Advocating on behalf of the CDFI industry with your local policymakers is not just about showing how critical our work is to their community through Hill visits, it is also about building on their awareness when they are home and in the communities you serve. The relationship that formed between Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) and Representative Scott Tipton (CO-3) is a great example of how a sustained effort of advocacy, lobbying and site visits can produce real results.
On Wednesday, April 25 during the FY 2019 Financial Services Member Day Rep. Tipton testified before the Financial Services and General Government on behalf of CDFIs. “The CDFI Fund plays a unique role in generating economic growth across the United States, and especially in my district in Colorado," Tipton said. "By fostering and creating and expanding capacities of community-based financial institutions…the CDFI Fund builds businesses, creates jobs, and revitalizes neighborhoods.”
He continued, “One CDFI backed institution in Fort Garland, CO (which is in my district) was able to finance a small grocery store in town. While this may not seem like much to many of us, the presence of a grocery store can make a huge difference in a rural town. Because the CDFI was able to use the funds HFFI the small rural community now has access to fresh healthy foods.”
The grocery store Tipton refers to is the same one CEF invited him to visit in August 2017.
Here’s a closer look at the relationship that CEF and OFN developed with Tipton over the last year which resulted in his positive testimony:
- August 2017- CEF hosts Rep. Tipton for a site visit at a local grocery store in Ft. Garland, CO. You can read the CDFI Spotlight on the congressional visit here.
- February 2017- OFN submits an official FY 2019 CDFI Fund appropriations request to the office.
- March 2018- Rep. Tipton sends an appropriations request to Chairman Graves asking for continued support for the CDFI Fund
- April 2018- Rep. Tipton’s staff alerts OFN that Rep. Tipton hopes to speak at the 4/25 House FSGG Member’s Day Hearing in support of CDFI Fund.
- April 2018- OFN coordinates with Anne Misak at CEF to submit impact data on loans in CO-3 to Rep. Tipton’s staffer prior to hearing.
Near the end of this meeting, Chairman Graves expressed his appreciation of Tipton’s testimony of the CDFI Fund and said (at 21:28), "Of all the appropriations requests submitted to the FSGG subcommittee, the CDFI Fund was the program with the highest number of member requests from BOTH Democrats and Republicans. CDFI Fund requests [comprised] 14% of [total] requests submitted."
We continue to cultivate these relationships even when the individual becomes an advocate for CDFIs, and recently sent a thank you to Rep. Tipton for his testimony and support.
Visit our Policy Action Center to learn about ways you can get involved in expanding your advocacy efforts in your district.