One of the most energizing aspects of my job as director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is engaging with a diverse array of stakeholders who care about creating economic opportunity in distressed communities and telling them the CDFI story. I find that too often, the innovative and impactful work of CDFIs, CDEs and other organizations served by the CDFI Fund is not as well understood as it should be. In order to spread the word about this amazing work, we are launching a new feature on our public website: Impact Stories.
Through Impact Stories, we will spotlight the outcomes that CDFI Fund awardees are achieving in communities across the nation. We will showcase the diverse and essential financial services, lending, and investments CDFIs, CDEs, and other awardees provide every day in distressed and underserved rural, urban, and Native American (including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian) communities.
CDFI Fund awardees help entrepreneurs get off the ground and existing small businesses grow their operations. They expand access to affordable housing and homeownership for low-income people. They finance healthcare facilities and other vital community centers that assist vulnerable populations, such as disabled veterans. They create access to safe and affordable financial products for those on the margins of the financial system. They develop communications networks and infrastructure to expand critical community services and enhance economic development opportunities.
Of course, no good impact story should be told without data. And we will be using these impact stories to highlight what we are learning from the ever improving data we collect from our awardees.
The CDFI Fund needs your help in identifying stories and best practices that are having impact in distressed and underserved communities across the nation. Submit your story suggestions to the CDFI Fund here.
Interested in seeing more? Sign up to receive CDFI Fund Impact Stories as we release them, or keep an eye on our Impact Blog. And check out our FY 2016 Year in Review to learn more about the impact of CDFIs and the CDFI Fund's programs. Full information about the CDFI Fund's programs can be found at www.cdfifund.gov.
Annie Donovan is Director of the CDFI Fund.