Each year, the awards have
been accompanied by a statement that funding for them will be continued through 2011.
SocialFunds.com sought out Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of OFN, to learn if funding for the
awards program might be extended.
Responding via email, Pinsky wrote, "I'm pleased to say
that Wells Fargo has announced another five-year commitment. The Awards will go on from 2012
This year's recipient of a $5.5 million program-related investment and
unrestricted grant award is Coastal Enterprises
(CEI) of Wiscasset ME. CEI was awarded for its Working Partners initiative. The program uses
fee-sharing among CDFIs to expand the deployment of allocations to distressed communities through
the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program.
CEI plans to use the award to expand its
Working Partners initiative beyond the current eight members.
The Progress Fund of Greenburg PA received a $2.75 million
award for its Trail Town Program, which
seeks to revitalize trailside communities along the 132-mile Great Allegheny Passage. A regional
partnership that supports small businesses involved in outdoor recreation and tourism along the
popular 141-mile biking and hiking trail, the Trail Town Program has funded 61 new trail-related
businesses leading to the creation of 83 jobs.
The Progress Fund intends to use its award
money to expand the program and replicate the strategy elsewhere.
Pinsky of OFN said of
this year's awardees, "By sharing their visions for the future of the opportunity finance industry
they inspire their peers to develop their own NEXT-level projects. They are also advancing the
industry by serving the needs of more low-income, low-wealth, and disadvantaged people and
communities in innovative ways."