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Bank’s Community Development Team Hosts Investment Connection Session in D.C.

scene from the Investment Connection event in Washington D.C.

The Richmond Fed Community Development team recently hosted an Investment Connection Pitch Session that gave six nonprofits focused on small businesses and affordable housing an opportunity to connect with potential funders.

The program is part of the Bank’s Community Development mandate to increase access to capital by improving access to opportunities.

“Our goal is to connect you with banks and to advance the work you’re doing,” Richmond Fed Community Affairs Officer and Vice President of Development Carrie Cook told leaders of the presenting organizations who attended the October 13 event.

Those organizations showed up to showcase projects that serve, or could serve, residents of Washington, D.C.; and the potential funders who attended were officials from Community Development Funding Institutions (CDFIs), which routinely provide lending and other financial support to low- and moderate-income businesses.

“The Richmond Fed’s Investment Connection Pitch Sessions are usually open to all funders interested in projects that are eligible for Community Reinvestment Act funding; however, we chose to hone in on CDFIs for this particular event, given their proven track record of lending, and because all of their activities are CRA eligible due to their mission,” said Peter Dolkart, Richmond Fed Community Development manager for Greater Washington, D.C., Maryland and West Virginia.

The CDFI leaders who attended the pitch session, which was held on the campus of Howard University, heard presentations from the Latino Economic Development Corporation of Washington, D.C. (LEDC); Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif); NCRC Community Development Fund, Inc.; and ECDC Enterprises Development Group and Life Asset, Inc.

The projects they pitched included LEDC’s financial wellness program for women, Wacif’s project to secure affordable housing for D.C. residents in increasing affluent areas of the District, and ECDC’s micro-loan program to help small business owners and entrepreneurs of color with financing.

After each presentation, the organization leaders participated in a “speed dating” session with the CDFI officials present, moving from table to table to speak one-on-one with the potential funders and answer additional questions about their projects.

“It went well,” said Dolkart, who noted that this was the first in-person pitch session hosted by the Bank since fall 2019. That inaugural pitch session took place in Baltimore. 

The organizations who presented during the mid-October event expressed enthusiasm for the process and optimism about the possibilities, Dolkart said. “Most of the proposals received follow-up requests. The Bank’s Community Development team is excited to see what unfolds.”

To learn more about the Investment Connection program and about CRA-eligible projects that are available for funding year round, visit the Investment Connection funding portal.

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