Inclusiv's 2021 Racial Equity Grant Fund Awardees Announced
Inclusiv is pleased to announce that 34 credit unions and cooperativas have been awarded a total of $320,000 from the Inclusiv Racial Equity Grant Fund. The fund was previously launched as the Inclusiv Resilience Grant Fund in June 2020 to help credit unions led by and serving people of color provide financial relief to consumers and small businesses affected by the pandemic.
Last year, 59 credit unions and cooperativas were awarded $1 million for coronavirus financial relief, including fee waivers; emergency low-interest loans; technology enhancements; marketing; financial coaching and counseling; and strategic and business planning. The 2020 grantees delivered over $20 million in economic relief to their members. They also received technical assistance from Inclusiv to successfully apply for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund’s Rapid Response Program (RRP) earlier this year - 35 of the Racial Equity Fund recipients were awarded over $46 million in RRP funds to support the growth of these minority-designated institutions.
Inclusiv’s Racial Equity Grant Fund is a key part of our continued commitment to investing in communities of color that have been historically underserved. The 2021 grantees collectively represent 39,109 members and nearly $232 million in community-controlled assets. The award recipients are based in 10 states throughout the country, and 8 of the awardees are located in the rural south. Twelve of the grantees are cooperativas based in Puerto Rico.
"Minority depository institutions are crucial to the financial security of their members and communities, and many of them are frequently the sole source of responsible capital in communities of color. Every day, MDIs help to create jobs, grow small businesses, and build wealth. Investments in this network have immediate and real impact," said Cathie Mahon, Inclusiv's President and CEO.
In January 2021, as part of the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package, $12 billion in federal funding was dedicated for CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), ensuring resources will be directed to some of the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Inclusiv focused this recent round of the Racial Equity Grant Fund on helping MDIs and cooperativas under $50 million in assets become CDFI certified and position themselves to access federal funding. Thirty-two of the 34 Racial Equity Grant Fund recipients are not yet CDFI certified. Funds from the grant will be a tool that helps credit unions access services and resources to receive CDFI certification and participate in this huge opportunity in 2022.
"Southern Teachers & Parents Federal Credit Union recognizes the benefits of CDFI certification. Access to federal funding from the CDFI Fund will further bolster the work that we are already doing - serving the underserved - in Baton Rouge and Thibodaux, Louisiana. We were concerned that we did not qualify for the streamlined CDFI certification process. But, with funds from the Inclusiv’s Racial Equity Grant, we will be able to hire an experienced consultant who can assist us with the standard CDFI certification application," said Jama Haynes, President/CEO of Southern Teachers & Parents FCU.
Other eligible uses of the Racial Equity Grant Fund include strategic and business planning to meet the changing and evolving needs of the community and technology and infrastructure investments to support credit unions. Five credit union recipients are located in Louisiana, which was hard-hit by Hurricane Ida in August 2021. The funds will be used in the credit unions’ recovery as well as recommencing and updating services. Inclusiv staff will also provide the grantees with ongoing technical assistance and capacity-building support.
The 2021 Racial Equity Grant funding round was made possible by Capital One, Bank of America, and Inclusiv. Capital One's $150,000 commitment amplifies the crucial work led in communities of color by CDFIs and MDIs and continues to support rural, southern credit unions.
If you have questions about the Racial Equity Grant Fund, or if you would like to learn about ways to support the growth and expansion of the Racial Equity Fund, please contact Monica Copeland, Senior Program Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the Racial Equity Grant Fund, Inclusiv launched a $20 million Racial Equity Investment Fund deploying secondary capital investments to expand economic relief and financial inclusion for credit unions that serve communities of color. Interested supporters can contact Cathi Kim, Director of Inclusiv/Capital, at email@example.com.