August 20, 2010
MONTPELIER - The Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF), a 23-year old private, non-profit, mission-driven lender, has been awarded $750,000 in loan capital and technical assistance funds from the federal Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.
VCLF will use these funds to make loans and provide technical assistance to small businesses, community facilities, child care programs and affordable housing developers as part of the organization's ongoing work to strengthen Vermont's economy with on-the-ground financial support and business training.
"This grant from the CDFI Fund is a testament to VCLF's mission and the success we've had growing businesses and creating jobs, even during the recession," said Vermont Community Loan Fund Executive Director Will Belongia.
Created in 1994, the U.S. Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund invests in and builds the capacity of for-profit and non-profit community-based lending organizations like VCLF, known as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). These organizations serve rural and urban low-income, vulnerable people and communities. Four Vermont-based non-profit organizations received 2010 CDFI Fund grants, totaling $2.3 million in federal funding coming into the state through these awards.
"This grant has a multiplier effect, too," said VCLF's Belongia. "These funds will be loaned out to create more jobs, repaid, and re-loaned again and again, improving the wealth and well-being of hundreds of Vermonters. The ultimate impact is enormous for a small state like us. That is exactly the work VCLF has been doing for 23 years."
Vermont's Congressional delegation has been long-time advocates for both CDFIs and the Vermont Community Loan Fund.
"In one way or another, Vermonters have seen and felt the sting of the nationwide credit crunch," said U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy. "These funds provide targeted capital to some of the most vulnerable corners in a difficult economy - struggling small businesses, people looking to buy their first home, affordable housing developers and many others."
"Once again, Vermont is ahead of the curve in terms of innovative approaches to affordable financing for child care, housing, and business development," said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. "These grants will help extend financing and credit to those who traditionally lacked adequate access to these services."
Congressman Peter Welch, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce said, "This is great news for rural communities in Vermont, many of which face difficulty in accessing the necessary capital to invest in jobs, homes and businesses. These awards will allow institutions serving these communities to boost their lending capacity, creating jobs in the short-term and laying a solid foundation for long-term economic growth."