Recently, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced the largest number of awards ever in the history of the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program). The fiscal year (FY) 2020 CDFI Program and NACA Program awards reached 397 organizations in total—40 more than the number of organizations that received FY 2019 awards.
The total number of organizations that received awards wasn't the only impressive statistic this year, however. The awards also included 91 organizations that were first-time awardees.
In total, the 397 Award Recipients received $204.1 million in CDFI Program and NACA Program Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards, including Healthy Food Financing Initiative-Financial Assistance (HFFI-FA) awards, Disability Funds-Financial Assistance (DF-FA) awards, and Persistent Poverty County-Financial Assistance (PPC-FA) awards.
The awards also touched on several priorities for the programs:
Serving areas of Persistent Poverty: The Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2020 required that 10% 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% 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 2020 CDFI Program and NACA Program award round, 30% of the awardees – 117 CDFIs – committed to serving PPCs. These CDFIs received $20.1 million in PPC-FA awards specifically for investments in PPCs.
Geographic representation: Beyond areas of persistent poverty, the FY 2020 CDFI Program and NACA Program awards will reach a wide variety of low-income communities across the United States. The awardees will serve rural, major urban, and minor urban target markets. In particular, 30% of the Award Recipients will serve rural counties.
Table 1: Primary Geographic Markets Served
Institutional proportionality: CDFIs can be various types of financial institutions, from banks or credit unions to loan funds or venture capital funds. The application review process for the CDFI Program and NACA Program is designed for a neutral review of the applications regardless of institution type. As a result, the percentage of organizations that received awards by institution type is similar to the percentage of institution types that applied.
Table 2: Financial Institution Types that Received CDFI Program and NACA Program Awards vs. Applied
During a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much hardship and difficulty across the country, the large number of awarded organizations and first-time awards means that the resources of these programs are reaching many hard-hit communities in the United States.
As the country still faces difficult economic questions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDFI Fund understands that some Award Recipients may need to adjust their performance requirements for their awards. The CDFI Fund has provided updated guidance about eligible and non-eligible amendment requests, and how to ask for one, on its website. Award Recipients should direct any questions to the CDFI Program and NACA Program team via an AMIS Service Request.
Amber Kuchar-Bell is the Program Manager for the CDFI Program and the CDFI Fund's Native Initiatives