Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance


In an increasingly challenging economic environment, CDFIs are needed to ensure that affordable and responsible financial products and services are available in underserved communities. The NEXT Awards recognized the NEXT generation of CDFIs working toward expanding coverage in all 50 states.

NEXT Awards Logo

From 2007-2017, the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance celebrated CDFI innovation and impact by awarding a total of more than $76 million to 24 pioneering Opportunity Award CDFIs.

In partnership with Opportunity Finance Network, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Prudential Financial, and The Kresge Foundation, the NEXT Awards have helped shine a national spotlight on more than 50 CDFIs for their innovative strategies to expand affordable housing, consumer financial services, community-based health care, and small businesses. In 2017, a collaboration among NEXT Awards partners—Wells Fargo, OFN, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Prudential Financial, and The Kresge Foundation—continued the mission of the Awards program with the NEXT Fund for Innovation. Through the NEXT Fund, OFN provided flexible capital for CDFIs in amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000.

Why Flexible, Patient Capital?

CDFIs need “innovation” capital to achieve the 10x influence in markets and communities our industry serves. OFN’s experience with the NEXT Awards and landmark OFN research on the evolving capitalization needs of CDFIs showed truly innovative change could best be funded through patient capital rather than current pay debt capital.

Grant capital is the most patient, but it’s limited in supply, so our industry must attract new sources of capital and create new sustainable business models for growth.

The NEXT Fund was designed to provide a new source of patient, flexible capital for CDFI innovations in, for example, technology platforms, organizational structures and capitalization, real estate investment, new financing products, and more.


The following is a complete list of NEXT Awards awardees from 2017 to 2007.

Building Hope

Washington, DC | Awarded $1,000,000


Brunswick, ME | Awarded $1,500,000

Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA)

Minneapolis, MN | Awarded $1,000,000


Concord, NH | Awarded $1,000,000

Reinvestment Fund

Philadelphia, PA | Awarded $500,000

Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU)

NEXT Opportunity Award $2 Million Awardee

In some areas of central Appalachia, residents have to travel more than 45 minutes to reach a bank branch. With just 90 people per square mile, one third of what you’d find in major metropolitan areas, mainstream banks have closed up shop.

Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU), a CDFI headquartered in Gray, Tennessee, is helping to fill this financial void.

Rio Grande Valley Multibank (RGVMB)

NEXT Opportunity Award $1.6 million Awardee

Texas is one of the poorest states in the country; business is booming for predatory lenders. Payday, car title, and other high-cost, unscrupulous financing services make up a $6 billion-a-year industry that strips $1.5 billion in interest and fees from local economies. For consumers, the loans offer immediate financing when needed, but often trap borrowers in a cycle of debt.

Lower Valley Credit Union

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

Lower Valley Credit Union will use seed funds, along with strategic partnerships, to place Virtual Teller Machines in rural immigrant communities in Washington where residents have limited access to traditional bank branches. The 2,100 agricultural laborers who are employed at Broetje Orchards during peak fall harvest season will now have easy, local access to credit union services such as ITIN mortgage and consumer loans, and LVCU’s nationally acclaimed Citizenship Program.

Texas Community Capital

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

Texas Community Capital is the network administrator of Rio Grande Multibank Corporation’s innovative Community Loan Center Small-Dollar Loan Program. Seed capital will allow Texas Community Capital to expand the employer-based loan program to borrowers needing access to credit as an alternative to high-cost payday and auto title loans by signing on and providing support to new mission-based franchisees in and outside of Texas.

The Housing Fund

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

The Housing Fund is establishing home loan solutions for immigrant communities, seeking affordable and ethical housing financing in Tennessee. The Nashville and Middle Tennessee area is home to over 80,000 Kurds, Egyptians and Somalis, as well as many Sudanese and Hispanics. The Housing Fund is working closely with representatives of the local community and local bankers to implement the Alternative Payment Plan mortgage loan product in compliance with cultural norms and ethical financing.

Sunrise Banks

NEXT Opportunity Award $2.2 MM Awardee

Brittany Moore’s mornings are timed with precision. After a lively early morning scramble to leave the house, she drops her young daughter at day care before making the long drive to work. When Brittany’s car broke down, she couldn’t afford to wait to fix it—but she also needed help financing repairs. Luckily, her employer offered Sunrise Banks’ TrueConnect, an affordable short-term, small-dollar loan.

