The Uplift America Fund was a partnership that leveraged federal resources, bank financing, and private grants to target much-needed capital to persistently low-wealth areas. It made low-interest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans and private grant support available to community lenders, particularly CDFIs, that fund in economically distressed areas of Appalachia, the Texas-Mexico border, the rural South, and Native American reservations.
These funds were used for community facilities projects like health clinics, schools, libraries, food banks, municipal buildings, and childcare centers. Uplift provided an unprecedented opportunity for experienced community lenders to deploy large amounts of capital to areas of greatest need while building their own capacity and scale of operations so they can remain enduring resources for rural communities.
This model leveraged existing infrastructure and expertise to tailor place-based solutions, and it served as a template for other federal partners to structure investment in underserved areas.