Native CDFIs Receive $47.5 Million Capital Infusion Through CDFI Fund’s Equitable Recovery Program

Last week, the Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund announced awards totaling $1.7 billion to more than 600 Treasury-certified CDFIs through its Equitable Recovery Program (ERP), the largest grant program in the agency’s history. The long-awaited announcement included welcome news for Indian Country, as 29 Native CDFIs received awards totaling $47.5 million (a figure constituting just under three percent of the ERP funding total).

Despite concerns Native CDFIs have over looming certifications changes, NCN CEO Pete Upton applauded efforts by Treasury’s to meet significant economic needs across Indian Country.

“I know at times people get frustrated, but I do think Treasury has done an exceptional job in terms of getting all the money out of the door,” Upton said. “I have to give them credit for all of the programs they have rolled out.”

Upton said the awards were a reminder for NCN members to stay active in the application process. “The ERP awards are a sign for Native CDFIs to take advantage of the numerous awards offered through the CDFI Fund. In the grand scheme of things, there are so many opportunities out there for Native CDFIs to compete for, whether it’s this ERP fund or others. I think the message to Native CDFIs is that you need to be active and competitive in applying for funds.”

Eight of the 29 Native CDFIs received the lowest award amount of $500,000. Meanwhile, 12 other Native CDFIs received at least $1.5 million with the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation and Native American Bank each receiving the highest amount among Native CDFIs at $4.96 million.

In her announcement, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said “These grant funds will be transformative for grantees that are building a more equitable, resilient economy, along with helping sustain our strong economic recovery. These critical resources will allow mission-driven lenders to expand access to capital in financially underserved communities, which will help increase contributions to long-term economic growth.”

The ERP represents the latest in a series of landmark investments in community development finance related to COVID-19 economic recovery through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Native CDFIs applications to the ERP program were bolstered last year by NCN and Native CDFIs’ advocacy regarding the ERP program guidelines, specifically the need to expand the program’s Eligible Geographies to include Native CDFI service counties and service areas that transcend tribal land boundaries.

To learn more about the CDFI ERP awards, please click here. To see a full list of ERP grant awardees, click here.

MEMBERS: Still Time to Register for Tomorrow’s Commercial Solar Finance Training Series
April 18, 2023 at 2 p.m. ET

Native CDFI Network members are invited to register to attend the second part of training series on Tuesday, April 18th at 2 p.m. ET.

The program has been developed by the Inclusiv Center for Resiliency and Clean Energy and the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy Center for Impact Finance, and is available to you free of charge with major funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.

Solar industry veteran Clay Mitchel of Ashville, NC, will lead the webinar with participation from representatives of GRID Alternatives, a national nonprofit that installs solar power systems and conducts job training in underserved communities.

CDFIs can help to bring solar energy to communities through a variety of project finance strategies – including community solar, commercial and multifamily project finance, municipal and other public projects, and financing for installers who offer solar leasing or power purchase agreements to end users.

Only a Few Spots Remain in the 2023 NCN Institute Training Series! 

Native CDFI Leaders: NCN shares your goal of helping Native people and communities thrive. The NCN Institute Training Series is an interactive collection of workshops for Native CDFI leaders and team members who wish to sharpen their skills and strategies. The 2023 series of skill-building workshops was developed based on feedback from our Annual Members Survey that let us know what skill sets Native CDFI Leaders need and want.

Sign up now for the few remaining spots available in the training series. If the training session you want is sold out, please contact NCN’s National Program Director, Kristen Wagner, at [email protected] to reserve a spot on the waitlist.

Click here to view the full training schedule and register today!

NCN Live: Members-Only Webinar to Provide Input on Revised CDFI Fund FA/TA Applications
May 2, 2023 at 2 p.m. ET

NCN LIVE: A series of conversations with industry experts and policymakers designed to expand the power of Native CDFIs to grow economic opportunity for Native peoples.

Join us on May 2nd at 2 p.m. as NCN hosts a conversation with Lisa Wagner of Bluestem Consulting regarding the CDFI Fund’s request for public comment on the newly revised FY 2023-2025 Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance Applications.

