On May 10, 2023, a meeting was held by the U.S. Treasury on climate-focused community finance. Pete Upton, the CEO of the Native CDFI Network, attended the meeting along with various government officials and experts in the field.

The meeting commenced with networking opportunities followed by welcome remarks delivered by notable figures including Deputy Assistant Secretary Noel Poyo from the U.S. Treasury Office of Community and Economic Development, Ali Zaidi, White House National Climate Advisor, and Graham Steele, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Office of Financial Institutions.

In addition, Acting Director Marcia Sigal from the CDFI Fund delivered a welcome message, highlighting the importance of community finance in tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development.

The first plenary session, titled “IRA Climate-Focused Resources for Community Finance,” featured a panel of experts. Deputy Assistant Secretary Seth Hanlon and Chief IRA Implementation Officer Laurel Blatchford from the Treasury Office of Tax Policy were present, along with Deputy Assistant Secretary Ethan Handelman from the HUD Office of Multifamily Housing, and Dr. Taresa Lawrence, Director of State, Local, and Tribal Policy at the Department of Energy. The second plenary session welcomed Jahi Wise, Acting Director for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who discussed the EPA’s initiatives and efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Three breakout sessions were held, each addressing different aspects of climate-focused community finance. The sessions included “Building an Ecosystem for Climate-Focused Community Finance,” “Best Practices in Deploying Renewable Energy in Underserved Communities,” and “Developing Data and Benchmarks for Climate-Focused Community Investments.” These sessions aimed to facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration, and the development of practical strategies and solutions.

Throughout the meeting, attendees had the opportunity to exchange ideas, share experiences, and gain insights from government officials, experts, and peers. The discussions revolved around leveraging financial resources, implementing sustainable practices, and fostering community resilience in the face of climate change.

Overall, the U.S. Treasury Convening on Climate-Focused Community Finance provided a platform for stakeholders to come together, explore innovative approaches, and strengthen partnerships to advance climate resilience and sustainable development in communities. Pete Upton, as CEO of Native CDFI Network, actively participated in these discussions, contributing insights from the perspective of Indigenous communities and their unique financial needs.