On February 2, former President Bill Clinton joined leaders from across the CDFI, political, philanthropic, and corporate sectors to talk about how CDFIs and Minority Development Institutions (MDIs) can spur economic growth and promote economic equity in America. This conversation marked the third event in the Clinton Foundation series to address racial and economic disparities amid COVID-19 and featured speakers from several OFN member CDFIs, as well as New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Donna Gambrell, OFN board chair and CEO of Appalachian Community Capital in Virginia, helped kick off the event by discussing the important role CDFIs have played in providing capital and other financial support to small businesses and other residents in rural Appalachia during the pandemic, while also discussing critical needs like greater broadband access. Tawney Brunsch, executive director of OFN member Lakota Funds in South Dakota, followed by stressing CDFIs’ immense value in Native communities like Pine Ridge Reservation, as well as the need for significantly increased investment.
Following breakout sessions also led by leaders from OFN member CDFIs, President Clinton closed the event by announcing the Clinton Global Initiative’s new Action Network on Inclusive Economic Recovery. The network will continue bringing leaders together across sectors to work toward a stronger, more inclusive economy and will encourage progress through its Commitment to Action model. The Rockefeller Foundation and United Way of New York City have made the network’s first two commitments through new multi-million dollar investments in programs supporting communities of color.
Watch the full event recording.
President Clinton has been a longtime champion for CDFIs, signing the Riegle Community Development and Improvement Act in 1994 that established the CDFI Fund. In 2019, 25 years after the launch of the CDFI Fund, President Clinton shared a keynote address at the annual OFN Conference where he talked about his work advocating for equitable and inclusive community development investment and the way forward for CDFIs.