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September 2015 Learn. Join. Lead.

Celebrating What's NEXT in Consumer Financial Products and Services
OFN Conference is the Must Attend Event of 2015
Spotlight On: IFF
Public Policy News
In Other News


Celebrating What's NEXT in Consumer Financial Products and Services

NEXT Awards Congratulations to the 2015 NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance Awardees

Last week, the NEXT Awards announced the recipients of the 2015 Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance. The three NEXT Opportunity Award recipients and three Seed Capital Awardees were chosen for their commitment to delivering affordable, responsible loan products and services to under-resourced areas and for their determination to improve the financial health of the people they serve.

Congratulations to the 2015 NEXT Opportunity Award recipients:

Receiving NEXT Seed Capital Awards—$100,000 each in unrestricted grants—are Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation, Justine PETERSEN, and The Disability Opportunity Fund.

"The 2015 NEXT Awards represent an important milestone for the consumer financial services industry," says NEXT Selection Committee member Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), an expert in the consumer finance space and collaborator and advisor to the 2015 NEXT Awards. "By recognizing and investing in these game-changing CDFIs, OFN and its NEXT partners are not only helping to increase the availability of high-quality, responsible financial products and services for under—or unbanked American households, they're also solidifying the role CDFIs can play in combating predatory lenders who undermine the financial health and well-being of vulnerable individuals and communities across the U.S."

OFN presents the NEXT Awards in partnership with Wells Fargo and Prudential and support from the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

"At Prudential, we've always been dedicated to helping people build long term financial security, and our support for the NEXT Awards is an expression of that commitment," said Lata Reddy, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, Prudential Financial, Inc. "We're proud to invest in the winning CDFIs and applaud their efforts to expand access to critical, affordable financial products and services in underserved communities. These organizations are helping create new pathways to prosperity where they are needed the most."

Read the press release announcement and visit the NEXT Awards website.

NEXT Awards Partners

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OFN Conference is the Must Attend Event of 2015

Register Now for the 2015 OFN Conference

In fewer than two months, CDFI practitioners, funders, investors, and policymakers will gather in Detroit to share successes and insights at the OFN Annual Conference. Register today to join the more than 1,200 attendees participating in the high-quality curriculum, strategic dialogues, and incredible networking opportunities. Early bird registration ends September 30!

What to expect this year:
Detroit. This year, our host city itself is a Conference highlight. Whether it's your first time in Detroit or your tenth, take time to explore this amazing city.

  • Come a day early! Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts to see Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry mural. Experience the retail revival in Downtown and Midtown. Take the bridge to Windsor, Canada with passport in hand. Then come back for dinner at one of Detroit's many wonderful restaurants. When shopping and dining, make sure to visit an establishment a CDFI financed!
  • Register for a pre-Conference Detroit History seminar led by local historians or a Detroit Neighborhoods bus tour led by the Detroit Experience Factory.
  • During the Conference, attend Detroit-focused breakout sessions and get out into the neighborhoods on one of our many tours.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. We're pleased to offer a pre-Conference Advancing Equity Workshop for CDFIs on diversity, inclusion, and equity. Delivered by OFN's consultant, Race Matters Institute of JustPartners, Inc. (RMI), the day is designed to help move your equity work forward. Space is limited so register early!

Breakout Sessions. Choose from more than 70 breakout and networking sessions across 14 tracks, including Coverage; Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity; Financial Management; Financial Resources; Impact; and more!

Member Engagement. Make sure your CDFI is front and center at the Conference by submitting your Member Profile and participating in our Opportunity. Made in America. Photo & Story Contest. And join the conversation on social media with #OFNConf.

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Spotlight On: IFF

Spotlight Image

When a Save-A-Lot opened in August on the west side of Rockford, Illinois, the grocery store did more than eradicate a food desert that lasted 35 years in the Ellis Heights neighborhood. It provided 30 much-needed jobs for residents in the community. IFF and the city of Rockford partnered to finance the Save-A-Lot after participating in a discussion around HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. IFF also owns and financed the 15,000-square-foot store, which gives families access to fresh produce and meat. As part of a fresh food initiative, Save-A-Lot is working with the city and local groups to promote healthy eating habits. The $3 million Rockford project is one of six grocery stores being developed or financed by IFF through the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, a state initiative to increase access to fresh food in underserved communities. When completed, the six stores will comprise $36 million in total community investment.

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Public Policy News

OFN Attends Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference

OFN Attends Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference

This month, OFN sent a delegation to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation's 45th Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. This year marks the first time OFN has attended the CBC conference, and our participation is an important step in building the relationships and networks that will help support our Public Policy team's focus on racial equity in the opportunity finance industry.

More than 9,000 participants attended the conference, held September 17-19, including numerous policymakers, leading voices in media, business owners, community organizers, and civil rights leaders. Speakers from diverse backgrounds—from Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn and Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President Broderick Johnson to Marissa Lee, Managing Director of My Brother's Keeper Alliance, and Minority Business Development Agency Director Alejandra Castillo—participated in nearly 100 panel discussions and plenary sessions focused on the pressing issues facing African American communities. The most prominent attendee, however, was President Obama, who attended the CBC Gala and talked candidly about the importance of supporting and uplifting black women and providing full opportunity and equality for women and girls of color.

