On July 7, 2011 the U.S. Department of the Treasury hosted a symposium to discuss economic revitalization through investment in community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
The event was a partnership between the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and Living Cities , and the focus was on the role of CDFIs in the Living Cities Integration Initiative .
The CDFI  Fund supports financial institutions that provide loans, investments, and technical assistance to underserved communities. Since its creation has awarded $1.11 billion to community development organizations and financial institutions. It has awarded allocations of New Markets Tax Credits, which will attract private-sector investments totaling $26 billion, including $1 billion of special allocation authority to be used for the recovery and redevelopment of the Gulf Opportunity Zone.
Living Cities is a collaborative of 22 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions who are working to revitalize American cities. The Integration Initiativewill provide $85 million in grants, below-market interest rate loans and commercial debt to spur public-private partnerships in Baltimore, MD, Cleveland, OH, Detroit, MI, Newark, NJ, and the Twin Cities region of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. In each community, the public, private, non-profit, and philanthropic sectors have agreed to tackle critical issues impeding access of low-income residents to education, housing, health care, transit, and jobs.
CDFIs play a pivotal role in the Integration Initiative. Living Cities' members from the financial services sector are providing the CDFIs with $55 million in commercial debt, and the Living Cities Catalyst Fund is providing an additional $16 million in below-market rate loans.
Those in attendance included: Derek Douglas, Special Assistant to the President for Urban Policy, White House Domestic Policy Council; Michael Strautmanis, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor for Strategic Engagement to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, White House Office of Public Engagement; The Honorable Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Donna J. Gambrell, Director, CDFI Fund, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Ben Hecht, Chief Executive Officer, Living Cities; and other federal officials from the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Transportation, the Small Business Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
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