Wells Fargo NEXT Awards announced for 2014

16 September 2014

THREE COMMUNITY LENDERS WIN $8.25 MILLION TO TACKLE THE NATIONAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS

The NEXT Awards Provides Millions of Dollars to CDFIs to Expand Affordable Housing for Disadvantaged Families and Individuals

ofn-next-award2014-300w(PHILADELPHIA, September 17, 2014) –The Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance announced today that it will award $8.25 million to three CDFIs– Florida Community Loan Fund, New Jersey Community Capital, and Rural Community Assistance Corporation– to expand affordable housing across the U.S. The Awardees are community development financial institutions (CDFIs), mission-driven community lenders, with innovative strategies to preserve and expand affordable housing in the disadvantaged rural, urban, and Native communities they serve.

The NEXT Awards recognizes CDFIs working in bold, new ways to expand coverage of responsible financial products and services in their communities. This year, the prestigious awards program focuses on the Future of Housing Finance and spotlights three CDFIs with compelling solutions to the affordable housing finance crisis.

Allison Clark, associate director of impact investing for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and NEXT Selection Committee Member said, "The housing crash that occurred several years ago still resonates today– especially in the distressed communities CDFIs serve– which is why the NEXT Awards is focusing on innovation in housing finance. We see a tremendous need in this sector and believe that these outstanding Awardees have developed promising products and services to help address that need."

The Awardees are:

Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF): Orlando, FL  FCLF won a $4 million NEXT Opportunity Award to expand its Florida Preservation Fund. This innovative program offers developers and property owners loans to purchase, rehabilitate, and keep multifamily rental properties affordable. FCLF's program focuses on smaller projects of 5-100 units, with a special emphasis on those with of 5-50 units because they are prevalent across Florida, but it is difficult to find financing for them. FCLF will use its NEXT Award to expand the program statewide, and develop new affordable housing loan products. FCLF projects $25 million in new financing over the next three years, which will fund up to 30 projects and preserve up to 900 units of affordable rental housing.

New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC): New Brunswick, NJ  NJCC won a $2.25 million NEXT Opportunity Award to expand its groundbreaking ReStart initiative, which prevents foreclosures and stabilizes communities. ReStart leverages private capital to bulk purchase underwater mortgages to create or preserve affordable housing by modifying homeowners' mortgages to keep them in their homes, or by rehabilitating vacant properties as affordable rentals or for-sale affordable housing. With its award, NJCC will expand the program in New Jersey, bringing support to 200 homeowners and repurposing an additional 200 affordable, multi-unit rental properties.

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC): Sacramento, CA  RCAC won a $2 million NEXT Opportunity Award to expand its Development Solutions initiative. Development Solutions boosts development of affordable multi-family housing in underserved rural and Native communities in 13 western states. RCAC's award will enable it to fill a critical gap – playing new roles as a developer, guarantor, and partner – to build the capacity of local nonprofit partners. Program expansion will increase the supply of safe, quality affordable housing, especially on tribal lands. RCAC intends to complete $74 million in activity in FY 2015 and FY 2016, delivering more affordable housing and deeper impact in rural markets in the western U.S.

"The NEXT Selection Committee was impressed by the breadth and depth of the Awardees' strategies; they have each developed a unique solution to help solve the same problem – the shortage of affordable housing in the distinct communities they serve," said Lesley Eckstein, executive vice president and head of Community Lending and Investment at Wells Fargo. "On behalf of the Committee, we thank these CDFIs for their commitment to delivering safe, affordable housing to individuals and families."

Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) presents the NEXT Awards with generous support from Wells Fargo and the John D. and Catherine T. Mac Arthur Foundation. The NEXT Awards will honor the Awardees on Wednesday, October 15 at the OFN 30th Anniversary Conference in Denver, CO.

"What's important about the NEXT Awards this year is providing financing to CDFIs to help keep housing affordable in some of the hardest-hit communities in the country," said Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network. "These creative and innovative CDFIs have developed scalable, replicable models which provide more than affordable housing – they offer hope, and opportunity for all."

About the Awards

The Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance celebrate the CDFI industry– its creativity, accomplishments, and enduring importance.

