Washington, D.C. (June 17, 2020) – Today, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) announced that Washington Area Investment Fund (Wacif) was one of six Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) nationwide to receive the first round of unrestricted grants from Google.org. The grant will help Wacif better serve minority- and women-owned small businesses.
“CDFIs make the investments in small businesses, specifically entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs, that our country needs now more than ever,” said Wacif CEO Harold Pettigrew. “We have the unique capacity to strategically deploy resources and capital to the small businesses that are the cornerstone of our communities. Together with our partners at OFN and Google.org, we will help build an equitable and inclusive economic recovery.”
In March, Google.org made a $5 million grant to OFN to enable OFN’s member CDFIs to improve access to capital for the most marginalized communities. The unrestricted grants can support operations, loan capital, loan loss reserve, capacity building, or any other purpose.
At the same time, OFN and Google announced the Grow with Google Small Business Fund, which delivers financing to CDFIs that are supporting the short-term recovery and long-term financing needs of America’s small businesses hardest hit by COVID-19.
On June 17, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company will provide to OFN an additional $45 million in loans to the Fund’s original $125 million to assist Black-owned small businesses and $5 million more in Google.org grants. In total, Google has now committed $170 million in loans and $10 million in Google.org grants.
The other first round awardees are Citizens Potawatomi Community Development Corporation; Grameen America; Opportunity Fund; PeopleFund; and, Pacific Community Ventures.
“CDFIs are America’s best community lenders with 40 years of experience providing capital where mainstream finance can’t or won’t — today, CDFIs are vital to ensuring a more even recovery for America’s small businesses,” said Lisa Mensah, president and CEO of OFN, a leading national network of CDFIs. “We applaud Google for stepping in to help bridge deep gaps in access to capital for minority and women-led small businesses. Google’s significant investment and grant helps CDFIs to combat economic inequity during a national health and economic crisis that has been recently compounded by civil unrest.”
“The Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org grants are some of the key investments that Google is making in the future of America’s small businesses. Our economy requires that small businesses prosper,” said Ruth Porat, CFO of Google. “The COVID crisis has created unprecedented challenges for many small businesses, and we are committed to assisting them. We’re proud to have an outstanding partner in OFN to provide loans and grants to CDFIs who are on the front lines of the economic recovery effort.”
There are more than 1,100 CDFIs working in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. OFN’s more than 300 members serve 58% people of color, 85% low-income, 26% rural, and 48% women (OFN Annual Member Survey, 2018). Nationwide, the CDFI industry manages more than $222 billion.
The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is one of the Washington, DC. metropolitan’s area’s leading Community Development Financial Institution’s (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. In the last seven years, Wacif has invested over $9 million in underserved communities throughout the region. Learn more at www.wacif.org
OFN, a leading national network of CDFIs, strives to ensure low-income and other under-resourced communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. Members of OFN are CDFIs that deliver responsible lending to help low-income communities join the economic mainstream.
Through 2018, OFN’s network originated $74.2 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,560,000 jobs, start or expand more than 419,177 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of 2.1 million housing units and more than 11,500 community facility projects. For more information, visit www.ofn.org.
Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world’s biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We engage with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a world that works for everyone—and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle.