Today, as the CDFI Fund concludes fiscal year (FY) 2009, we look back on twelve months of unprecedented challenges and many great accomplishments. When the national economy was faced with the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, the CDFI Fund was still able to take significant actions to increase support for CDFIs and CDEs serving distressed communities. As the CDFI Fund begins a year-long series of 15th Anniversary related events and initiatives, I am more confident than ever that the CDFI Fund will be well positioned for another 15 years of growth and expansion in the future.

When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) passed on February 17, 2009, the CDFI Fund was given an important role in supporting the nation's economic recovery. Our inclusion in this historic piece of legislation represented an acknowledgment by Congress and the Obama Administration of our unique contribution to promoting economic revitalization in the most underserved communities across our nation. The speed and efficiency at which the CDFI Fund mobilized to implement the Recovery Act provisions has been truly remarkable. For making these and other accomplishments possible, I would like to take a moment to express my heartfelt thanks to our hardworking staff. Without them, the accomplishments of the last year would not have been possible.

It is rare to find such an extraordinary high level of commitment and dedication to assisting underserved populations and communities among so many people. It is rarer still to find an equally high level of talent and ability among these same people. The staff of the CDFI Fund exemplifies commitment to public service at a time when the President has called on all of us to participate in our nation's recovery and renewal by actively serving in our communities. This is why on September 23, 2009, the 15th Anniversary of the CDFI Fund, there could be no more rewarding experience than hosting a day of service, where the CDFI Fund staff volunteered to work with four area non-profits that have benefitted from CDFI awards.

Our ability to swiftly implement the President's Recovery Act agenda and provide resources for distressed communities during the economic crisis did not go unrecognized. Upon release of our implementation plan, Vice President Biden commented, "I commend Secretary Geithner and the Treasury Department for moving quickly to implement these innovative programs to help underserved communities. They are exactly what the President and I had in mind when we put forth the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."

Within just 120 days of the Recovery Act's enactment, the CDFI Fund awarded a total of $98 million in financial assistance grants through the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance Program. Subsequently, 100 percent of the funds were disbursed within 60 days of the award announcement, enabling CDFIs to quickly expand lending activities. In addition, the CDFI Fund solicited and reviewed an aggregate total of over 200 new applications received under supplemental rounds of the CDFI and NACA Programs. Earlier this week, we announced the award recipients of $4.4 million through the NACA Program, and $52.7 million will be awarded later this week through the CDFI Program. The CDFI Fund also re-opened the 2008 New Markets Tax Credit Program application round to award an additional $1.5 billion of Recovery Act allocation authority within 100 days of enactment, and closed all of the award agreements within 30 days of the award announcement. An additional $5 billion in New Markets Tax Credits for the 2009 round will be announced next month.

As significant as they were, our achievements did not come as a surprise to me because I know better than anyone the story of our staff's unparalleled level of commitment. Since I became Director two years ago, the depth of this commitment has made a strong impression on me. We are engaged in promoting economic revitalization in distressed communities every day. We have a shared belief in an America in which all people have access to affordable credit, capital and financial services. While the economic crisis worsened, and conditions in communities across the country became more challenging, our fundamental motivation to provide enhanced support did not waver Đ it only increased. The Recovery Act provided us with an opportunity to rise to the occasion. The President's FY 2010 budget, which will provide the CDFI Fund with even greater resources and programs, will allow us to continue to fulfill our mission and further impact distressed communities throughout the nation.

Our contribution to combating the economic crisis was not limited to awarding funds. As the crisis deepened last fall, we took immediate action to explore with our Community Development Advisory Board how the CDFI Fund could best respond to the crisis. The Advisory Board Subcommittee helped us gain a better understanding of the impact the economic downturn is having on the CDFI industry, and how we can best serve our industry and the communities we serve.

The Subcommittee gathered input from a wide representation of the community development finance industry and formulated important recommendations that were presented to the full Advisory Board and the CDFI Fund on March 5, 2009. The CDFI Fund has made notable progress in implementing these recommendations, the positive effects of which will be felt throughout the community development industry. From increasing the capacity of new and existing CDFIs, to expanding training and outreach activities through a newly created office, to enhancing affordable housing finance by securing direct funding for the new Capital Magnet Fund, the hard work of the CDFI Fund staff continues to advance economic recovery in distressed communities in diverse ways.

Throughout this past fiscal year and the economic crisis, the staff of the CDFI Fund has demonstrated a level of commitment which I cannot praise too strongly or too effusively. Many have made personal sacrifices over the days, weeks and months in which we worked together toward America's economic recovery. I commend their exemplary dedication to serving those communities most in need of economic recovery and revitalization. As federal employees, they continue to uphold with their example the finest traditions of public service.

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