May 11, 2020
Small businesses have been devastated by COVID19, and by extension, so have their owners, workers and communities. We are talking about true small businesses, not Shake Shack or Ruth’s Christ Steak House. Their role in our economy is so significant that Congress appropriated federal funding for them through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) within the CARES Act. This moment underscores the importance of federal investment in small businesses that meet needs in underserved communities. The most impactful resource for this is the CDFI Fund, a US Department of Treasury based program that deploys capitol into communities that banks do not serve. They are run by nonprofits and mission-driven lenders that build affordable housing and launch businesses. And CDFIS are having a moment. The New York Times just reported on the campaign to fund CDFIs at $1 billion in the next spending bill. This is the life’s work of John Holdsclaw, Executive VP at National Cooperative Bank, a rare financial institution dedicated to funding cooperatives in LMI communities. We talk about CDFIs that are literally changing lives and powering communities.