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From climate change to the future CDFI workforce, the 2023 OFN Conference explored the most pressing issues facing our industry and communities. See the recap!
From October 15-18, more than 2,200 community development financial institution (CDFI) practitioners and partners gathered in Washington, D.C., to explore the ongoing work of CDFIs and other mission lenders across the country to invest capital with purpose in our communities.
OFN President and CEO Harold Pettigrew kicked off this year’s 39th annual OFN Conference with a reminder of our industry’s core purpose to finance justice and step up during times of crisis:
“We have proven that during our country’s greatest need, that we are financial first responders. Whether it was the Great Recession of 2008 or the Global Pandemic of 2020, as CDFIs, we made sure that our communities were not left behind.”
Pettigrew went on to emphasize how today’s greatest threat to all of us – climate change – harms the communities served by CDFIs most. He closed his opening remarks by issuing a call to action that 100% of CDFIs become climate lenders and make greenhouse gas reduction a primary focus of their work.
Selling out for the second consecutive year in the event’s 39-year history, this year’s annual conference was the largest ever, with attendees representing 438 CDFIs, 110 investors and funders, 10 government agencies, and 49 states.
The event also welcomed a whopping 860 first-time attendees, experiencing for the first time this energizing and action-packed week of learning, networking, and collaborating.
- 4 thought-provoking plenaries on topics including the role of CDFIs in climate justice, the future of the CDFI workforce, and personal stories from industry partners and clients discussing their “why” for investing with purpose
- 100+ expert-led breakout and networking sessions across 13 tracks featuring nearly 300 speakers
- 200 conference attendees heading to Capitol Hill for 80+ advocacy meetings with Members of Congress and their offices. Didn’t attend in person? Take action virtually!
- 5 interactive training workshops with more than 250 participants. Topics included climate lending, CDFI 101, CDFI certification, debt capital markets, and financial management. Access toolkits and stay tuned for future training!
- 7 CDFI-led tours highlighting impact across the Washington, D.C., region
- 50+ scholarships awarded for first-time attendees
- Presentation of the 2023 Native CDFI Awards to NACDC (Catalyst Award) and Hawaiian Lending & Investment (Seed Capital Award)
- Presentation of the 2023 Gramlich Award to the founders of ShoreBank, the nation’s first CDFI: Mary Houghton, Ron Grzywinski, Jim Fletcher, and Milton Davis
- Presentation of the 2023 Justice Award Grantee to Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Changing Perceptions
- Presentation of the 2023 Congressional Champion Awards to Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and Reps. Jason Smith (R-MO-8) and Maxine Waters (D-CA-43)
- First-ever “Under 30” reception geared toward young CDFI professionals
- Expo featuring more than 50 exhibitors with products and services to help CDFIs create even deeper impact
- 2023 OFN Board Election. Congrats to Aisha Benson (re-elected), Martina Edwards, and Ted Piccolo (re-elected)!
See the Recap
Visit the event recap page for plenary recordings, photos, breakout session materials, and more.
We also encourage you to share your insights and keep the #2023OFNConf conversation going on social media, CDFI Connect, and the OFN blog. If you’re interested in contributing a guest blog post to OFN focused on a session topic or other conference themes and insights, please contact OFN’s communications team.
Finally, stay tuned for more details about future OFN events and save the date for the 2024 OFN Conference — October 21-24 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live!
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