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August 01, 2012
Finalists for 2012 Wells Fargo NEXT Awards Announced
    by Robert Kropp

Three community development financial institutions are named as finalists for $8.25 million award to expand affordable housing, health care, or community facilities in distressed markets.

Since their launch in 2007, the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards have awarded $41.75 million to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that provide financial services in underserved low- and middle-income communities. Originally funded through a five-year commitment by Wells Fargo, the awards received a second five-year commitment last year. The annual awards are funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well.

This year's awards were also funded for the first time through a $10 million loan commitment by the Kresge Foundation. When he announced the commitment last December, Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson said, "We want to make capital available to help propel organizations that are, or can be, community assets along the path of long-term sustainability."

The awards are presented each October by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national network of more than 180 CDFIs. The three finalists for this year's award of $8.25 million were announced this week.

Clearinghouse CDFI, of Lake Forest, CA, was chosen as a finalist for its expansion into Nevada, where unemployment and single-family foreclosure rates are among the highest in the US. Clearinghouse announced in March the opening of a Nevada office, stating that it will concentrate its lending efforts in the areas of affordable housing, community facilities, faith-based projects, and small businesses.

The New York City-based Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) was selected for its plan to add 11,500 new supportive housing units during its expansion into ten underserved markets.

The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), also of New York City, plans to expand its affordable capital and technical assistance to community healthcare organizations beyond New York State to other underserved markets. PCDC projects that its expansion will result in 285 permanent jobs and expand patient capacity by 175,000 visits over three years.

Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of OFN, said, "The NEXT Awards has a five-year history of success in improving the flow of access to capital in low-income communities. In an increasingly challenging economic environment where funding is scarce, CDFI funding—and expansion—is needed more than ever to ensure that affordable and responsible financial products and services are available in more low-income markets across the US."


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