From February 28 to March 1, the CDFI Coalition will hold its 2017 CDFI Institute in Washington, D.C. The Institute, always a draw for all types of CDFIs who are interested in policy and advocating for the CDFI Industry, features speakers such as CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan.
John Holdsclaw, Senior Vice President for National Cooperative Bank—an OFN Ally—and Matt Josephs, Senior Vice President, Policy for LISC—an OFN Member—both serve on the CDFI Coalition Board of Directors and are members of the Institute Planning Committee. In conjunction with CDFI Coalition staff, they have worked to ensure that the event’s lineup of presentations and opportunities to connect with Capitol Hill continues to be robust and provides attendees with timely information. As Matt says, “one of the primary objectives of the Institute is to provide an opportunity to advocate for the CDFI Fund – both for its protection and expansion of programs that are critical to CDFIs and community development practitioners.”
A key feature of this year’s event is the environment of DC itself, “First and foremost, with a new administration and new leaders in Congress, I can't think of a more important year for CDFIs and like-minded organizations to show themselves in DC and on Capitol Hill,” shares John. “We all have to work to educate and then advocate on behalf of the industry.”
While this event is always held in Washington, D.C. as the Administration and Members of Congress are beginning their federal appropriations work, this year is unique in that both the FY17 and FY18 budgets are under consideration. As OFN has also stressed, it is a critical time for CDFIs to be in DC and making their presence known to their policymakers.
The CUNA Government Affairs Conference, including a CDFI Roundtable, is happening concurrently with the Institute. This provides a unique opportunity, as John explains, to partner with CDFI credit unions attending that event. “We’d like to bring some synergy between both gatherings,” says John.
The Institute also provides ample time to meet with policymakers. “As a coalition we offer contact information and packets of information that will help them in these efforts,” Matt shares.
On the sessions, John says “I am excited about the opportunity to show the diversity of the CDFI industry. We worked hard to ensure that panelists reflect this diversity. I think it is important for everyone to be heard.”
Here are few highlights from the agenda: Attendees will have the opportunity to hear directly from CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan and senior CDFI Fund staff on newly released data from their 2016 fiscal report, as well as insight on guidance, regulations and other issues that are percolating. In addition, the Coalition has invited senior staff from other federal agencies to discuss resources for CDFIs, including representatives from USDA, SBA, HHS and FHFA. In addition, panels will discuss private sector sources of
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