FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth is backing an effort to push millions of dollars in business funding into communities where people might struggle to get financing from traditional sources.
The program will introduce entrepreneurs, developers and non-profits to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). Instead of being solely profit-driven, CFDI’s are committed to working with underserved people and communities.
The expectation is CDFI’s could move as much as $250 million into the city in the next five years, more than seven times what people in the city received between 2005 and 2019. Fort Worth ranks behind Dallas, and behind the state average, in the amount of CDFI money that has been available.
“And that’s frustrating because we know that their capacity is so much bigger,” said city mayor Mattie Parker at a kick off event Wednesday.
Parker credited the city’s diversity and inclusion, and economic development staff, with advancing CDFI’s after a survey showed there was a gap in funding to entrepreneurs of color. Industry data shows CDFI’s provide about 60-percent of their funding to people of color.
Already 15 institutions have committed to participating, up from just two or three previously. 85 applications for funding have been received.
Mark Pinsky from CDFI Friendly America said it the organization will work to help develop a network and determine what the priorities are for need over the next six months.
The city has provided an initial amount of $3 million to get the effort started.