CDFI Program awardees

Stephen Westbrooks, IFF; Shawna Collier, Justine Petersen; and Tracy Verner, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

The U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Program Fund recently awarded $4.4 million in grants to three Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) serving underserved communities in St. Louis: 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, Great Rivers Community Capital/Justine Petersen, and IFF.

The CDFI Program invests in and builds the capacity of credit unions and loan funds to serve low-income people and underserved communities lacking adequate access to affordable financial products and services.

Grant awards allow CDFIs to sustain and expand their financial products and services and can be used to achieve objectives such as, an increase in volume of products or services, to provide new products or services, expand operations into new geographic areas or service new targeted populations.

All three awarded CDFIs are members of the St. Louis CDFI Coalition, a partnership among eight institutions that offer an array of capital, development, and consulting services and share a common mission to empower a comprehensively healthy St. Louis community through support for nonprofits, small businesses, and communities facing disinvestment.

The coalition was born out of several calls from the Ferguson Commission report, including enhanced access to banking in order to build equity. All coalition members offer mission-driven loans and other resources which are more flexible and accessible than traditional financing. Loans and resources through these institutions are deployed across the region into some of St. Louis’ most economically distressed communities.

Established in 1968, 1st Financial Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial cooperative. Membership is available to anyone who lives, works, or worships within St. Charles county, St. Louis county, or the City of St. Louis.

Justine Petersen partners with mainstream financial institutions, public entities and philanthropic organizations to impact the lives of families throughout the United States through credit building, home ownership and small business development

IFF is a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant, and developer that helps communities thrive by creating opportunities for low-income populations and individuals with disabilities. Since 1988, IFF has provided $701.6 million in flexible, affordable financing to nonprofits

In 2019 the CDFI Fund awarded $182,471,140 to 321 organizations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

CDFI Fund Director Jodie Harris said that “almost half of the awarded organizations have chosen to provide services in areas of persistent poverty, which will lead to significant impact for residents in some of the most distressed communities nationwide." 

For more information visit www.thebetterwaytobank.org, www.justinepetersen.org or https://iff.org/.

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