Freedom First Federal Credit Union (FFFCU)

NEXT Opportunity Award $1.725 MM Awardee

The decline of southwestern Virginia’s once booming farm and coal industries brought high rates of poverty and unemployment to the region. Today, well-paying, steady jobs are hard to find and often require training to get ahead. Trucking is one of the few thriving exceptions. Nationwide, there is a shortage of drivers, and, in the Roanoke area, men and women from all walks of life come to CDS Tractor Trailer Training to prepare for the open road.

Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union

NEXT Opportunity Award $1.725MM Awardee

“I was walking down Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard one day and had in mind to open a bank account. I saw Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union and became a member,” says Steward Mitchell, a Harlem resident at the time. That was 2010, and he says, ever since, “It’s been very good to me. I’ve opened a checking and savings account, and the credit union’s financial counseling and planning programs helped me start a budget and a plan. They’re great people; they really care.”

Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC)

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

CPCDC will use the NEXT Seed grant to expand its Employee Loan in CPN and among other tribal communities, and to launch a home improvement loan and a storm shelter loan for tornado-prone areas.


NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

Justine PETERSEN is creating opportunities for consumers to access affordable consumer credit and improve financial health by expanding two loan products—a credit building product and a small dollar loan product—into new geographies.

Disability Opportunity Fund (DOF)

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

DOF is marking the 25th anniversary in 2015 of the Americans with Disabilities Act by supporting implementation and rapid adoption of the new ABLE account (Achieving a Better Life Experience).

2014 Awardees

Rural Community Assistance Corporation

NEXT Opportunity Award $2MM Awardee

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) is tackling the affordable housing crisis in the rural western U.S., an area many others have left behind. As the primary CDFI working in the rural west, it is witness to the effects dwindling government resources and geographic isolation have on low-income communities. People are often desperate for economic opportunities and safe, affordable places to live, but local organizations lack the resources to cultivate growing and thriving communities.

New Jersey Community Capital

NEXT Opportunity Award $2.25MM Awardee

After a decade-long foreclosure crisis, the U.S. housing recovery is finally underway. However, in places like New Jersey—which now leads the nation in foreclosures—many low- and moderate-income communities continue to struggle with family displacement and housing abandonment. New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), a CDFI that’s worked to transform the state’s most underserved urban areas for nearly 30 years, has developed a unique approach to tackling this crisis.

Florida Community Loan Fund

NEXT Opportunity Award $4MM Awardee

For low-income Floridians, finding a safe, affordable place to rent is almost impossible. Between 2008 and 2012, Florida lost 14,612 affordable housing units. Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) seeks to reverse that trend with its Florida Preservation Fund.

Impact Seven

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

Impact Seven, an Almena, WI-based CDFI, received this year’s $100,000 NEXT Seed Capital Award for its strategy to preserve affordable housing for very low-income individuals and families in rural Wisconsin.

2013 Awardees

Housing Partnership Network

NEXT Opportunity Award $2.5 MM Awardee

Across the country, as the demand for rental housing increases, the amount of money available for the preservation of affordable housing is shrinking. Real estate developers are buying up unsubsidized affordable housing with the aim of taking it out of the affordable stock and increasing the rents. In the process, low-income families who live there are being displaced. HPN, a Boston-based business collaborative of 100 of the nation’s premier housing and community development nonprofits, is helping preserve housing for low-income people by giving nonprofit affordable housing developers a chance to compete for the purchase of properties using a financing model long employed in the private sector.

Capital Impact Partners

NEXT Opportunity Award $2.75 MM Awardee

Detroit faces tough odds. Since 2000, the city has experienced a drastic drop in population. Thousands of abandoned homes and vacant lots create a desolate urban landscape in an area where the average home value is well below the state’s average. And residents, disproportionately low-to-moderate income, confront a 20% unemployment rate. Yet in this seemingly hopeless situation, Capital Impact sees tremendous opportunity, and it is working to revitalize the city that at one time embodied the American dream.

Opportunity Fund

NEXT Opportunity Award $3 MM Awardee

Small businesses need capital to grow, but in many low-income communities financing is hard to come by and entrepreneurs struggle to achieve their dreams. Opportunity Fund believes everyone, regardless of economic background, deserves a chance to succeed. California’s leading microfinance provider has developed a loan product—EasyPay—that’s putting capital in the reach of small business owners in even the most underserved communities.

