In May 2017 Catherine Howard, our Director of Strategic Initiatives, represented Community Vision at Opportunity Finance Network’s Advocacy Day which included legislative visits to the offices of Senators Feinstein and Harris and Representatives Jim Costa and Jimmy Panetta. In addition, Community Vision’s policy activities have been focused on the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund budget and on the renewal of the New Markets Tax Credits Program, which brings significant capital to build community assets in low-income communities.

The budget appropriations process is underway in Washington DC. The initial markup in the House cuts the Community CDFI Fund’s budget by 23%, with a 15% cut in the Financial and Technical Assistance program and the elimination of the Healthy Foods Financing Initiative. Further action is expected at the end of this month. In the meantime, Community Vision is working with the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and is connecting with local representatives in our service area to advocate for restoration of these funds. The CDFI Fund is a department of the treasury and provides significant funding to CDFIs across the country. Support from this Fund has supported Community Vision in building our financial equity, increase our stability, and develop innovative products. It would be detrimental to community development efforts in low-income communities at a time when these efforts are especially critical.

What you can do: Contact Senator Dianne Feinstein who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee and show your support for CDFIs and the vital work being done to support low-income communities. Please urge her to preserve CDFI Funding in Fiscal Year 2018 at $250 million so that low-income communities will continue to have access to responsible loans and investments.

If your organization is a member of OFN: OFN is hosting a call for its members On Wednesday, July 12 at 2 pm EST and will share the most recent information on the FY2018 appropriations cycle, congressional advocacy, and tools that we as CDFIs can use to support our own advocacy efforts. It’s critical that we mobilize quickly, effectively and in partnership in these uncertain times. If your organization is a member of OFN, REGISTER for the July 12 call now.