior to public service, she was a community newspaper journalist for more than 20 years. Stephanie is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreille Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa and lives in Elk River.

Stephen Spears, Hennepin County, Region 11 (Metro)
Stephen Spears leads Bremer's Community Banking Team. In this role, he oversees secondary marketing and affordable lending functions and supports the bank in meeting its commitment to establish a greater presence in serving Black, Indigenous and communities and businesses of color. Stephen brings more than 25 years of financial services experience to Bremer’s Senior Leadership Team and has a particular knowledge base in residential lending. Prior to joining Bremer Bank, Stephen served in other senior leadership positions for KleinBank, GMAC-RFC and US Bank. Stephen is committed to the principles of a just society, servant leadership and community development. Stephen currently serves on the board for Spare Key and Hope4Youth where he is Board Chair. He has also served on the board for Kinship of Greater Minneapolis and as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Simpson Housing Services. 

Terri Thao, Ramsey County, Region 11 (Metro)
Terri Thao (she/her) serves as program director of the Local Initiatives and Opportunities program at the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP) where she leads MACP’s local giving efforts, supports other targeted grant portfolios, and works across domains with several long-term MACP grantee partners. Terri has over 15 years of experience in the fields of community economic development, leadership development and community-engaged grantmaking. Prior to joining MACP, Terri led the Twin Cities adaptation of the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) at Twin Cities intermediary organization Nexus Community Partners. She has served on several local nonprofit, philanthropic and public boards including Neighborhood House, Asian Economic Development Association, F.R. Bigelow Foundation and City of St. Paul Planning Commission. Terri was first appointed to the board of Minnesota Housing by Governor Mark Dayton in 2016 and reappointed by Governor Walz in 2020. 

2024 Board Meetings

2024 Board Meetings

The board meets at least once a month. Meetings are open to the public and start at 1 p.m. unless noted otherwise.

June 27
July 25
August 22 
September 26
October 24
November 21
December 19

Meetings Materials (once available)

2023 Board Meetings

2023 Board Meetings

Select the meeting date to download materials. For page numbers to print, you must choose to print "document and mark-ups" in your Adobe print dialog box.

The Minnesota Housing commissioner serves the board of directors.

Left to right: Commissioner Jennifer Leimaile Ho with former commissioners Mary Tingerthal, Tim Marx, Kit Hadley and James Solem.