A few examples of key input the CDFI Fund is looking for include:

  • Should the CDFI Fund use a CDFI’s net asset ratio to demonstrate that it is effectively leveraging resources? If yes, what should the target net asset ratio be?
  • Should the CDFI Fund consider eliminating the Sponsoring Entity model?
  • Should the CDFI Fund adjust its FA Application to better collect information and evaluate an Applicant’s ability to serve the unique needs of Native Communities?

The CDFI Fund is contemplating adding “Deep Impact Lending” going forward as a potential new PG & M requirement (Deep Impact means financing activities that reach the hardest to serve borrowers and communities). What definitions/metrics should be used to qualify as “Deep Impact” lending?
And many more potentially impactful changes.

We want to hear from you regarding these and other questions offered by the CDFI Fund. Check out the full request for public comment here.

Register here for this webinar from 2-3 p.m. ET on May 2, 2023.
Other Industry News: 

Montana Native Growth Fund Seeking Grant and Contracts Manager

Island Mountain Community Development Financial Institution doing business as Montana Native Growth Fund (MNGF) was established as a 501(c)(3) organization in May 2020, to directly confront the issue of high rates of unemployment, dependence on public assistance, and limited housing availability in our community.

Most importantly, we honor our cultural values while taking a holistic approach to the economic need to encourage community members to utilize the organization’s outreach projects and strategies. MNGFs mission is to promote sustainable Tribal homeownership, building opportunities to improve the economic outlook for Native Americans by offering access to credit and capital blended with culturally empowered education.

The Grants & Contracts Manager will oversee the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) incoming grant awards, contracting, reporting, and oversee program budgets and financial health of grants/contracts.

To learn more or apply, click here.

Bank of America “Driving Impact” Webinar
April 20, 2023 at 2 p.m. ET

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Driving Impact Webinar Series gives non-profit leaders the power to drive impact in the community by connecting them to tools, resources, and expertise, and focusing on topics such as leadership development, non-profit sustainability, industry trends and innovative approaches to economic mobility.

On April 20, Bank of America executives will discuss the intersectionality between financial and emotional wellness. Information will also be provided about learning offerings that are available to you and members of your community through The Academy at Bank of America.

  • During the session you will learn more about:
    How financial wellness impacts your emotional health and ways to improve it through programs like Better Money Habits®
    The science-backed connection between well-being and performance
    Small steps to fight stress, fatigue, and burnout
    Programs available to support the needs of your community

Registration will be accepted up until Wednesday, April 19. Click here to register.

North and South Dakota Bankers Roundtable: Supporting Native American Homeownership Webinar
May 4, 2023 from 11-11:30 a.m. ET

This event will highlight how banks in North and South Dakota can leverage federally administered loan guarantees and programs through the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to increase Native American homeownership.

Experts from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Fannie Mae will discuss their programs and how financial institutions can become lenders or provide referrals.

Who should attend?

Financial institutions in North and South Dakota, organizations in the Dakotas that directly support homeownership opportunities for Native American communities and other stakeholders interested in promoting homeownership and economic inclusion in Native American communities.

Click here to register.

Native American Agriculture Fund Announces Open Application for $11 Million

The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) announced its fifth year of grantmaking and is opening a pool of $11 million starting on April 1, 2023, and closing on June 1, 2023.

NAAF will also host a series of webinars to support the General and Youth Grant application process on the following five (5) dates. Each webinar will start with a one-hour overview of the application process and then transition to a question-and-answer period. All webinar recordings will be posted and archived on the NAAF website.

The dates for each webinar are found below and registration is required to participate. The webinars will offer technical assistance to applicants and provide clarification concerning applicant eligibility or focus areas for applications during this grant cycle.
General Webinars – Register Here
·         Thursday, April 27, 2023, 2:00 – 4 p.m. CT
·         Thursday, May 11, 2023, 2:00 – 4 p.m. CT
·         Thursday, May 25, 2023, 2:00 – 4 p.m. CT
Youth Webinar – Register Here
·         Thursday, April 20, 2023, 2:00 – 4 p.m. CT