CDFI Impact Blog



CDFI Innovation and Impact in the Delta Innovation and Impact in the Delta<div class="ExternalClassD375CE71D6BB4A59B94E4E80578034B8"><p>The Delta region is a very special place in America. Covering more than 250 counties from the tip of Illinois, south to Mississippi, and east into Alabama, the eight-state Delta region is home to ten million people. Its residents are hard-working, resilient, and creative people who care deeply about their communities. The Delta Region is also characterized by persistent and pervasive economic distress—with poverty rates three times the national average and unemployment that is double the national average.</p><p>The CDFI Fund’s programs have played a substantial role in providing access to capital and credit for a variety of critical community needs throughout the Delta region. To date, the NMTC Program has spurred more than $3.3 billion of investment into 345 projects and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) have loaned or invested more than $5 billion throughout the region. CDFI Fund investments have supported a variety of affordable housing, small business and entrepreneurship, financial education and counseling, and commercial development in the Delta. For a snapshot of the CDFI Fund’s impact in the region, <a href="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/delta.jpg" target="_blank">click here</a>. </p><p>I have often stated that for the CDFI Fund to be successful in its mission, CDFIs of all types and sizes are needed to address the variety of challenges and obstacles facing communities across the country. The greatest impact can be achieved when CDFIs work in collaboration with a diverse array of organizations in collective pursuit of community and economic revitalization. </p><p>Supporting a diversity of organizations, strategies, and collaborations is critically important in the Delta region. I recently had the opportunity to tour the Delta with certified CDFI Hope Credit Union to see first-hand an array of unique initiatives they have supported in an effort to improve lives in economically distressed parts of the region. Hope Credit Union indicates it has generated over $2 billion in financial and related services for the unbanked and underbanked, entrepreneurs, homeowners, nonprofit organizations, healthcare providers, and other community development purposes. Here is what I saw:</p><hr /><p style="width:48%;text-align:center;font-size:9pt;margin-right:1%;margin-bottom:0.5em;float:left;"> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/bynum.jpg" alt="" style="width:100%;" />Hope Credit Union CEO Bill Bynum outside Moorhead, MS branch.</p><p style="width:48%;text-align:center;font-size:9pt;margin-right:1%;margin-bottom:0.5em;float:left;"> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/social%20suds.png" alt="" style="width:100%;" />Social Suds co-locates key social services at a community facility.</p><p style="clear:both;"> </p><hr /><p> <b>Crosstown Concourse</b> in Memphis, Tennessee has special significance for me in that it was the <a href="/impact/Pages/BlogDetail.aspx?BlogID=7" target="_blank">very first site </a>I toured upon becoming Director of the CDFI Fund. I was there for the project groundbreaking in 2015. It was inspiring to go back this year to see the progress that has been made. Financed with $56 million in NMTCs from multiple CDEs (Mid-City Community CDE, DV Community Investment, Low-Income Investment Fund, SunTrust CDE, MidWest Renewable Capital, and National Trust Community Investment Corporation), Crosstown is a mixed-use redevelopment of a former retail distribution center. Billed as a “vertical urban village,” it will provide one million square feet of retail space (including a grocery store), restaurants, health clinic, charter high school, art center, commercial offices, and affordable housing. At a total development cost of over $290 million, projected community benefits include the creation of at least 500 permanent jobs and the generation of more than $37 million new wages annually in an area experiencing a 32.9 percent poverty rate and an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. To support its strategy of increasing access to the banking system for underserved populations, Hope Credit Union will have a branch located in Crosstown Concourse. The project is an exemplar of what can be achieved when a community comes together, and when CDFIs and CDEs work hand-in-hand.</p><p> <b>My Cup of Tea and The House at Orange Mound.</b><a href="" target="_blank"> The House at Orange Mound </a>is a resource center for women in the Orange Mound community in Southeastern Memphis. Developed in the late 1800s, Orange Mound is one of the oldest African American neighborhood in the United States. The community experienced challenges and decay through the 1970s and 1980s, but community-led revitalization efforts have begun to reinvigorate this area. Working with women from the Orange Mound community, volunteers and staff teach computer literacy, child-rearing education, GED training, job readiness, cooking, sewing, gardening, and other domestic skills to women who have limited knowledge and marginal exposure to home economics, parenting models, and employment. An initiative of the House at Orange Mound, My Cup of Tea is a small business that packages and distributes tea and provides area women job skill training, mentoring and valuable experience running a small business. To enhance economic inclusion opportunities, Hope Credit Union supports Orange Mound efforts by providing financial education and on-site account opening to program participants.