CDFI Fund: 2016 CDFI Prize Competition Now Open

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is calling for interested Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) or CDFI partners to submit ideas for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 CDFI Prize Competition. Up to $1 million is available for awards through the competition.

While CDFIs nationwide have made great strides to increase financial services, lending, and investment in low-income communities, there is much more work to be done. The FY 2016 CDFI Prize Competition aims to recognize and promote ideas that remove barriers to accessing capital in rural areas, especially areas of persistent poverty.

“Rural America has unique challenges when it comes to attracting investment capital and providing financial services,” said CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan. “The CDFI Fund is committed to finding and supporting breakthrough solutions to seemingly intractable problems. I look forward to submissions for our first Prize Competition, and know that CDFIs will come up with innovative approaches to improving access to capital for rural communities, especially those experiencing persistent poverty.”

The FY 2016 CDFI Prize Competition, run through the Challenge.gov website, is designed to encourage innovative approaches to building the capacity of CDFIs. Specifically, the prize competition will reward selected applicants with monetary prizes for proposing innovative ideas and approaches to increasing CDFI investment and access to capital in underserved rural areas.

Applicants must be a certified CDFI, a collaboration of CDFIs, or a non-CDFI partnering with a certified CDFI. The CDFI Fund envisions there will be two types of ideas or strategies submitted:

  1. An innovative idea or strategy, implemented within the past two years, that helped increase CDFI investments and access to capital in underserved rural areas; or
  2. An innovative idea or strategy that has not yet been implemented, but is reasonably expected to increase CDFI investments and access to capital in underserved rural areas.

The CDFI Fund may select multiple applicants to receive prizes totaling up to $1 million. Judges may also select entries for Honorable Mention based on the judging criteria in order to highlight and promote success stories and best practices.

FY 2016 Prize Competition submissions are due by July 29, 2016. Submissions will be accepted onlythrough Challenge.gov, a website created for federal prize and challenge competitions. To learn how to submit ideas, and the full requirements for applying, please visit the Challenge.gov website or follow the link here.

To learn more about the CDFI Fund, please visit www.cdfifund.gov.