Freedom First Federal Credit Union

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

Virginia-based Freedom First Federal Credit Union is the recipient of the 2013 Seed Capital Award for its American Dreamer Loan product. The American Dreamer Loan product offers affordable, responsible financing to help Roanoke-area refugees, as well as immigrants who are legal permanent residents, apply for citizenship.

2012 Awardees

Clearinghouse CDFI

NEXT Opportunity Award $2 MM Awardee

Based in California and expanding into Nevada, Clearinghouse CDFI finances affordable housing, nonprofit organizations, and community redevelopment projects. Clearinghouse CDFI received the Award for its expansion into Nevada, a state that faces severe credit constraints and suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates, and single-family foreclosure rates in the U.S. Clearinghouse plans through expanding into Nevada to create approximately 100 jobs per year, produce 700 affordable housing units and serve 40,000 low-income individuals in Nevada over a three-year period

Corporation For Supportive Housing

NEXT Opportunity Award $2 MM Awardee

Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) provides financing and related services to help communities transform how they address homelessness and improve the lives of very vulnerable people. Corporation for Supportive Housing received the Award for its plan to increase the development of supportive housing across the country. CSH plans to expand into an additional 10 large, underserved markets, adding 11,500 new housing units and providing a replicable model for other CDFIs.

Opportunity Fund

NEXT Seed Capital Award $100,000 Awardee

Opportunity Fund is California’s largest non-profit microlender supporting small businesses and is one of the largest microlenders in the nation. It has made more than 2,370 small business loans totaling more than $25.8 million. Opportunity Fund created and test-marketed their innovative EasyPay loan product with 30 small businesses in Greater Los Angeles. It will use the NEXT Seed Capital Award to expand the program to the San Francisco Bay Area, and throughout California.

Primary Care Development Corporation

NEXT Opportunity Award $4.25 MM Awardee

The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) provides affordable capital and technical assistance to community healthcare organizations, and shapes public policies that invest in primary care to strengthen and expand primary care in distressed markets. PCDC plans to expand its capital investment beyond New York State to underserved areas across the U.S. With the award, PCDC plans to create 190 construction jobs, 285 permanent jobs, and expand patient capacity by 175,000 visits over three years.

2011 Awardees

Coastal Enterprises Inc.
$5.5 Million Awardee

For more than three decades, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., (CEI) has pioneered new ways to create economic opportunity in rural communities. Founded in 1977, CEI was Maine’s first local development company. In its early years, the organization focused on mobilizing capital to create jobs in the state’s natural resources industries, such as fishing, farming, and forestry. Over time, however, it has expanded to serve the rest of New England and beyond, and has diversified its lending to include manufacturing enterprises, affordable housing projects, and community facilities.

The Progress Fund
$2.75 Million Awardee

For more than 60 years, the economy of southwestern Pennsylvania has struggled. “We lost our basic industry—steel and the businesses it supported,” says David Kahley, the President and CEO of The Progress Fund. “Since the end of World War II, it’s been more bust than boom. Even in good times, we don’t catch up.” The Progress Fund was established in 1997 to help put an end to the bust. The organization works to create economic opportunity throughout a 39-county region that includes western Maryland, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio, as well as southwestern and northern Pennsylvania. And while its basic strategy—providing loans and technical assistance to underserved entrepreneurs—is typical of many CDFIs, its highly focused approach to lending is not.

Alternatives Federal Credit Union
$25,000 Awardee – Advocacy

The Advocacy award recognizes Ithaca, NY-based Alternatives Federal Credit Union for its policy and advocacy leadership on Living Wages. Alternatives’ leadership and advocacy on the Living Wage began at the local level and has grown into a national movement. In 1994, the credit union undertook a study of what it costs to live in Tompkins County, NY. Alternatives publicly announced the study, making the distinction between a living wage and the official minimum wage and their commitment to paying a living wage to all employees. Based on Alternatives’ study, Tompkins County and City of Ithaca governments voted that organizations receiving their funding must meet Living Wage guidelines. Private employers in and outside Ithaca have adopted a living wage, and people in other cities have used Alternatives’ study as a model for their own efforts to improve the lives of the working poor. In 2009, Alternatives conducted another Living Wage study which indicated that at least 2,500 workers, more than 5% of the County’s workforce, would see an increase in pay as a result of its work.

