New Request for Ideas, the largest in the Foundation’s history, aims to support innovative ideas for CDFIs to enable greater economic progress for underserved communities
The Citi Foundation (the “Foundation”) today announced the launch of a new $50 million Request for Ideas (RFI) to support the next level of growth for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the United States. Representing the largest request for funding in the Foundation’s history, this national RFI aims to solicit and support breakthrough innovations from nonprofit organizations working to advance the field of community finance in four key areas: human capital and talent development; financial and risk-sharing models; technology and operational efficiencies; and thought leadership and research.
The CDFI industry achieved an unprecedented level of lending volume during the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing a 52.3% increase in lending and investment activity from 2020 to 2021, totaling more than $38.7 billion in financing, according to the CDFI Fund. Training, technical assistance and capacity building innovations from community organizations are crucial to helping sustain this level of impact, and through this RFI, the Citi Foundation seeks to identify and fund resources to help communities around the country thrive.
“CDFIs play a critical role in reaching historically underserved communities in the U.S., especially over the past two years as the economic impacts of the pandemic have made achieving financial stability that much more difficult,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation and Head of Citi Community Investing and Development. “The Citi Foundation will help CDFIs grow and innovate with this $50 million Community Innovation Fund so they can continue to meet the needs of the communities they serve.”
The $50 million Community Finance Innovation Fund builds upon Citi and the Foundation’s longtime support of CDFIs. In 2020 and 2021 alone, the Foundation provided over $50 million in grant support to CDFIs and small business support organizations across the U.S. This included awarding $15 million to 30 CDFIs, each of which received $500,000 in unrestricted funding primarily used to fund operations and loan loss reserves. An additional $10 million supported the New York Forward Loan Fund, and another investment of $25 million supported a combination of CDFIs and community organizations working to bolster small businesses during the pandemic.
The deadline to submit ideas is May 24, 2022, at 4 pm EST. Select organizations that submit ideas will be invited to apply for funding, which will be awarded on a rolling basis. For more information on this opportunity, please visit www.citifoundation.com/cfi.
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.