</p><p> <b>Social Suds Resource Center</b> is a laundromat managed by the <a href="" target="_blank">South Memphis Alliance</a>. The South Memphis Alliance (SMA) opened in 2000 to help organize neighborhood associations in the urban communities of South Memphis. Over time, SMA expanded to serve youth in foster care and families in need. Located next door to the SMA office, <a href="" target="_blank">Social Suds </a>provides a space for families to receive information from non-profit and government agencies while utilizing the facility. Again, as part of its economic inclusion activities, Hope Credit Union provides financial education and on-site account openings to SMA clients as part of a one-stop model for community services. </p><p>These businesses and projects are but a few of the many community revitalization and economic development initiatives that CDFIs and CDEs support in the Delta region on an ongoing basis. The CDFI Fund is proud to serve as a partner and facilitator in the continuing efforts to invest in community and economic development opportunities throughout the Delta region.</p><p> <i>Annie Donovan is Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund</i></p></div>Annie Donovan2017-09-01T16:00:00ZLocal Impact35GP0|#1df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee;L0|#01df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee|Mississippi;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#7b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb;L0|#07b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb|Credit Unions;GP0|#6739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7;L0|#06739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7|In the Field
Thinking Local: Native CDFIs Support Businesses, Growth in South Dakota Local: Native CDFIs Support Businesses, Growth in South Dakota<div class="ExternalClass86F6364860BC4C68A1482BAE4F2D2C7F"><p>Just a few weeks after I joined the CDFI Fund as a Senior Portfolio Manager for the Native Initiatives program, I had the honor of accompanying CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan as she traveled to the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations in South Dakota. While in South Dakota we had the chance to experience first-hand the important work that the <a href="" target="_blank">Four Bands Community Development Fund (Four Bands)</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Lakota Funds</a>—both certified CDFIs--were doing to increase opportunities in their communities through financial education services, small business lending, entrepreneurship training, and much more. </p><p>Four Bands and Lakota Funds are both multiple award recipients in the Native Initiatives program, which was designed to strengthen the institutional capacity of Native CDFIs to increase access to capital and credit in Native communities. Through the program, the CDFI Fund invests in organizations that, through their local and cultural knowledge, are able to provide services and products that are best suited to Native American populations across the country. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an individual who has spent his career working on behalf of Native communities, I have personally experienced the positive effects that occur when federal initiatives designed to support Native Americans provide them the flexibility to find the right solutions for their local economies. </p><p>Throughout our trip, Annie and I met several entrepreneurs and individuals who had turned to Four Bands and Lakota Funds for help in launching their businesses and building their financial capacity, often after being turned away by traditional financial institutions. As the authors of a recently published report, “<a href="/programs-training/Programs/native-initiatives/Pages/native-communities-study.aspx" target="_blank">Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities</a>,” found, many Native entrepreneurs experience difficulty accessing traditional sources of capital and credit, which creates additional barriers to starting or expanding a business. Historically, Native CDFIs have helped fill the gap in access to capital and credit by providing relatively small, but necessary, loans to individuals and businesses. In South Dakota, successful business owners, like Jerry Farlee of 4 Winds Lumber and Warren Peterson of The Pizza Shoppe, were able to start and expand their businesses due to support from Four Bands and Lakota Funds. Both owners expressed that Four Bands and Lakota Funds were essential in providing the financing and development services necessary to develop their businesses.</p><p>In turn, these business owners are giving back to their communities in ways that will benefit future generations. For example, 4 Winds Lumber is currently providing young men with the opportunity to hone their carpentry and construction skills. Warren Peterson has a dream of one day employing as many people from his community as he can. These are the types of changes that Native CDFIs can make in their communities. A simple loan or financial education course can ultimately lead to developments that positively affect multiple generations.</p><p>I’m glad that I had the opportunity to visit Four Bands and Lakota Funds, it gave me a better understanding of the work that Native CDFIs do to effect change on the ground. I have no doubt that the experience will help me as I seek to support the Native CDFI industry through my work at the CDFI Fund. </p><p><i>Clint Hastings is a Senior Portfolio Manager for the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives </i></p> </div>Clint Hastings2017-09-25T15:33:00ZLocal Impact36GP0|#e9712537-9411-4bae-9528-c7186f7c273a;L0|#0e9712537-9411-4bae-9528-c7186f7c273a|South Dakota;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#12da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c;L0|#012da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c|Native Communities;GP0|#6739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7;L0|#06739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7|In the Field;GP0|#c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9;L0|#0c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9|Native Initiatives