Launched in 2007, the NEXT Awards have celebrated the innovation of the nation's most promising CDFIs by awarding more than $58 million through a competitive awards process over the last seven years.

It is the nation's largest awards program for CDFIs and in 2014 it will award $8.35 million dollars through two award poolsThe NEXT Opportunity Award and the NEXT Seed Capital Award– to high-performing CDFIs to expand their coverage strategies related to the Future of Housing Finance. Each year the NEXT Awards culminates in a ceremony at OFN's Annual Conference to spotlight Awardees and the entire CDFI industry.

About the Groups Behind the Awards

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.6 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune's 2014 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy all our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. MacArthur has been a leading supporter of the Opportunity Finance field since the early 1980s, investing nearly $250 million in approximately 100 groups nationwide. More information is available at: www.macfound.org.

About Opportunity Finance Network (OFN): OFN, the leading network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low- income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2012, OFN's Network originated more than $33.3 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed development/rehab of 960,000 housing units, started or expanded nearly 94,000 business and microenterprises, and helped create or maintain nearly 600,000 jobs. More information is available at: www.ofn.org


Read the full press release here.

"FCLF shows a clear strategy and demonstrated evidence of addressing prevalent community needs." – J. Reymundo Ocañas, Director, Corp Responsibility

BBVA Compass

"BankUnited understands the challenges facing our communities; we applaud FCLF's efforts. Thank you for making our community a better place to live." – Katrina Wright, VP Comm. Dev.

BankUnited

"We're thrilled to partner with FCLF to make our project a reality to serve generations of kids in our community." – Dawn Stanhope, President & CEO

Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County

"FCLF plays a significant role in sustaining vibrant and thriving communities. We are pleased to support your ongoing community based efforts." – Ernie Diaz, South Florida Market President

TD Charitable Foundation

"FCLF was instrumental in making this important project a reality, bringing us one step closer to ending chronic homelessness in Miami-Dade County." – Dr. Paul A. Ahr, President & CEO

Camillus House

"FCLF understands and is a part of what we are doing: helping families have the American dream of owning a home." – Isaac Simhon, Executive Director

Housing Programs, Inc.

“Thanks to FCLF adults with disabilities are living independently, fully included in their community." – Sheryl Soukup, Exec Dir

Residential Options of Florida

“We cannot thank FCLF enough for this partnership, creating permanent housing for our neighbors in need, and their commitment to Florida communities.” – Shannon Nazworth, President & CEO

Ability Housing

"Our partnership with FCLF allows us to build an attractive, state of the art facility that patients, staff, and community will be proud of." – Bakari Burns, President-CEO

Orange Blossom Family Health

“FCLF addresses local community needs, which aligns with our core values. We appreciate your commitment to our communities.” – Mellissa Slover-Athey, Comm Reinv Ofcr

CenterState Bank

"FCLF is a difference maker! Their team provides solutions to bring about real change in a community." – Tim Marks, President & CEO

Metropolitan Ministries

"FCLF understood our context, embraced the project vision, and were willing to make an investment that others deemed as too risky." – Lynn Brockwell-Carey, Executive Director

Brevard Neighborhood Development Coaliti…

"FCLF staff shares our vision and commitment to serve needy families and provide a high quality education to all children." – Thomas Cole, Founder

Emma Jewel Charter Academy

"FCLF has a keen knowledge of Florida challenges & opportunities. We are confident our investment will be used to improve lives." – Kathleen Rizzo Young, Sr. VP, Community Development

HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

"We couldn't achieve our mission of creating strong neighborhoods without FCLF's help. Their staff is always friendly, quick to respond, and efficient." – Bonnye Deese, Executive Director

BAND

"We consider FCLF a valued partner and strong advocates for low-income communities and families. We look forward to many more years of working together." – Jennifer Westerbeck, Vice President

US Bancorp CDC

“The partnership with FCLF is very exciting for us – an essential component in providing greater access to fresh healthy food in downtown New Port Richey.” – Jeff Wright, Owner

Wright's Natural Market

"We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with FCLF and working together to meet the needs of our communities." – Nancy Merolla, VP/CRA Officer

Florida Community Bank

"Aida Palms will be a lasting asset to the City of Lakeland. This revitalization wouldn't be possible without financing partners like FCLF." – Mitchell Rosenstein, Principal, Green Mills Group

Aida Palms

"I recommend FCLF for attracting investment to the Florida Preservation Fund... I believe that says something about investor comfort." – Nancy Muller, Policy Director

Florida Housing Finance Corp.

