Small business is experiencing a vanguard moment in its role to build wealth and close the racial and gender wealth gaps. CDFIs are gaining recognition as a tool to effectively support America’s small businesses and address access to capital and technical assistance for entrepreneurs of color. Many advocates rightly called on the federal government to include specific funding for CDFIs in its second pandemic response package. And, a number of funds as well as policies are poised to increase CDFI investments to address inadequacies and inequities in the small business ecosystem and help Main Street thrive. With increased funding and recognition, however, CDFIs will need to continue to build their capacity to increase ability and agility to address the substantial need for critical services in underserved communities.

Asset Funders Network, hosted by Greater New York Asset Funders Network, held this program as the first of two to examine the practices (March 10th) and federal and local policies (March 29th) that help CDFIs build capacity and support entrepreneurs of color. Speakers will share proven on-the-ground strategies, key learnings, and best practices to build capacity for CDFIs.

Together we explored:

  • What specific role does your organization play in providing access to capital to minority business owners?
  • How do we build capacity to take advantage of public dollars to improve and scale of CDFI lending? Is it new products, capacity, marketing, demand generation?
  • What do CDFIs need most from philanthropic support/supporters?
  • What innovations and investments might we learn from to make our CDFI investments more impactful?
  • Are there emerging best practices and expected obstacles for CDFIs to address capital needs and TA for entrepreneurs of color?
  • What is the criteria for best practices and community impact?

Jeanique Druses, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Jessie Lee, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation
Patrick Davis, Community Reinvestment Fund
Steve Hall, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Victor Salama, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation
Aisha Benson, TruFund

Read the Bios