CDFI Impact Blog

 

 

Program Notes: A Deeper Look at the FY 2017 CDFI Program and NACA Program Award Round https://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=39Program Notes: A Deeper Look at the FY 2017 CDFI Program and NACA Program Award Round <div class="ExternalClass18DBB30805C04F3DA3DB49E4EB162190"><p>Recently, CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan spoke at the <a href="/news-events/Pages/speeches-detail.aspx?SpeechID=49" target="_blank">2017 Opportunity Finance Network Conference </a>about how there were more awardees under the fiscal year (FY) 2017 award round of the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program) than ever before in the history of the CDFI Fund. The <a href="/news-events/news/Pages/news-detail.aspx?NewsID=269" target="_blank">303 awardees operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories.</a></p><p>This impressive statistic illustrates the essential goal of the reforms we made to the FY 2017 application: to increase the impact of CDFIs by supporting their growth, reach, and performance. The group of 303 awardees includes 50 organizations receiving Financial Assistance awards for the first time. By reaching more CDFIs, and new CDFIs, the CDFI Fund supports the expansion of affordable financial services and lending across the country. The large number of awardees isn’t the only success story in the FY 2017 award round, however. The CDFI Fund met other objectives, such as:</p><p> <b>Serving areas of Persistent Poverty:</b> The Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 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.</p><p>For the FY 2017 CDFI Program and NACA Program award round, one third of the awardees - 101 CDFIs – committed to serving PPCs. 92 CDFIs received $20.1 million in Financial Assistance awards specifically for investments in PPCs, which is in addition to the work that CDFIs already do in PPCs. In addition, nine CDFIs headquartered in PPCs received Technical Assistance awards. </p><p> <b>Geographic representation:</b> Beyond areas of persistent poverty, the FY 2017 CDFI Program and NACA Program awards will reach a broad swath of low-income communities across the United States. The awardees will serve rural, major urban, and minor urban target markets. In particular, 29% of the awardees primarily serve rural target markets; 14% of Americans live in rural communities, and face particular challenges with access to affordable financial services. </p><p> <b>Institutional proportionality:</b> CDFIs can be various types of financial institutions, from banks or credit unions to loan funds or venture capital funds. The revised application was designed, in part, to make it easier for CDFIs to demonstrate the impact they’d be able to achieve with an award regardless of what type of financial institution they are. As a result, the percentage of the 224 CDFIs that received CDFI Program Financial Assistance awards in the FY 2017 round closely mirrored the percentage of institution types that applied:</p><p> <b><a href="/SiteCollectionImages/PublicationImages/CDFI%202017%20App%20and%20Award%20Table%20102517.JPG" target="_blank">Table 1: Financial Institution Types that Received CDFI Program FA Awards vs. Applied </a><sup><a href="#1">1</a></sup></b></p><p> <b>Customer service:</b> Another objective of the revised application was to make the questions easier to understand, less repetitive, and less time-consuming to complete. The CDFI Fund surveyed the FY 2017 applicant pool to see if we achieved these objectives. Of the applicants that responded to the survey that had previously applied for a Financial Assistance award:</p><ul><li><p>43% thought that the revised application was easier to understand than the old application; 43% thought that the difficulty was about the same;</p></li><li><p>50% thought that the revised application was less repetitive than the old application; 45% thought the amount of repetitiveness was about the same; and</p></li><li><p>32% thought that the revised application took less time to complete than the old application; 43% thought it took about the same amount of time.</p></li></ul><p>The survey respondents also provided helpful feedback on the application process and the information the CDFI Fund provides during the application round. The CDFI Fund will be reviewing all of the comments closely as we continue to refine our application materials. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey for your time and thoughts. </p><p>I’m pleased that our applicants thought that we were moving in the right direction with the application changes. Even though the respondents had suggestions for how we can continue to improve, 79% of the survey respondents thought that the application allowed them to accurately describe their organization and the impact they could make with an award, which is the primary objective of the application as a whole. I am especially proud that with the application changes this year we were able to reach a broad pool of awardees that will have significant impact in low-income communities across the United States. </p><p>Learn more about the FY 2017 award round on the <a href="/news-events/news/Pages/news-detail.aspx?NewsID=269" target="_blank">CDFI Fund’s website</a>. More information about the CDFI Program can be found at <a href="http://www.cdfifund.gov/cdfi" target="_blank">www.cdfifund.gov/cdfi</a>, and the NACA Program at <a href="http://www.cdfifund.gov/native" target="_blank">www.cdfifund.gov/native</a>.  </p><p> <i>Amber Kuchar-Bell is the Program Manager for the CDFI Program and the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives</i></p> <br> <hr /> <footer> <ol><li id="1"> <i>View the CDFI Fund’s <a href="/Documents/FINAL%202017%20CDFI%20Award%20Book%20091817_for%20web.pdf" target="_blank">FY 2017 CDFI Program Award Book </a>for more information about the different types of Financial Assistance awards (CORE vs. SECA) and for more information about the awardee pool. </i></li><p> </p></ol> </footer> </div>Amber Kuchar2017-10-26T13:00:00ZPrograms and Initiatives39GP0|#0760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1;L0|#00760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1|CDFI Program;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9;L0|#0c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9|Native Initiatives