Neighborhood Development Center
$25,000 Awardee – Community Impact

St. Paul, Minnesota-based Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) is the recipient of the Community Impact award for achieving a high volume of community impact, tracking and analyzing this impact, and using the information to improve its programs. NDC seeks to empower emerging entrepreneurs with business knowledge and access to opportunity to develop businesses that allow them to move out of poverty, become self-sufficient, and develop and transform their own neighborhoods. In 2009 and 2010, NDC provided services to more than 1,700 individuals. A recent evaluation of its programs found that during that time: NDC-trained entrepreneurs started 80 new businesses and created 250 new jobs; 56% of NDC–assisted businesses reported increasing revenues by an average of $120,000 a year, up from $48,000 a year in 2007; 41% of NDC-assisted businesses now occupy a building that was formerly vacant, up from 32% in 2007; NDC—assisted businesses now return more than $68 million annually—in the form of rents, taxes, and other businesses expenses—to the Twin Cities up from $29 million in 2007.

Charter School Development Corporation
$25,000 Awardee – Financing

Charter School Development Corporation (CSDC), a Hanover, MD-based CDFI, was selected to receive the Financing award for accessing capital markets in innovative ways that establish replicable models for acquiring affordable capital in difficult economic times. CSDC is an $85 million CDFI that provides credit enhancement lending and uses tax credits in innovative ways to help charter schools procure capital commitments for their facilities. CSDC focuses on financing new and early-stage schools with less than three years’ operating history. It has invested $42 million to leverage over $560 million in financing for 217 schools in 24 states with a default rate of less than 1.8%. These investments have financed 25,000 new student seats and 3.8 million square feet of facilities. In 2010, CSDC entered into a strategic alliance with Entertainment Properties Trust (EPT), a real estate investment trust that will invest up to $100 million with CSDC for charter schools.

Genesis Community Loan Fund
$25,000 Awardee – Innovation

Genesis Community Loan Fund (Genesis Fund), based in Damariscotta, Maine, received the Innovation award for its work with island communities in Maine. In 2004, the Genesis Fund launched a program to support development on the 14 Maine islands that sustain year-round communities. For generations, these communities have been home to Maine’s fishing and lobstering industries, but lacked affordable housing. Genesis Fund’s work resulted in new housing and led the island organizations to work together on a collective approach to securing resources to help sustain their communities. In 2010, the Genesis Fund realized that a significant new source of capital was needed for the islands to build scale in their affordable housing efforts. The Genesis Fund encouraged island communities to work with the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition—of which the Genesis Fund Executive Director was chair—to advocate for and pass the largest affordable housing bond in the state’s history. The legislation authorized up to $50 million in bonds, of which $2 million was allocated to support the islands.

2010 Awardees

Boston Community Capital
$5.5 Million Awardee

Boston Community Capital’s staff pride themselves on looking around the corner—that is, on paying close attention to emerging trends and how they might impact communities. Back in 2006 and 2007, the particular corner they looked around was the mortgage market, and they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing. “We were looking at rising home prices in the neighborhoods and did not understand how those prices could be sustainable over time,” says Elyse Cherry, the organization’s CEO. “We saw income levels in the neighborhoods that were roughly flat. Meanwhile home prices were rising dramatically. We knew we had a problem coming.”

Craft3 (Formerly Enterprise Cascadia)
$2.75 Million Awardee

John Berdes, President and CEO of Enterprise Cascadia, is well aware of the long-term threat that climate change poses for low-income communities, but he also sees something else on the horizon. “At Enterprise Cascadia, we believe that a clean energy economy is emerging today, and that there is an opportunity for those that have historically been excluded from the mainstream to be full participants in this new economy,” he says. Enterprise Cascadia was formed in 1995 to promote economic opportunity and a healthy environment for urban and rural communities of Oregon and Washington, so it is hardly surprising that the organization would envision urgent opportunity in slowing climate change. What is striking, however, is the boldness of its newest initiative to realize that opportunity.

