New York – The Citi Foundation today announced the 12 nonprofit organizations selected as the recipients of the $50 million Community Finance Innovation Fund. Building on Citi and the Citi Foundation's long history of promoting financial inclusion, these grants will help bolster the work of these specialized organizations that have been an economic lifeline for communities across the U.S. hardest hit by the economic impact of the pandemic.
According to the Financial Health Pulse 2022 U.S. Trends Report, also supported by the Citi Foundation, financial health in America declined across many demographic and socioeconomic groups over the past year. As the economic challenges of American households increase, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) play a critical role delivering credit and other asset-building financial services to unbanked and underbanked households and entrepreneurs in low-income communities and communities of color.
"Investing in Community Development Finance Institutions has been a long-time priority," said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation and Head of Citi Community Investing and Development. "Through this new initiative, the Foundation is deepening this commitment by investing in the groundbreaking ideas that will help scale the community finance sector through innovation and capacity building."
"With the Citi Foundation's game-changing support, the National Bankers Community Alliance will have the resources and encouragement to invest in the crucial technological advancements MDIs need to better serve their communities," said Nicole A. Elam, Executive Director of National Bankers Community Alliance and President and CEO of the National Bankers Association. "We are honored to work alongside the other visionary organizations of our cohort to pursue and run with the big ideas that will push the community finance sector forward."
Through the Community Finance Innovation Fund, these organizations will work across four key areas to help positively transform community finance: technology and operational efficiencies; financial and risk-sharing models; human capital and talent development; and thought leadership and research.
"Like the constituents they serve, many community finance organizations have been challenged by the pandemic and need more resources and capacity to have greater impact." said Donna Gambrell, CEO of Appalachian Community Capital and Board Chair of Opportunity Finance Network. "The Community Finance Innovation Fund is seeding bold ideas that have the potential to transform community finance in ways that will create exponential positive impact for these CDFIs, their clients, and the communities they serve."
The following organizations and projects, listed by focus area, have been selected for the Community Finance Innovation Fund:
Technology and Operational Efficiency
Financial and Risk Sharing
Research and Thought Leadership
The organizations were selected following a competitive RFI process earlier this year. The Citi Foundation's support for a number of the fund's organizations and projects contributes to Citi and the Citi Foundation's Action for Racial Equity, which has already invested more than $1 billion in strategic initiatives to help close the racial wealth gap in the U.S. since its launch in 2020.
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.