24 Inclusiv Member CDFI CDCUs & Cooperativas Selected for LISC AmeriCorps EMC program

24 Inclusiv Member CDFI CDCUs & Cooperativas Selected for LISC AmeriCorps EMC program

Inclusiv and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a nonprofit that connects communities with resources, have partnered to place AmeriCorps Economic Mobility Corps (EMC) service members within CDFI community development credit unions (CDCUs) and financial cooperatives (cooperativas) in the mainland United States and Puerto Rico. As a result of the successful partnership, LISC will support AmeriCorps EMC members at 24 CDFI credit unions and cooperativas in 2022. This effort is part of LISC’s $1 million grant from AmeriCorps to place 61 EMC national service members at CDFIs nationally, which was announced this week. All 24 participating credit unions and cooperativas are Inclusiv members, with 23 of them led by and serving predominantly communities of color.

A joint initiative of the CDFI Fund and AmeriCorps, this new national service program places full-time national service members in certified CDFIs to support their work in distressed and underserved communities providing financial literacy, financial planning, budgeting, and saving, while also helping to connect low-income families to affordable financial products. The EMC program is an opportunity for EMC service members representing diverse communities to join in and gain experience in the CDFI sector, as a way to build local leadership. EMC service members will serve 12-month terms at the selected CDFIs, earn a $20,000 living stipend, and have access to health insurance and childcare benefits, just as in the traditional AmeriCorps program. Once they successfully complete their service, they can access a $6,345 education award through AmeriCorps to return to school or pay off existing qualified student loan debt.

This inaugural round of the EMC program will place service members in certified CDFIs, including CDFI credit unions and cooperativas, to support the mission of financial inclusion in underserved communities. The EMC service members will serve program clients while simultaneously expanding the CDFIs’ capacity to provide financial counseling, broadening the scale and impact of CDFI programs. In addition, LISC has awarded 4 grants to small, rural cooperativas to reduce the $13,250 match that each CDFI is required to provide as a cost-sharing for the EMC program.

Inclusiv staff were pivotal in outreach by sharing the information about the EMC, including hosting a bilingual webinar for cooperativas in Puerto Rico. As well, Inclusiv staff created a sample template that facilitated the application process, which exemplifies Inclusiv's dedicated technical assistance to make information more accessible to CDCUs. In total, LISC selected 8 Inclusiv member credit unions on the mainland and 16 cooperativas in Puerto Rico to participate in the program.

“Inclusiv is delighted that our credit union members are participating in the Economic Mobility Corps, created by the CDFI Fund with AmeriCorps and administered through our partner LISC. This joint initiative expands the capacity of these crucial financial institutions to build and deliver impact in the communities they serve. In the last two years, Inclusiv’s commitment to helping CDCUs understand and apply for CDFI certification in order to gain access to the funds and resources provided by the CDFI Fund has resulted in an exponential growth in our membership as well as an all-time high of 416 CDFI-certified CDCUs in the United States and Puerto Rico. This is a catalyst for new community development initiatives that will provide new economic opportunities for people," said Cathie Mahon, Inclusiv's President and CEO.

Inclusiv congratulates the 24 credit unions and cooperativas. We look forward to more amazing work advancing the mission of CDFI credit unions.

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