It's been a very eventful 2023, and as it draws to a close we've asked our team to share a few of their wishes for 2024. Happy New Year!
I wish that the CDFI Fund would resume the historical practice of opening the annual FA grant in February. Opening the grant during the holidays is no fun for CDFIs or, presumably, for the CDFI Fund staff.
My wish for the new year is for everyone to have equitable access to financial services, and for the elimination of food insecurity.
I’m happy to share that I have already received my wish for this year in that when I decided to make a career change earlier this year, the item at the top of my list was finding an organization that I felt was making a large impact for good. In the short time I have been with CU Strategic Planning, that impact is not only evidenced by the nearly $1 billion in funds that they have helped CDFI credit unions obtain, but also in the attitude in which it is done. They are willing to stand up for those less fortunate by using their talents, background, and other skills to help tell the story of how our credit unions are already helping the underserved plus how they can do more with additional resources. My wish for 2024 is that we celebrate not only hitting the $1 billion mark together but are reminded of the thousands upon thousands of families who are impacted by this work through the many CDFI credit unions who are willing to look at things through a different lens and stand in the gap for those who need a helping hand.
This year, I find myself reflecting on the incredible sense of community that makes our CDFI credit unions truly special. In the spirit of the season, I have a heartfelt Christmas wish: to help credit unions continue to build partnerships that not only brighten the holidays, but also create lasting impacts on the communities we cherish. Imagine a world where every partnership brings forth not just joy but tangible support—referrals, resources, financial education and more. Together, my wish can transform into a reality! Our community economic development summits explore synergies and resources and forge partnerships that create community collaboration magic.
I wish for:
All CDFI credit unions to retain their certification and even more credit unions nationwide to earn this powerful designation.
Every community in America to have access to a CDFI.
An even greater recognition from the CDFI Fund of the importance of Financial Services among low income consumers.
A calendar that lists when grant opportunities will be released (give me a two week window) so that I can plan for business needs and vacation time.
I wish that, now that the CDFI Fund has released its new certification application, more credit unions will become CDFIs to better served their underserved communities.
My wish for 2024 is that all have a chance to open mainstream financial accounts and have access to Financial Services that improve their lives and help keep money in the pockets of those who need it most.