In mid-September, the CDFI Fund announced that 303 CDFIs received $202.9 million in fiscal year (FY) 2018 CDFI Program and NACA Program awards. As in past years, there are more fantastic statistics about the FY 2018 awardees than the CDFI Fund could easily highlight in one announcement. For example:
First-time awardees: Nearly one-quarter-22 percent-of the FY 2018 CDFI Program and NACA Program awardees had never previously received a Financial Assistance or Technical Assistance award. There were new awardees of all financial institution types, including one venture capital fund, nine depository institutions/holding companies, 24 credit unions, and 31 loan funds. There were also three first-time Sponsoring Entities in the NACA Program.
Geographic representation: The FY 2018 CDFI Program and NACA Program awardees are headquartered in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Many CDFIs have operations in states or territories beyond where they are headquartered, however, and the awardees combined operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This year, five organizations headquartered in Puerto Rico received awards. With the recovery efforts from the effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017 still on-going, these awards should lead to increased financial services and lending on the island. Previously, the last time an organization in Puerto Rico received a CDFI Program award was in 2009.
Additionally, the proportionality of CDFI Program and NACA Program awardees by geography type closely mirrored the institution types of the application pool.
Reaching areas of Persistent Poverty: The Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 required that 10 percent of the funds awarded by the CDFI Fund under the appropriation "shall be used for awards that support investments that serve populations living in" Persistent Poverty Counties (PPCs). PPCs are defined as counties where 20 percent or more of the population has lived in poverty over the past 30 years. These counties can be found in the United States in both rural and urban areas.
For the FY 2018 CDFI Program and NACA Program award round, 89 CDFIs committed to serving PPCs and received $19.6 million in Financial Assistance awards specifically for investments in PPCs. In addition, 10 CDFIs headquartered in PPCs received Technical Assistance awards. This will be in addition to work that past awardees are already doing in PPCs. Historically, past CDFI Program awardees made more than 17 percent of their loans and investments in PPCs.
Institutional proportionality: Again in FY 2018, the proportionality of CDFI Program and NACA Program awardees by institution type closely mirrored the institution types of the application pool.
The FY 2018 awards will have an impact on communities across the nation. I am proud of the results of this round, and I look forward to watching CDFIs bring positive change and growth to their target markets. But the CDFI Program and Native Initiatives team at the CDFI Fund is not resting easy - we are already actively preparing for the FY 2019 application round in the first quarter of 2019. Stay tuned to hear more from us soon.
Amber Kuchar-Bell is the Program Manager of the CDFI Program and Native Initiatives