From 2007-2017, the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance celebrated CDFI innovation and impact by investing more than $75 million in the nation’s most promising and innovative CDFIs.
The Awards program ended in 2016. Today, the collaboration among NEXT Awards partners—Wells Fargo, OFN, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Prudential Financial, and The Kresge Foundation—continues in the NEXT Fund for Innovation.
In its pilot year, this exciting new fund supports business models, products, platforms, or processes holding the ability to drive transformational change and scale in the CDFI industry. Through the NEXT Fund, OFN will provide flexible capital for up to three CDFIs in amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000.
Why Flexible, Patient Capital?
CDFIs need “innovation” capital to achieve the 10x influence in markets and communities our industry serves. Our experience with the NEXT Awards, as well as recent landmark OFN research on CDFIs’ evolving capitalization needs, shows truly innovative change might best be funded through patient capital rather than current pay debt capital. Grant capital is the most patient, but it’s limited in supply, so our industry must attract new sources of capital and create new sustainable business models for growth.
The NEXT Fund is designed to provide a new source of patient, flexible capital for CDFI innovations in, for example, technology platforms, organizational structures and capitalization, real estate investment, new financing products, and more.
Qualifications and to Apply
We encourage all qualified CDFIs to apply—loans funds, credit unions, venture capital funds, banks, non-OFN Members, and past NEXT Award winners. Read the full application qualifications and guidelines here. Investees can be subsidiaries or affiliates of CDFIs.
Applications open on February 2, 2017 and will be accepted on a rolling basis through June 30, 2017. CDFIs must submit applications electronically. We will not accept hard copy documents. Apply here.
Or reach out to a member of OFN’s NEXT Fund team: