FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 3, 2017
Jeremy Cullimore, (202) 529-5505
Wacif Leadership Named to Inaugural Class of Opportunity Fellows by BBVA Compass, Opportunity Finance Network
Harold Pettigrew was chosen as one of 25 leaders from across the country to participate in innovative industry program to address inequalities in access to capital
Washington, D.C. (March 3, 2017) – The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is proud to announce that Executive Director Harold Pettigrew has been named a 2017 Opportunity Fellow by the Opportunity Finance Network. The 2017 inaugural class of Opportunity Fellows were chosen for their commitment to addressing inequities in capital access in underserved communities through their work in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are critical engines of opportunity in these communities.
“The wealth gap is pervasive across racial, gender, and geographic lines throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and the Opportunity Fellows program will deepen Wacif’s agenda focused on equity and inclusion,” said Pettigrew. “I am proud to join the inaugural class, and look forward to leading innovation and change in the CDFI industry alongside my peers.”
BBVA Compass and Opportunity Finance Network joined forces in October 2016 to develop the Opportunity Fellows Program. The program is designed to boost the leadership ranks and spur the transformation of Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, which are critical engines of opportunity in low-income communities. Nationally recognized experts in the field of community development chose the 25 Opportunity Fellows from nearly 100 highly qualified applicants, and together they represent emerging, mid-career and executive-level professionals from CDFIs across the country. Pettigrew was selected to participate in the Executive Level Program. The program will be offered for one cohort of Fellows in 2017, and for another cohort in 2018.
“This innovative and robust leadership program brings together participants with different levels of experience with a common goal: to increase opportunity for all people and in all communities across the country,” said Pam Porter, Executive Vice President, Strategic Consulting at OFN. “We congratulate the 25 Opportunity Fellows, and we thank BBVA Compass for recognizing the impact this program will have and for its generous support.”
The Opportunity Fellows Program is an innovative leadership program made up of a diverse cohort from across the CDFI industry representing different levels of leadership. The Opportunity Fellows Program provides nine months of training with world-class experts in leadership and racial equity from the University of Alabama Collat School of Business and Race Matters Institute. The program kicks off the week of March 6, 2017 at the BBVA Compass headquarters in Birmingham, where participants will engage in interactive activities and experiences, and will learn from other leaders in microfinance.
Fellows will develop the skills and perspective to (1) create transformational change and innovation toward the vision of opportunity for all; (2) develop skills to facilitate greater equity and inclusion for racially and ethnically diverse communities; and, (3) lead innovation and change in their organizations, their communities, and the CDFI industry. They will also spend time with experts to better understand the patterns and causes behind the growing inequity in racial and ethnic minorities, as well as tour the Innovation Depot business incubator.
“We could not be more proud of this leadership program, and of these participants,” said BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Reymundo Ocañas. “We know that by investing in their future, we’re investing in the future of all of our communities. These are the leaders of organizations who put capital to work directly in low- to moderate-income communities. The idea is to arm them with the tools and skills they need to flourish in this impactful field of community-oriented finance.”
The Opportunity Fellows Program is offered by Opportunity Finance Network with generous support from BBVA Compass. For more information on the Opportunity Fellows Program, and to view a complete list of 2017 Opportunity Fellows, please visit www.ofn.org/opportunity-fellows.
The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is one of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s leading Community Development Financial Institution’s (CDFI), whose mission is to empower underserved communities by providing access to capital and technical assistance. Since 1987, Wacif has invested over $24 million in strategic financing to small businesses, child care and community facilities, and affordable housing developments in underserved communities throughout the Washington, D.C. region. Learn more at www.wacif.org, on Twitter and Facebook.
About BBVA Compass
BBVA Compass is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 672 branches, including 344 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 75 in Arizona, 62 in California, 45 in Florida, 38 in Colorado and 19 in New Mexico. BBVA Compass ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (5th). BBVA Compass was recently named Best Digital Bank in North America by global finance magazine Euromoney and the best regional bank in the South & West and best mobile app in Money magazine’s 2015-2016 list of the Best Banks in America. Additional information about BBVA Compass can be found at bbvacompass.com, by following @BBVACompassNews on Twitter or visiting newsroom.bbvacompass.com.
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the leading national network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2015 OFN’s network originated $48 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native American communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,044,000 jobs, start or expand nearly 191,000 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of nearly 1.5 million housing units and 9,800 community facility projects. For more information, visit ofn.org.