Message from CDFI Fund Director Jodie Harris

 

As we move into the latter half of 2022, I wanted to take a moment to provide a short update about the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s (CDFI Fund’s) programs and initiatives. We’ve announced a lot of big changes recently, from opening funding applications for the CDFI Equitable Recovery Program, which will provide $1.75 billion to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to respond to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, to announcing the next steps in our process to update CDFI Certification requirements. We also released a request for public comment on the creation of a new Minority Lending Institution (MLI) designation. Although no federal funding will be associated with an MLI designation at this time, the CDFI Fund seeks to implement the designation for those CDFIs that wish to be recognized for their high levels of service and accountability to Minority populations, as well as to identify barriers that such CDFIs experience in providing access to capital. If you’re interested in weighing in on this new designation, submit your written comments by November 25, 2022.

I know these programs and initiatives are of interest to a lot of CDFIs and community development practitioners that work with our programs. But they are by no means the only projects the CDFI Fund is currently working on. Over the coming months, you will have more opportunities to weigh in with comments on other CDFI Fund programs, including the Bank Enterprise Award Program (BEA Program), the Capital Magnet Fund, the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program), as well as Target Market verification processes for CDFI Certification.

We are also continuing our regular work administering funding application rounds for our programs, however, you should expect the timing of some of our application rounds to shift from what we have done in recent years. While the fiscal year (FY) 2022 CDFI Program and NACA Program Technical Assistance awards will be announced by the end of September 2022, we don’t anticipate announcing the Financial Assistance awards until early calendar year 2023. The next open application round for the CDFI Program and NACA Program will also be held later than usual, in Fall 2023, to allow us to conduct public feedback on those programs before we accept new applications. That application round will combine FY 2023 and FY 2024 funding for the CDFI Program and NACA Program, including the supplemental Persistent Poverty County-Financial Assistance, Healthy Food Financing Initiative-Financial Assistance, and Disability Funds-Financial Assistance awards. Similarly, rather than opening the FY 2022 application round of the BEA Program in Fall 2022, we will be accepting applications for a joint FY 2022 and FY 2023 BEA Program application round in Spring 2023.

These shifts will allow the CDFI Fund to complete important work for the administration of our programs, not the least of which is providing CDFIs and the public ample opportunity to submit feedback on ways our programs can be improved for the coming years. Shifting some of our annual application timelines will also reduce the program application rounds that will be affected by the six-month CDFI Certification and Target Market verification blackout period that begins on October 1, 2022.

At the CDFI Fund, our primary objective is to administer our programs effectively and transparently to best meet our mission to “expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities by supporting the growth and capacity of a national network of community development lenders, investors, and financial service providers.” The CDFI Fund is dedicated to finding the best solutions that allow us to be both responsible stewards of federal funding, as well as responsive to the evolving nature of the CDFI industry. We support all CDFIs, regardless of size, institution type, or geographic location. The steps we are taking over the next year will hopefully continue to improve our programs and processes so that we can best serve CDFIs and the underserved communities where they work well into the future.

If you would like to receive the latest information about our programs, including the upcoming opportunities to provide feedback to us, please subscribe to receive CDFI Fund updates. More information about all of our programs and initiatives can be found at www.cdfifund.gov.

 

Jodie Harris
CDFI Fund Director