Forward Community Investments (FCI)
$25,000 Awardee – Advocacy

Madison, Wisconsin-based Forward Community Investments (FCI) has been recognized for its Advocacy work representing the very low-income unserved and underserved communities of Wisconsin. FCI’s advocacy work focuses on supporting nonprofits and CDFIs in Wisconsin. In 2009, FCI was instrumental in the passing of an amendment that preserved the tax-exempt status for nonprofit affordable housing providers. Without the amendment, nonprofits that provide housing to low-income individuals and families would have to pay property taxes, resulting in higher costs that would compromise the quality of housing and eliminate supportive services for low-income residents. In 2010, FCI worked closely with Wisconsin legislators to introduce a bill that would stimulate private investments in Wisconsin CDFIs by providing a state tax credit to individuals and corporate investors. Based on California legislation, the Invest Locally to Grow Wisconsin Act would provide a 10% tax credit for investments ranging from $10,000-$150,000 and a 12% tax credit for investments of $150,000-$500,000.

Bethex Federal Credit Union (Bethex)
$25,000 Awardee – Community Impact

Bethex Federal Credit Union (Bethex), based in the Bronx, was awarded the Community Impact prize for achieving a high volume and quality of community outputs to a severely distressed market where the poverty rate is 40.8% and more than half of the children live in poverty. Bethex provides an impressive array of high-impact and high-volume programs and consumer services including low- or no-fee check-cashing services, volunteer income tax assistance, consumer loans, business loans, and real estate. Bethex holds a $2.6 million portfolio of more than 1,000 consumer loans, a $1.9 million portfolio of 46 small business loans, and a $2.3 million portfolio of real estate loans including 10 cooperative apartment building loans to non-profit corporations that promote homeownership among low-income people and prevent purchases by outside investors and speculators.

Business Carolina (BCI)
$25,000 Awardee – Financing

Headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, and providing loans to small businesses in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, Business Carolina (BCI) was selected to receive the Financing award for its substantial growth in financing and its leveraging of financing capital. BCI utilizes an active secondary market for its SBA 7(a)-guaranteed loans in order to maximize the economic impact of each dollar of capital that it lends. Through the sale of the guaranteed portion of each loan, BCI is able to recoup up to 90% of the original principal balance of the loan, plus a typical 5–7% premium. Through leveraging each loan dollar in this manner, BCI can fund up to $10 million in loans for each $1 million of capital lent. BCI has substantially grown its financing from $13.5 million in FY 2007 to $18.1 million in FY 2008 to $35.1 million in FY 2009.

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)
$25,000 Awardee – Innovation

Based in Cleveland, Georgia, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), formerly known as Appalachian Community Enterprises, received the Innovation award for its new green microenterprise and business lending program. In 2009, ACE launched Georgia Green Loans, which provides capital to businesses that provide an eco-friendly product or service or that wish to operate more sustainably. In its first year of operation, Georgia Green Loans provided $377,756 to 16 businesses including a green architect, a solar installation operation, and a manufacturer of organic cotton baby goods as well as alternative transport, composting, and water pollution prevention businesses. Environmental metrics gathered include reduction in energy usage, materials removed from the waste stream, water use reduction, toxins eliminated, and renewable energy generated. By boldly stating a commitment to sustainability, ACE has attracted new partnerships and funding including a competitive $700,000 grant from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, an SBA PRIME grant to create the national Academy of Green Micro-enterprise Development, and SBA Microloan Program financing to support a joint effort among ACE and two other lenders to provide green loans in every Georgia county.

2009 Awardees

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund
$5.5 Million Awardee

They couldn’t know it at the time, but when the Community Loan Fund made its first loan in 1984, it found its true calling and began transforming a sector of New Hampshire’s economy that was not just underserved but unserved. The loan was made to thirteen families facing eviction from their manufactured housing park in Meredith Center when the park’s owner decided to sell the property to condominium developers. Although the families wanted to buy the park and run it themselves, their loan request was turned down by five banks.

Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE)
$2.75 Million Awardee

By just about anyone’s standards, the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE) could have been considered a highly successful CDFI back in 2004. Founded in 1980 to reduce systemic poverty in Central Appalachia by improving housing and creating economic opportunity, FAHE had established itself as an innovative mortgage lender as well as the leader of a member-based network of more than 40 community agencies dedicated to providing housing solutions to families throughout the region.

Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC)
$25,000 Awardee – Community Impact

Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC), based in Shawnee, Oklahoma was awarded the Community Impact prize for achieving a high volume of community outcomes relative to its peers, designing and implementing an effective impact tracking system, and regularly using their impact data to enhance their programs. CPCDC provides an impressive array of high-impact programs and services, including business loans, credit builder loans, an Individual Development Account (IDA) savings program, and financial literacy counseling. Serving all Native Americans in Oklahoma and Citizen Potawatomi Tribal Members Nationwide, in the past three years CPCDC made 80 business loans totaling nearly $5MM, provided 5,850 hours of business development training, and provided customized business consultations to more than 2,300 Native Americans. In 2007 CPCDC launched a comprehensive Community Impact Tracking System which allows management to track outcomes and client feedback. CPCDC is a high impact lender that has demonstrated that it is a leader in Community Impact.
Community and Shelter Assistance Corporation (CASA of Oregon)
$25,000 Awardee – Advocacy

The Advocacy award recognizes Newberg, Oregon-based Community and Shelter Assistance Corporation’s (CASA of Oregon) advocacy work on behalf of farm workers and other low-income populations in the state of Oregon. CASA of Oregon’s policy successes include obtaining state tax credits and set asides for farm worker housing in Oregon. More recently, CASA of Oregon turned its advocacy efforts to manufactured housing, establishing a Manufactured Housing Park Conversion Program predicated on the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund model and successfully advocating the state legislature for the inclusion of nonprofit, limited equity cooperatives as owners of manufactured housing parks. It also helped obtain a $10MM set aside in the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credits to help these cooperatives finance the purchase of parks. Finally, CASA of Oregon helped bring private sources of capital to the table to take advantage of the tax credits and finance the housing. For excellent work in championing the causes of farm workers and other low-income populations in Oregon, CASA of Oregon received the award for Advocacy.

Pacific Community Ventures (PCV)
$25,000 Awardee – Innovation

San Francisco-based Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) received the Innovation award for its work in providing health care access and financial literacy training to business owners and their low/moderate income (LMI) employees, and for providing impact measurement services to other social investors. The first community development venture capital fund in California, PCV has an innovative “360 degree” approach to rebuilding California’s LMI communities that goes well beyond providing financing to stimulate business development. PCV developed a platform for the delivery of financial literacy education to LMI employees of businesses located in and hiring from LMI communities. In 2008, PCV piloted the VidaCard, an innovative, market-based approach to providing California’s uninsured low-income workers with convenient and affordable basic medical care. In 2000, PCV developed InSight, a system that measures the social impact of its investments. In 2005, PCV made InSight available to other social investors and is now providing it to pension funds, fund managers, and foundations to help these investors demonstrate their community impacts. For these creative programs that significantly increase the impact of its financial investments, PCV received the award for Innovation.

Seedco Financial Services, Inc. (Seedco Financial)
$25,000 Awardee – Financing

Headquartered in New York City, Seedco Financial Services, Inc. (Seedco Financial) was selected to receive the Financing award for its post-Hurricanes Katrina and Rita business lending program in Louisiana. Building on its successful emergency loan program in New York City after September 11 and in a number of other emergency lending initiatives, Seedco Financial piloted a $500,000 business lending program in New Orleans which grew rapidly, reaching $8MM in loan originations in only two years. The program has since grown into a $26 MM statewide economic development initiative that includes an innovative and flexible financial product, effective technical assistance provider network, and loan capital from a wide range of public and private sources. Seedco Financial’s ability to attract millions of dollars of loan capital from Federal, state, and local governments, and a consortium of banks and credit unions, was key to its success. For its work in quickly raising an impressive volume of capital and deploying it to businesses in hurricane-affected communities throughout Louisiana, Seedco Financial is a recognized leader in Financing.

2008 Awardees

$5.5 Million Awardee

IFF, based in Chicago, received the $5.5 million award. Founded in 1990, this rapidly growing CDFI has financed or developed hundreds of nonprofit-owned facilities and real estate projects across the state of Illinois. These projects include child care centers, charter schools, affordable and supportive housing, health clinics, arts and cultural centers, and others that, combined, serve more than 700,000 low-income and special needs clients each year. As the Midwest’s largest CDFI dedicated solely to meeting the real estate needs of nonprofits, IFF has distinguished itself through the scale, creativity and discipline of its lending. IFF has recently moved to extend beyond its home state of Illinois by providing its specialized financial and consulting services to nonprofits across a five-state region: Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin. “This award ensures that more nonprofit corporations in the Midwest will receive the critical financing they need to maintain and improve the facilities they depend on to continue providing much-needed services,” said Trinita Logue, President & CEO of IFF, and recipient of the 2008 $5.5 million award.

