Racial Equity Grant Fund
Inclusiv is a national network of nearly 400 credit unions serving over 14 million members with a mission of helping low- and moderate-income people and communities achieve financial independence through credit unions. At Inclusiv, we believe that true financial inclusion and empowerment is a fundamental right. We dedicate ourselves to closing the gaps and removing barriers to financial opportunities for people living in distressed and underserved communities. Inclusiv is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) intermediary that transforms local progress into lasting national change.
Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) are at the forefront of the struggle for racial equity in access to affordable financial services and credit. These credit unions are led by and serving Black American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and Native American communities. Inclusiv established the Racial Equity Grant Fund in 2020 to support minority designated credit unions under $100 million in assets as they continue to respond to their communities’ needs resulting from the pandemic and economic crises.
In January 2021, as part of a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Package, $12 billion in federal funding was dedicated for CDFIs and MDIs ensuring resources will be directed to some of the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Further, Inclusiv has launched a $20 million Racial Equity Investment Fund deploying secondary capital investments to expand economic relief and financial inclusion for credit unions that serve communities of color. This unprecedented level of investment into MDIs and CDFIs represents a huge opportunity in the year ahead.
Inclusiv is working to ensure MDIs can take advantage of these new, expanded sources of funding and investment. As a result, Inclusiv is dedicating the 2021 Racial Equity Grant Fund to support approximately 15-20 credit unions planning to pursue CDFI grants to grow their institutions and services to their communities.
The Inclusiv Racial Equity Grant Fund has been made possible through support from by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bank of America, Capital One Financial Corporation, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, and Prudential Financial. This 2021 funding round is made possible by Capital One, Bank of America, and Inclusiv. Inclusiv is continuing to raise resources from philanthropic organizations to support the Racial Equity Grant Fund.
This is an opportunity for MDIs to receive funding that will allow them to expand the scope and reach of their services for communities of color. We encourage all MDIs to submit proposals for consideration if they meet the following characteristics:
- Community development credit union whose board and field of membership are majority people of color. This will be determined based on minority designation according to National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), or if applicants can otherwise demonstrate that they meet the criteria for Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).
- According to the NCUA, a credit union may designate as an MDI if more than 50 percent of its current members, eligible potential members, and board of directors are from one of four minority categories (Asian American, Black American, Hispanic American, or Native American).
- For this special limited funding round, we are targeting credit unions and cooperativas with under $50 million in assets as of year-end 2020.
- Member of Inclusiv or will join Inclusiv’s CDCU network prior to receiving the grant.
Additional priority areas during the proposal evaluation process will include the following:
- Inclusiv seeks to support a cohort of credit unions that reflect the diversity of the credit union movement. We seek applications from credit unions and cooperativas serving rural and/or urban communities, and institutions serving Black American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and/or Native American communities.
- Credit unions that have received CDFI Fund awards in 2020 or 2021 are not eligible along with credit unions that have received more than $10,000 in combined funding from Inclusiv in the past 3 years.
- Credit unions that articulate a strong vision for how they will leverage external funding and/or investments to grow services in their community.
- The maximum grant amount is $20,000, and proposed budgets will be requested as part of the Request for Proposal.
Eligible uses include consulting services, infrastructure and operational expenses, and costs associated with expanding economic resilience efforts in communities of color across the US including but not limited to:
- Consulting support to help the credit union become CDFI certified and/or apply for CDFI funding
- Strategic or business planning to help the credit union meet changing and evolving needs of the community
- Technology and infrastructure investments, including hardware and software, for credit union operations or to expand digital banking services
- Other related initiatives
All credit unions who are awarded funds will be expected to:
- Provide a report on the use and impact of the funds provided to the credit union between September 2021-August 2022.
- If not CDFI certified: Demonstrate a commitment to becoming CDFI certified by completing a streamlined or standard CDFI certification application and/or completing a CDFI eligibility analysis through Inclusiv before the grant term ends in August 2022.
- Inclusiv has a network of consultants available to assist with CDFI certification at a reduced rate of $1,000. This is an optional service available upon request.
- Uncertified grantees must also attend at least one of the weekly CDFI office hours offered through Inclusiv in 2021.
- If CDFI certified: Complete a free Annual Certification and Data Collection Report (ACR) through Inclusiv and apply for a grant offered by the CDFI Fund or Treasury in 2022.
- Participate in at least 3 grantee engagement activities such as technical assistance calls, webinars, trainings, and the Inclusiv Virtual Conference. Technical assistance may include topics such as obtaining CDFI certification, grant application assistance, and raising capital and will be tailored to address the credit union’s specific needs.
- Inclusiv encourages all grantees to develop or update strategic plans. Technical assistance and support will be available to help begin that initial process.
The deadline to submit an application is Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Grantees will receive notification and awards will be distributed by September. Please feel free to send any application related questions to Monica Copeland at email@example.com (English applications) or René Vargas Martínez at firstname.lastname@example.org (Spanish applications).
If you have general questions about the Racial Equity Grant Fund, or if you would like to support the Racial Equity Fund, contact Monica Copeland, Senior Program Officer, at email@example.com.