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Ideas to ACTION

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Click the photo above to view a slideshow from the luncheon.

A recent report from the Center for an Urban Future outlined several ways that business and policy leaders could “expand the reach of … Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).”

That’s why the NYS CDFI Coalition convened a conversation with a dozen community banks. We invited Coalition Board members and CRA officers to put their heads together to build our collective capacity to help communities that need it most – and to put those ideas into action.

The luncheon was hosted by Charlie Hammerman, President and CEO of the Disability Opportunity Fund. Joan Bartolomeo, Director of Community Development, Vice President, Signature Bank provided welcoming remarks, and Melanie Stern, Community Reinvestment Act Officer and Director, Consumer Lending, Spring Bank, provided context around how the CUF report led to the meeting.

CDFI leaders shared their success stories, but also talked about unmet needs. Discussion topics included Capacity Building, Addressing CDFI Deserts, Formalizing a Second-Look Program, and helping CDFIs with Marketing. We also talked about the creation of a Scholarship Fund for staff training and professional development, and building programs aimed at Upskilling a Diverse Staff.

The meeting was just the beginning of a dialog about creative ways to support CDFIs – in addition to low-cost capital.

As CDFIs are increasingly recognized, locally and nationally, as the entities most likely to serve marginalized communities and LMI borrowers, this is a timely and important conversation. We look forward to continuing the effort to generate ideas that lead to action.

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