It's such a pleasure to have this opportunity to update community development organizations across the country on the CDFI Fund's recent progress and activities. The year 2013 may be only a month old, but the CDFI Fund has been busy with fiscal year 2013 since October 1, 2012. Behind the scenes we have been diligently reviewing applications for 2012 New Markets Tax Credit Allocations, laying the groundwork for the 2013 rounds of the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance Program, and developing the 2013 application for the Bank Enterprise Award Program. And through the undertaking of a comprehensive recertification effort for CDFIs this year, CDFI Fund staff will be streamlining and clarifying how organizations can keep their certification current. Details on the recertification process will be announced next week.
So there certainly is a lot going on, and a lot that I will be sharing with you later this year. But I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon how the CDFI Fund communicates with you and the community development finance industry.
The CDFI Fund takes its relationship with the public very seriously, which is why we have made a concerted effort to develop as many opportunities to explain and discuss our programs utilizing different communication tools. For example, yesterday we released the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program interim rule, and while we are providing the opportunity for the public to comment on the interim rule, we are also doing our best to educate CDFIs on the intricacies of the program through three different information sessions in February. These sessions will be held in San Francisco, CA, Dallas, TX, and Washington, D.C. In addition, online resources and webinars will be provided and additional workshops focused on the requirements to submit an application. More information about the information sessions can be found on the CDFI Fund's website at www.cdfifund.gov/bond.
The CDFI Bond Guarantee Program's outreach is building upon years of tradition: the CDFI Fund has historically held workshops, webinars, and conference calls to educate and answer questions about all of our programs. But we also welcome the public's input where new decisions have to be made, which is why we currently have a call out for comments from Tribal leaders on the development of a new Native American Lending Study. Intended to provide a fresh look at the availability of access to capital and credit in Native Communities, the study's direction will be framed through input provided by Tribal leaders on the scope and focus of the report, desired outcomes, and other relevant topics. Comments must be submitted by February 28, 2013, so there is still time to provide your input in the design of this important study. More information can be found at www.cdfifund.gov/native.
The CDFI Fund depends upon honest, thoughtful feedback from CDFIs and CDEs to provide you with the best programs and training opportunities that we can. And in return we also owe it to our audience to be a source of clear and easy-to-understand information about our programs and objectives. That is why in recent months the CDFI Fund has undertaken a focused attempt to improve the quality of our external communications, from developing straight-forward explanations of our programs to standardizing the design of materials to create a more consistent look for the CDFI Fund.
We have created an overview brochure about the CDFI Fund and new fact sheets on all of our programs, which have been added to our website. These new materials provide easy-to-understand descriptions about the CDFI Fund's programs and their impact, and I encourage you to utilize them. This is the first time we are making our fact sheets publicly available for general use, but even more importantly this is the first time that we are providing Spanish versions of the fact sheets to make the information about our programs as widely accessible as possible. We understand that many of our CDFIs operate in communities where Spanish is widely spoken so we hope that you find the new fact sheets a valuable resource for your organizations.
We've also made a few design changes lately-you may have noticed our new logo in recent months, or the new look of our GovDelivery messages if you subscribe to receive e-mail updates from us about news and program information. We'll be continuing to roll out a few changes and new products further down the road as well, such as a new Year in Review publication to highlight the accomplishments of the previous year as well new award books to showcase the awardees of our programs.
As exciting as it is to develop a unified "look and feel" for the CDFI Fund, however, I want to emphasize that these changes only serve to broaden the knowledge of what the CDFI Fund is doing and how best we can help your CDFI and your community. I still strongly encourage you to sign-up for updates on our programs through GovDelivery, to provide your input and advice on our programs and initiatives, and to attend the workshops, conference calls, and webinars that we hold every year. I am proud that the CDFI Fund has a reputation for being accessible and helpful to CDFIs across the nation, and I look forward to continuing that relationship throughout the New Year.
Donna J. Gambrell
Director, CDFI Fund