News from CRF

July 31, 2017

Entrepreneurs can receive a grant of up to $5,000 through the Pathway to Success Small Business Grant Program

We're looking for Twin Cities-based small businesses that are making a lasting impact on their employees, customers, and neighbors.

Minneapolis, MN - (July 31, 2017) Twin Cities entrepreneurs have an opportunity to win one of three grants (one $5,000 grant and two $2,500 grants) for their small business by applying through the Pathway to Success Small Business Grant Program sponsored by the Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative. The funds for the program were made possible by the Wells Fargo Foundation.


A panel of three judges, all economic development practitioners, will be selecting the final grantees.

The Details
- To be eligible, a business must be a for-profit small business located within the city limits of Saint Paul or Minneapolis that has been in continuous operation selling a product or service for no less than one year and has an annual revenue of less than $200,000.
- Small business owners can fill out a simple form online or download the grant application and submit the completed application to lance@crfusa.com, by August 31, 2017, 11:59 pm Central time.
- The evaluation period is September 1 to October 22, 2017.
- Grantees will be announced on October 23, 2017, and will be notified by the contact information provided within the application.
- Grantees will be invited to attend an event hosted by the Pathway to Success Collaborative in late 2017.

Selection of Grantees
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- A clear, compelling, and engaging business story
- The ability and focus of the business to create positive community impact
- A strategic use of grant proceeds

About Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative
The Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative is made up of Wells Fargo, Saint Paul NAACP, and Connect2Capital with non-financial support provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Its mission is to support small business owners and connect them with organizations, systems, and processes that support small business development. The collaborative operates on the belief that sound information and development services are vital to business sustainability.

About Connect2Capital
Connect2Capital is an online small business lending platform, powered by Community Reinvestment Fund, USA. Connect2Capital was developed in response to the rapid growth of online lenders who offer quick and easy access to high-interest rate, short-term loans that are typically paid back by deducting a fixed amount or a percentage of sales directly from the borrower's bank account until the funds, fees, and interest are repaid. Connect2Capital provides small business loans ranging from $50,000 - $4 million. For more information, visit www.connect2capital.com.

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Posted by: CRFUSA

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March 17, 2017

CRF Says President Trump's Budget Will Harm Efforts to Bring Jobs, Economic Growth and Opportunity

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - March 17, 2017 - Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) President and CEO Frank Altman released the following statement in response to President Trump's proposed 2018 budget, which would all but eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, cutting $210 million in funding.

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is disappointed to learn that the President's Budget Blueprint recommends all but eliminating the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. This innovative agency offers a unique and effective set of tools - the New Markets Tax Credit, Bond Guarantee, and Financial and Technical Assistance programs - that our industry uses to rebuild distressed inner-city neighborhoods and rural communities.

This decision works against the President's agenda of bringing jobs, economic growth and opportunity to the communities and people he pledged to help in his campaign. In 2016 alone, CDFIs Fund awards supported the creation of tens of thousands of jobs, financed more than 11,000 businesses, and supported the creation of 33,000 affordable housing units.

Since 1988, CRF has delivered more than $2.2 billion in loans, investments and bonds, to finance small businesses, community facilities and affordable housing, to more than 900 communities across the country. This has meant more than 1.7 million lives improved, 2,600 small businesses helped, 19,000 affordable housing units preserved or created, and 79,000 jobs saved or created. Central to our success has been our ability to attract significant private sector capital by leveraging a small amount of CDFI fund resources. In fact, as an industry, CDFIs leverage twelve dollars in private sector capital for every dollar of federal support.

We will work with our CDFI partners and Congress to restore resources for this vital agency that empowers CRF, and other CDFIs, and allows us to attract and leverage private investor funds to finance borrowers lacking access to capital and restore hope in communities left out of the economic mainstream.

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About Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF develops products and services aimed at increasing the flow of capital to historically underinvested communities across the country. CRF has injected more than $2.2 billion to help stimulate job creation and economic development, provide affordable housing, and support community facilities.  For more information, visit www.crfusa.com.

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January 30, 2017

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA Announces Four New Board of Trustees Members

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - January 30, 2017 - Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), a Minneapolis-based non-profit, elected four new members to their Board of Trustees at the January 26, 2017 board meeting.

The staff and current board are pleased to welcome Janie Barrera, President & CEO, LiftFund; Eileen Fitzgerald, President, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future; Laura Trudeau, Board of Directors, Invest Detroit; and Luther M. Ragin, Jr, Board of Directors, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

"These four individuals bring a great deal of expertise, energy and commitment to the board," said Frank Altman, CRF's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are fortunate to have them in our corner as we take CRF to the next level and continue to grow our impact in communities across the country."