This year's conference theme, "With Liberty and Justice for All?", also focused on identifying solutions for addressing the critical challenges black communities face, such as access to capital, job creation, education, mass incarceration, and income inequality. Of particular interest to OFN attendees, the conference had a track session on "Business, Economic Development and Wealth Creation." Panels in this track were mostly led by members of Congress, and provided meaningful discourse on creating employment opportunities, eliminating the wealth gap, and breaking down barriers faced by African American small business owners. The conference's curriculum showed that CDFIs have an important role to play in ensuring that black business owners and black communities have access to, and control of capital. It also served as a call to action for those of us in attendance to further strengthen the role CDFIS have in providing tools and resources to meet the capital needs from communities of color.

OFN looks forward to continuing to engage with the CBC and other minority caucuses to address issues that impact communities of color, especially as they relate to access to capital. We look forward to attending the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Conference coming up next month, October 6–8, and will report back on our participation in next month's newsletter.

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In Other News

New Online Resources Enhance Consumer Finance Education Opportunities

This year, OFN held a series of consumer finance webinars to expand on the 2015 NEXT Awards theme of consumer financial services. The Consumer Financial Services Webinar Series, sponsored by NEXT Awards partner Prudential, featured four sessions on a range of topics including current trends in consumer financial behavior, lessons learned from piloting and scaling consumer financial products, the importance of reporting credit for CDFI borrowers, and a framework for building responsible small-dollar loan products. Recordings of each webinar are available on the NEXT Awards website.

Regional Meeting Recap

On Thursday, September 17 OFN hosted its Western Regional Conference at the University of California, San Francisco. In his President's Report, Mark Pinsky addressed the organization's continued push toward creating equity in the opportunity finance industry. CDFIs in attendance discussed the growing importance of Standard & Poor's ratings and how the industry has responded to changes in traditional bank and foundation investing.

"Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas" Webinars Announced

This week, the CDFI Fund released the schedule of the first five free webinars that will be provided as part of the Capacity Building Initiative's "Expanding CDFI Coverage in Underserved Areas" series. Provided by OFN on behalf of the CDFI Fund, the webinars will be held between October 2015 and January 2016. More details are available on the CDFI Fund website. Register now.

Who's Your Delegate?

In accordance with our by-laws, OFN asks all Members to identify a Voting Delegate in advance of the OFN Annual Conference. This person will be responsible for attending the Annual Membership Meeting and voting in the Board Elections during OFN Connect on November 11.

Register today for the Conference and check yes on the registration form if you're the Voting Delegate. Every Member CDFI should have a Voting Delegate—it's your way to help shape OFN's Board.

OFN staff will contact all Voting Delegates closer to the Conference with voting information and ballots. In the meantime, contact Emily Tunney with questions or concerns.

OFN Connect. Vote. November 11.

America After Charleston

This month Michelle Mapp, executive director of OFN Member South Carolina Community Loan Fund participated as a panelist in America After Charleston—a one-hour town hall meeting moderated by PBS Newshour's Gwen Ifill. Mapp shared insights on racism and inequities in America, while highlighting the work of CDFIs to address them. The town hall explored the many issues propelled into public discourse after a white gunman shot and killed nine African American parishioners in Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. At one point, Mapp poignantly spoke about the work CDFIs can do to affect change: "Our organization believes that we have to align capital with justice...and if we don't have conversations about how we are dealing with capital in this country we are never going to get past some of these racial issues, because we talk very differently about capital when we're talking about capital that’s being directed to primarily low-wage, whether its brown, black, or white people, and high-income folks in the U.S." South Carolina Community Loan Fund and other OFN Members and Allies are members of the South Carolina Community Capital Alliance. The Alliance is pursuing an important and innovative policy agenda to increase opportunities for people of color and low-income residents of the state.

Watch the full special here.

CDFI Connect Logo

Every day, CDFI Connect covers CDFI news across the country. With a readership that includes CDFIs, journalists, foundations, government agencies, and allies of the industry, it's an ideal platform for your organization's news.

To contribute your news, contact Lindsay Li, senior associate, Strategic Communications, OFN.

Here are some of the most-read headlines on CDFI Connect in the last month:

Follow us on Twitter (@cdfi_connect) for the latest updates or to submit your CDFI news. Sign up for the Daily Digest to get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

OFN's Job Bank

Are you looking for a job in the opportunity finance field or is your CDFI hiring? OFN's online Job Bank lists positions with CDFIs across the country—including vacancies at OFN, such as the Vice President, Equity. We encourage CDFIs to post their positions, and we urge job seekers to check the list regularly. Wherever you are, the OFN Job Bank helps CDFIs and talented professionals connect.

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ABOUT

Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) is the national network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)—private financial institutions that are 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.


CONTACT

Opportunity Finance Network
620 Chestnut Street, Suite 572 | Philadelphia, PA 19106
P 215.923.4754 | F 215.923.4755 | ofn.org


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ABOUT

Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) is the national network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)—private financial institutions that are 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.

CONTACT

Opportunity Finance Network
620 Chestnut Street, Suite 572
Philadelphia, PA 19106
P 215.923.4754
F 215.923.4755
ofn.org

CONNECT

facebook twitter
linkedIn vimeo
CDB-L Opportunities