Our Partners

Million Meals 2012
FCLF staff and supporters volunteer at Million Meals event.
FCLF at Florida Housing Conference
FCLF Staff are on hand at conferences and events to discuss our programs.
Metro Min Grand Opening
FCLF staff with local supporters at Metropolitan Ministries Tampa.
TD Charitable Foundation, TD Bank
TD Charitable Foundation and TD Bank have supported FCLF's mission since 2006.
ASPIRA of Florida Aspirantes
ASPIRA of Florida offers education & mentoring with a focus on low-income and Latino students.
TD Bank Charitable Foundation
Support from TD Bank Charitable Foundation helps FCLF build strong communities.
KIPP Jacksonville
Rep. Ander Crenshaw visited KIPP Jacksonville School
ASPIRA of Florida and FCLF
FCLF CEO and one of our supporters visit the ASPIRA Arts Deco school.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee
FCLF staff and US Legislative staff at an event honoring Youth of the Year.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee
FCLF and NMTC are creating a new facility for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County
Neighbor Up, Affordable Housing
Neighbor Up, formerly BNDC, offers affordable housing in Brevard County.
DuPuis Pointe Miami
DuPuis Pointe offers affordable, hurricane proof homes in Miami.
Haley Park Construction
FCLF projects create jobs and stimulate development in low-income communities.
FCLF at Florida Housing Conference
FCLF staff are active at statewide conferences and events.
Greater Heights Resident
FCLF Financing to Neighbor Up Brevard helps provide affordable rental housing.
Axiom Bank
Support from Axiom Bank helps FCLF build strong communities.
FLACDC Conference
FCLF Staff meet and greet friends at an FLACDC event.
Emma Jewel Charter Academy
Nutritious snacks are a part of the healthy focused curriculum at Emma Jewel Charter Academy.
Casa San Juan Bosco and FCLF
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, financed the land for farmworker rental housing with FCLF.
Mathis Place Resident
Residents at Neighborhood Renaissance's Mathis Place enjoy affordable rent.
Valley Bank
Support from Valley Bank helps FCLF build strong communities.
RCRI Conference 2012
The RCRI Conference allows FCLF staff to touch base with our religious supporters.
FCLF Board and Staff
FCLF Board Members represent our investors, borrowers, and technical experts.
MTZ Carver Construction
FCLF projects create jobs and stimulate development in low-income communities.
FCLF and Rep. Webster
Rep. Daniel Webster visited FCLF staff.
Casa San Juan Bosco and FCLF
New rental homes are available for farmworker families at Casa San Juan Bosco.
BNDC Greater Heights
Greater Heights offers new, safe, affordable rental homes in what was formerly a high crime area.
Housing Programs, Inc.
FCLF financing to Housing Programs, Inc. helps provide affordable homes for ownership.
FCLF and Florida Housing Coalition
FCLF representatives are ready to talk about your project success.
Northern Trust Roundtable
FCLF supporter, the Northern Trust Company, hosted a housing roundtable in Sarasota.
Neighbor Up and FCLF
FCLF Chief Lending Officer visits with the Executive Director of Neighbor Up (formerly BNDC)
duPont Fund and FCLF
The duPont Fund used FCLF and NMTC Financing to revitalize downtown Jacksonville.
Emma Jewel Academy and FCLF
Emma Jewel Charter Academy offers education for the whole child in Brevard County.
Armature Works
FCLF and the NMTC Program renovated a historic building into a small business incubaor.
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Core Purpose FCLF exists to maximize opportunities for people and places outside of the economic mainstream.
Our Vision Opportunity and dignity exist for every person and community in Florida.
Our Mission Our expertise and capital make projects successful and help organizations improve lives and communities.