Janie Barrera

janieJanie Barrera is founding president and chief executive officer of Liftfund. Created in 1994, Liftfund has grown to hold the nation's largest microlending portfolio. The nonprofit agency provides small loans and management training to microenterprises of all kinds -- from startups to long-established businesses -- and operates in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

As president and CEO, Ms. Barrera is responsible for the organization's financial management, oversight of its annual budget and the development of methodology and loan delivery procedures. She has received recognition for her accomplishments, including the Small Business Administration Financial Services Advocate of the Year and the Minority Enterprise Development Consortium's Corporate Advocate of the Year. San Antonio Business Journal listed Ms. Barrera as one of "Twenty Defining Players: People Who Have Helped Shape the City," and also named her as one of 2013's "Legacy Leaders." Ms. Barrera has served on many national, state and local boards, including the Federal Reserve Board's National Consumer Advisory Council. President Barack Obama appointed Ms. Barrera to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability and she also was named to the board of directors for the Federal Reserve of Dallas' San Antonio Branch.

Ms. Barrera began her career as director of telecommunications for the Diocese of Corpus Christi in 1977. There, she helped found the area's first nonprofit radio stations, KLUX and KHOY, as well as two television production studios. After completing her MBA from the University of the Incarnate Word, the Corpus Christi native remained in San Antonio where, in 1989, she became marketing director for the U.S. Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base.

Eileen Fitzgerald 

EileenEileen Fitzgerald is the President and CEO of Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF).

In her role as President and CEO, Ms. Fitzgerald works to identify, develop and advocate for key strategic issues of concern to SAHF and its members, create a level playing field for effective, mission oriented nonprofit businesses and amplify SAHF's impact to create more sustainable properties and communities and  improve the lives of residents.

Ms. Fitzgerald has over 25 years of experience in housing and community development. Prior to joining SAHF in 2014, Ms. Fitzgerald served as CEO and COO of NeighborWorks America.  During her tenure, NeighborWorks became a leader in responding to foreclosures, initiating the highly successful National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program and partnering to create the National Community Stabilization Trust. She oversaw more than $1.5 billion in grants and emphasized the importance of a balanced housing policy, substantially growing the rental housing portfolio of the NeighborWorks' organizations.

Previously, Ms. Fitzgerald served at the Fannie Mae Foundation, as the Acting Executive Director and Vice President of Program Operations at the McAuley Institute, and as the Chief Investment Officer for Single Family at the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust. She also served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service as the Associate and Acting Administrator.

Ms. Fitzgerald is a graduate of Fordham University in New York and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Laura Trudeau

lauraLaura J. Trudeau recently retired from the Kresge Foundation where she served as senior advisor to the President.

Laura was previously managing director for Kresge's Detroit Program, leading the foundation's nine-point framework to reverse decades of disinvestment in Detroit and to reposition the city as a model for revitalization. She also worked with community development grantmakers and practitioners to identify promising initiatives for the redevelopment of older industrial cities and to build bridges between Detroit and other urban communities to encourage the sharing of information and strategies.

Laura joined Kresge as a program officer in 2001, initially working on the foundation's national facilities capital challenge grant program. She was instrumental in developing Kresge's Green Building initiative. Laura also has worked as a senior program officer and as a program director at the foundation.

From 1972 to 2001, Laura worked at what is now JPMorgan Chase in the trust office, commercial banking and public affairs. As vice president and regional head for philanthropy and community relations in the Midwest, she oversaw the bank's grantmaking activity in Detroit and surrounding areas.

A graduate of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., Laura is active in the nonprofit sector. She serves on the Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation's local advisory board and the Living Cities program committee.

Luther Ragin, Jr 

lutherLuther Ragin, Jr. recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of Global Impact Investing Network, a position he held since September 2011.

Prior to that, Ragin served as Vice President of Investments at The F.B. Heron Foundation in New York for over 10 years, where he was an impact investing pioneer, building a world-class institutional investment portfolio that demonstrates the ability to achieve consistently strong financial performance with substantial social impact through investments. He has also been a singularly effective advocate of impact investing among investment peers and a wider audience, including through his appointment as a William H. Bloomberg lecturer at Harvard University and as a Regular Commentator and Writer.

Ragin served as the Chief Financial Officer of the National Community Capital Association. He also served eight years as the Chief Financial Officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd. He served as seven years with Chase Manhattan Bank, including three years as Vice President of Syndications/Assets Sales at the North American Corporate Finance Sector. He has served at F.B. Heron Foundation, a national foundation with assets of about $300 million, since 1999. He has been Director at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors since January 8, 2015. He serves as a Director of Threshold Group, LLC and The ShoreBank Corporation. He serves as a Director of The Classical Theatre of Harlem, National Community Investment Fund and the Thembani International Guarantee Fund. He is a member of the board of directors of Social Finance U.S. and is an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Mr.

Ragin received a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and a Master's Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University, and is a Graduate of Columbia University's Executive Program in Business Administration.

About Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF)
Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF develops products and services aimed at increasing the flow of capital to historically underinvested communities across the country. CRF has injected more than $2.2 billion to help stimulate job creation and economic development, provide affordable housing, and support community facilities.  For more information, visit www.crfusa.com.

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Posted by: CRFUSA

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