This week, new details about President Trump's FY18 budget have emerged. An article published by the New York Times reported that under President Trump's budget proposal funding for the CDFI Fund "would be all but eliminated." The president's commitment to increase defense spending by $54 billion will need to be offset by cuts in nonmilitary spending programs by the same amount. As a result, the CDFI Fund is one of many federal programs that will see its budget either drastically cut or zeroed out.
Now is the time to bolster our industry's engagement with Congress to preserve funding for the CDFI Fund. While this is not the first time nor the last time that funding for the CDFI Fund will be in jeopardy, we must keep the momentum of our advocacy efforts going, and leave nothing to chance. We need every voice, every CDFI, borrower, partner, and opportunity finance champion to commit to reaching out to members of Congress.
In anticipation of potential cuts in the Administration's FY18 budget proposal, OFN launched #CDFIsInvest, an industry-wide social media and advocacy campaign to inform members of Congress about the CDFI industry, the impact CDFIs have in communities nationwide, and our industry's request to preserve funding for the CDFI Fund at $250 million. We need the enthusiasm and commitment our network has shown the past couple of weeks with the #CDFIsInvest campaign to continue yearlong. That is why each month, OFN will be providing you with action items to help continue the momentum of our advocacy efforts to protect funding for the CDFI Fund.
Here is a list of actions you can take to help protect the CDFI Fund Today:
- Schedule a Congressional on-site visit. Your members of Congress must be familiar with your work and know your borrowers. The next congressional recess is April 10-21. OFN can help you schedule an on-site visit and provide you with advocacy tools. Please contact Jennifer Vasiloff once you have scheduled an on-site visit or if you need any assistance.
- Submit your loan data for inclusion on the CDFI Coverage Map. OFN and our Members use the map to highlight lending by all CDFIs in Congressional districts and states. If you are not on the map, members of Congress will not know about the impact you have in their communities. Contact Chris Bell to submit your data or if you have any questions.
- Use the power of social media with Congress. The #CDFIsInvest campaign is now in week three, and as we lift up the stories of your borrowers we ask you to get your borrowers on board with a simple message: “#CDFIsInvest in Me” Access our campaign toolkit to see resources for your CDFI as well as your borrowers, or contact Lindsay Li.
- Sign-up for OFN's Advocacy Day, May 16-17. Join us in Washington D.C. to make the case directly to Congress to fund the CDFI Fund in FY18. This event is open to OFN Members and OFN CDFI allies at no cost.
All of us share a common mission of ensuring access to capital for those communities that need capital the most. Join me and the rest of the CDFI industry in amplifying the message to Congress that #CDFIsInvest in America and therefore it is paramount that funding for the CDFI Fund be preserved in FY18.