President and CEO Jane Henderson was pleased to share news of three national grant awards in early December at Virginia Community Capital (VCC): $415,000 from the 2012 Bank Enterprise Award Program; $32,750 from the Create Jobs for USA Fund, a collaboration between Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN); and $20,000 from the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards Program.
For the fourth consecutive year, Community Capital Bank of Virginia, a regulated bank and subsidiary of VCC, will receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund through the 2012 Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) Program. This year’s funding, $415,000, will provide crucial leverage for a wide range of projects across Virginia. The grant was announced on November 27 and 59 institutions across the country received awards.
“The BEA grant is an invaluable tool in our ongoing efforts to supply community development lending and service activities in qualified low income areas,” Henderson explained. “This assistance is leveraged on many levels to expand impact, particularly as we focus on Main Street revitalization and job creation.”
The CDFI Fund was established in 1994 and has awarded more than $1.7 billion through its community development offerings including the BEA Program, a CDFI Program, and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program.
Create Jobs for USA, a Starbucks and OFN Collaboration
In November 2011, VCC was named a grant recipient in a new national initiative funded by Starbucks and OFN. Create Jobs for USA is designed to direct new financing to businesses so they can hire and preserve jobs. VCC was one of just 28 CDFIs in the nation to win a grant in the inaugural funding round. Over the past year, the $173,500 capital grant was deployed on a variety of projects including renovation of Suburbia Fairfax (now known as West Wood Oaks), and preserving an affordable housing complex under threat from possible conversion to high-dollar real estate in Northern Virginia. On December 3, VCC received notification from OFN of an additional $32,750 grant as part of the Create Jobs for USA program, for a total of $206,250 to date.
The Create Jobs for USA Fund was launched on November 2, 2011 with a $5 million grant from the Starbucks Foundation. Through the past year, OFN and Starbucks have assembled an additional $10 million, engaging numerous national partners like Banana Republic, Citi, Google Offers, Master Card, and the Schultz Family Foundation. One hundred percent of the fund will be distributed to CDFIs to help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities.
Wells Fargo NEXT Awards
The Wells Fargo NEXT Awards, through the generous support from Wells Fargo and The Kresge Foundation, seeks to celebrate innovation by promising CDFIs. This week, VCC received the maximum amount in a $20,000 planning grant to fund research and develop an implementation plan to address the food desert currently existing in Richmond’s East End.. VCC was one of only six organizations across the country to r eceive an award.
“VCC has been working on a Healthy Food effort for the past year and this award will help to advance our progress significantly,” Henderson noted. Partners in this process have included The Food Trust, providing industry-specific technical assistance to build capacity for product and service development. VCC also received technical assistance from OFN focused exclusively on healthy corner stores, utilizing national best practices.
VCC will use the resources from the Wells Fargo NEXT Opportunity Planning Grant to develop a strategy addressing the food challenges in Richmond’s East End. Specifically, VCC will leverage its Advisory Services and Lending teams to design, promote, and execute on a healthy foods corner store initiative, where existing retail operations are encouraged to provide healthy food options to the residents of this underserved community.