Homewise, Inc.
$2.75 Million Awardee

Homewise, Inc., located in Santa Fe, received the $2.75 million award. Founded in 1986, this innovative CDFI has made loans to help over 1,200 households buy and improve their homes and provided homeownership education to more than 3,000 people in the New Mexico market. Its user-friendly HomeSmart™ program is designed to help low-and moderate-income families build long-term financial wealth and security by fostering successful homeownership. The organization’s comprehensive array of customer-focused services include: classes on home improvement and repair; one-on-one counseling; fully underwritten, fixed-rate loans; dedicated real estate brokers; development and sale of new, affordable homes. “This validates our work in the community and our efforts to bring opportunity finance to people and neighborhoods that might not otherwise receive these financial benefits.” said Mike Loftin, Executive Director of Homewise, and recipient of the 2008 $2.75 million award.

Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)
$25,000 Awardee – Advocacy

Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), based in San Francisco, C.A., was selected for the Advocacy award for its vision and leadership in the creation of a unique funding stream for opportunity finance through the Capital Magnet Fund. Working with OFN and other CDFIs, LIIF took a lead role in advocating for the Capital Magnet Fund. Signed into law earlier this year as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the Capital Magnet Fund has the potential to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding to the opportunity finance industry and nonprofit housing developers. LIIF recently opened a policy office in Washington, D.C., to increase its presence with Congress and to become even more involved in day-to-day advocacy on key national policy issues that serve to boost opportunity finance. For excellent work in championing the development of CDFIs, LIIF received the award for Advocacy.

Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union
$25,000 Awardee – Community Impact

Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union, based in Syracuse, N.Y., was awarded the Community Impact prize for countering payday and predatory lending while growing city-wide. Since 1982, Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union has invested more than $65 million in low-income urban neighborhoods, fostering first-time homeownership for low-to moderate-income borrowers and increasing the availability of affordable housing. In the past two years, this outstanding CDFI has made nearly 100 payday-alternative loans, lent more than $2 million in predatory-alternative mortgages and provided housing and credit counseling to 300 low-income individuals. Started by visionary community activists and now a city-wide institution valued at $14 million in assets, Cooperative Federal is a true leader in Community Impact.

Coastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI)
$25,000 Awardee – Financing

Coastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI), based in Wiscasset, Maine was selected for the Financing award due to its pioneering use of New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) funds to attract new investors and to build new delivery channels for responsible finance. In 2006 and 2007, through its unique approach to the NMTC allocation, CEI attracted 30 new sources of private capital to distressed rural communities in Maine, northern New England and upstate New York. And CEI also gives other, smaller CDFIs access to this financing through its innovative free-sharing, working partnership program. NMTC is a place-based tax credit, stimulating investment in low-income communities and helping create jobs. CEI’s unique, successful approach to NMTC funds – which brings in new investments and provides smaller CDFIs access to this funding – serves as a replicable model for the opportunity finance industry, demonstrating real leadership in Financing.

Federation of Appalachian Housing (FAHE)
$25,000 Awardee – Innovation

Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE), based in Berea, K.Y., received the Innovation award for its pioneering application of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) financing in rural areas. In less than two years, FAHE Capital – a new FAHE line of business – has successfully used LIHTCs to bring more than $17 million in private equity investments to develop affordable rental units in rural communities. A huge accomplishment: LIHTCs historically have been used in cities, seldom touching rural communities. The $17 million equity leveraged an additional $4 million, bringing total new investments to more than $20 million. Through its inventive use of LIHTCs, FAHE is creating an immediate impact on the development of affordable rental homes in rural areas, emerging as a true leader of the opportunity finance industry in Innovation.

2007 Awardees

Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU)
$5.5 Million Awardee

Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), of Durham, N.C., is using its 2007 $5.5 million prize to support its rapid expansion. Founded in 2002 in response to violence against Latino residents in North Carolina, LCCU now has more than 42,000 members. It was the first multicultural financial institution in North Carolina to provide all of its services in Spanish and English, without discriminating in pricing. LCCU now also serves African and European populations. LCCU has branches in Durham, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Fayetteville and plans to expand to three new markets with the help of the investment provided by this Wachovia NEXT Award. LCCU partners with the State Employees Federal Credit Union in an innovative partnership that has made its meteoric growth possible. “Our mentality is that we don’t know barriers, and we don’t know limits. If the system is not prepared to welcome you, you need to change the system,” said Luis Pastor, CEO of Latino Community Credit Union, and recipient of the 2007 $5.5 million award.

