Washington, D.C. (June 17, 2021) – The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) announced today that it was awarded, for the fourth consecutive year, funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. This year, Wacif was awarded $1,826,265 through the CDFI Fund’s Rapid Response Program (RRP), the largest award from the CDFI Fund in Wacif’s history, and the maximum amount granted to any single recipient. The announcement was made by Vice President Kamala Harris on June 15th at a White House event that included Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and Lisa Mensah, President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, which is a national association of CDFIs, including Wacif. This flexible capital will further strengthen Wacif’s ability to support the resilience and recovery of COVID-impacted entrepreneurs and communities across the region.
“Throughout the pandemic, Wacif has remained steadfast in its commitment to get capital to small businesses and communities that need it most,” said Wacif CEO Harold B. Pettigrew, Jr. “The CDFI Fund is a valued and strategic national partner, and we are grateful for this award, which will be critical to Wacif scaling its impact to meet the depth of community need and to drive an inclusive, equitable recovery.”
The RRP provides necessary capital for CDFIs to respond to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in underserved communities. More specifically, CDFI RRP grant funds support activities such as financial products, financial services, development services, and certain operational activities, and to enable CDFIs to build capital reserves and loan-loss reserves. The CDFI Fund designed the program to disburse the funds rapidly in light of the nationwide economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, every dollar invested in a CDFI catalyzes eight more dollars in private sector investment.
RRP resources further deepen Wacif’s role as a key, trusted partner in the region’s economic recovery. In 2020, regional resilience and recovery at a critical moment for underserved communities. In 2020, Wacif served as a lead partner in D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Small Business Recovery Microgrant program, part of more than $11 million in comprehensive financial relief Wacif deployed to more than 1,800 entrepreneurs, ultimately supporting almost 19,000 jobs in the District. In recognition of its impact in 2020, Wacif received the Washington Business Journal’s Citizenship Award for launching a small business resilience fund with market research firm Morning Consult, as well as receiving Mayor Bowser’s Spirit of Service Award for launching innovative public private partnerships to support small businesses.
Wacif is continuing to launch new initiatives and partnerships to drive the region’s recovery, including the Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center launched earlier this year in partnership with the Minority Business Development Agency. On July 14th, Wacif will launch the Greater Washington Center for Employee Ownership to preserve legacy businesses, increase job quality, and build community wealth through employee ownership.
About the Washington Area Community Investment Fund
The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is one of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) focused on small business development. Wacif’s mission is to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities in the Washington, D.C. area by investing knowledge, social, and financial capital in low-and-moderate-income entrepreneurs. To learn more about Wacif’s mission, visit www.wacif.org.