Program Notes: FY 2018 Disability Funds-Financial Assistance Awardshttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=45Program Notes: FY 2018 Disability Funds-Financial Assistance Awards<div class="ExternalClass167936404C85406C8E8CAE20E66F6CB5"><p>You may have noticed something new when the CDFI Fund opened the FY 2018 application round for the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program) on January 31, 2018.</p><p>As part of this year’s application process, the CDFI Fund is inviting applicants to compete for approximately $2.5 million in supplemental Disability Funds-Financial Assistance funding (DF-FA). This award is available to CDFIs that wish to expand their financing activities and services for persons with disabilities.</p><p>Many Americans with disabilities live in communities served by CDFIs. As mission-driven organizations, CDFIs are uniquely positioned to develop affordable financial services and products to address the challenges of individuals with disabilities, such as affordable, accessible, and safe housing; employment opportunities; or access to assistive products and services that support health and community living. The DF-FA awards will encourage deeper CDFI involvement in this essential space. </p><p>In order to apply for the FY 2018 supplemental funding, interested CDFIs must apply for FY 2018 Financial Assistance (FA) funding and include their DF-FA award request as part of their FA application. Once the FA application period ends on April 4, 2018, DF-FA applicants will complete a short questionnaire application provided by the CDFI Fund. </p><p>You can learn more about the DF-FA funding opportunity by reviewing the FY 2018 Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) for the CDFI Program and the NACA Program, and by checking out the CDFI Fund’s issued guidance on the “How to Apply” section of our website. For the FY 2018 round, Standard Form (SF)-424s must be submitted through Grants.gov by March 2, 2018, and the complete FY 2018 FA application for either the CDFI Program and/or the NACA Program must be submitted through the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System by April 4, 2018. </p><p>The CDFI Fund will also provide training opportunities for financial institutions interested in expanding or beginning new services for persons with disabilities. Stay tuned for more information later in 2018. </p><p> To learn more about the CDFI Program and NACA Program, please visit our website at <a href="http://www.cdfifund.gov/cdfi" target="_blank">www.cdfifund.gov/cdfi</a> or <a href="http://www.cdfifund.gov/native" target="_blank">www.cdfifund.gov/native</a>.   </p> </div>2018-02-07T17:00:00ZPrograms and Initiatives45GP0|#0760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1;L0|#00760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1|CDFI Program;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9;L0|#0c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9|Native Initiatives
Program Notes: Inside the New CDFI Program Application Evaluation Processhttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=33Program Notes: Inside the New CDFI Program Application Evaluation Process<div class="ExternalClass2FF7A4CD3CB74E8FA0BC846317A09164"><p>Over the past few months, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) Director Annie Donovan and members of the CDFI Fund’s staff have been talking a lot about the CDFI Fund’s five-year Strategic Plan, which will guide the CDFI Fund’s program and administrative decisions in pursuit of greater economic and community development opportunities for low-income communities. The very first goal of the Strategic Plan, to increase the impact of CDFIs by supporting their growth, reach, and performance, has already made a significant difference in how the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program) team is handling the application process. </p><p>For the fiscal year (FY) 2017 application round, the CDFI Program and NACA Program team made extensive changes to the Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance applications to encourage greater growth and performance from CDFIs. We’ve discussed the changes to the applications previously, and you can read <a href="/Documents/FY%202017%20CDFI%20NACA%20Programs%20In-Person%20Application%20Workshop_508.pdf" target="_blank">more about those changes here</a>. But something we haven’t talked about as much are the changes we’ve made to our application evaluation process this year. </p><p>When evaluating the CDFI Program and NACA Program applications this year, we plan to both look at the strength of the applicant’s business plan and to require that award recipients commit to achieving at least one of the following four Financial Assistance Objectives: </p><ol><li><p>Expand operations into a new investment area or areas.</p></li><li><p>Serve a new targeted population or populations. </p></li><li><p>Provide new products or services.</p></li><li><p>Increase volume of products or services.</p></li></ol><p>Further, highly qualified applicants will be assessed on the extent of economic distress in the areas they are serving; the extent to which their activities have expanded, or will expand, economic opportunities; and the extent to which the applicant will collaborate with their community and increase its resources though collaborations and partnerships. These criteria will affect the size of an organization’s award. Our primary objective is to let successful CDFI Program and NACA Program awardees maintain their flexibility to respond to local needs with market-driven solutions, but in a way that also encourages growth and expansion to the communities that are most in need of investment.</p><p>As a result of all of the changes to the application, the evaluation process looks different this year than it has for previous rounds. The application evaluation and award selection process for the FY 2017 round consists of five steps:</p><ul><li><p>Step 1: Eligibility Review, conducted by CDFI Fund staff.</p></li><li><p>Step 2: Financial Analysis, conducted by external reviewers.</p></li><li><p>Step 3: Business Plan Review, conducted by external reviewers.</p></li><li><p>Step 4: Policy Objective Review, conducted by CDFI Fund staff.</p></li><li><p>Step 5: Award Amount Determination, conducted by CDFI Fund staff.</p></li></ul><p>We have provided additional information about each of these evaluation steps in our <a href="/Documents/FY17%20Financial%20Assistance%20Evaluation%20Process%20Cleared%203.24.17.pdf" target="_blank">CDFI Program and NACA Program Financial Assistance Evaluation Process document</a>, available on the CDFI Fund’s website. I’d encourage you take a moment to look at the new process as the CDFI Fund spends the next few months reviewing the FY 2017 applications. </p><p>For more information about the CDFI Program and NACA Program, please visit <a href="http://www.cdfifund.gov/cdfi" target="_blank">www.cdfifund.gov/cdfi</a> and <a href="http://www.cdfifund.gov/native" target="_blank">www.cdfifund.gov/native</a>. </p><p><i>Amber Kuchar-Bell is the Program Manager of the CDFI Program and NACA Program.</i></p> </div>Amber Kuchar2017-07-06T18:00:00ZPrograms and Initiatives33GP0|#0760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1;L0|#00760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1|CDFI Program;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9;L0|#0c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9|Native Initiatives