$2.75 Million Awardee

ACCION Texas, a statewide organization based out of San Antonio, Texas, is using its 2007 $2.75 million prize to extend its micro lending reach and to grow its business partnerships outside of Texas. ACCION Texas uses an automated underwriting system and business model to distinguish itself in a challenging financial segment, providing credit to small businesses that do not have access to loans from commercial sources. The organization makes business loans from $500 to $50,000 for working capital, equipment purchase, inventory and other business needs. ACCION Texas has distributed over $58 million in more than 8,100 loans to clients in Texas, helping micro-entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize their incomes, create additional employment and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. ACCION Texas has 12 offices in ten cities and serves clients in over 80 counties throughout Texas. “When I first read the application and criteria – I said, that’s us! – there was no doubt in my mind!” said Janie Barrera, CEO of ACCION TEXAS, and recipient of the 2007 $2.75 million award.

Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC)
$25,000 Awardee – Advocacy

Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), New York, N.Y. received the 2007 Advocacy Award. PCDC is a leader in the support of primary care in the state of New York and has launched a statewide Primary Care Coalition, produced multiple reports on the subject, and testified at state and city hearings. PCDC’s tireless research, policy and advocacy efforts have influenced policymakers at the city and state level, leading to millions of dollars of new investment in primary care in New York City and New York State. PCDC focuses on expanding and strengthening the role and capacity of primary care facilities in the health-care delivery system, providing an array of financial products in partnership with public and private financing sources. The organization also offers comprehensive real estate development and technical support programs that enable health-care organizations to implement state-of-the-art facilities, adopt best practices for delivering quality services, and strengthen health facilities’ clinical and internal operations.

First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta)
$25,000 Awardee – Community Impact

First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta), of Rapid City, S.D., received the 2007 Impact Award. Oweesta was chosen for the extraordinary impact it has made on the Native CDFI Industry and the communities these Native CDFIs serve. Since 2003, Oweesta has worked with roughly 250 tribal entities/Native communities in the area of CDFI development, and hundreds more focusing on asset building program development. Through Oweesta’s work in promoting the creation of Native CDFIs and publicizing the work they do, the interest in and awareness of Native economic development grows every day. The nation’s premier intermediary for Native community development financial institutions, Oweesta (from the Mohawk word for money) helps build strong Native institutions and programs through professional services designed to build local capacity, provide powerful tools for Native community development, and promote economic sovereignty.

Ohio Capital Finance Corporation (OCFC)
$25,000 Awardee – Financing

Ohio Capital Finance Corporation (OCFC), Columbus, Ohio received the 2007 Financing Award. OCFC, the lending arm of Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, specializes in predevelopment, acquisition, and bridge financing for affordable housing, offering unique products in Ohio and Kentucky. Its loans enable developers to complete a wide range of tasks critical to a project’s success, including conducting engineering and environmental studies, hiring architects and attorneys, and packaging projects for construction and permanent financing. Since its inception, OCFC has originated more than $20 million in 110 loans, producing over 5,100 new or rehabilitated housing units. When looking for ways to further capitalize its loan fund OCFC created an innovative fund structure to accommodate financial institutions preferring a participation or debt structure. This innovative structure enabled OCFC to raise additional capital for lending as well as expand its product line to include single family homeownership loans.

ASI Federal Credit Union (ASI)
$25,000 Awardee – Innovation

ASI Federal Credit Union (ASI), of Harahan, L.A., received the 2007 Innovation Award. ASI is a CDFI that epitomizes a spirit of innovation. Its internal operating environment encourages creativity, learning, and risk-taking. ASI staff continually assess the financial marketplace, ask what products are missing, and seek to create products to fill the gaps. ASI has created several innovative products and programs to support the post-Katrina New Orleans region. Its innovative Stretch Plan and Freedom Loan anti-predatory lending products have been replicated by credit unions and nonprofits nationwide. ASI strives to make lasting contributions in the nationwide fight against predatory lending through product innovation. ASI staff also created the Payday Lender ReBuilder Loan in response to the growing number of members they saw who became trapped by dependency on multiple payday loans.

NEXT Awards Partners

NEXT Awards partners