Coastal Enterprises Inc. is pleased to announce that it will receive a $5.5 million combined loan and grant from the country’s largest and most coveted awards program for community development financial institutions (CDFIs), the Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance. CEI will use this award to bolster local rural economies and stimulate job creation and retention in disadvantaged and rural communities via expansion of its innovative Working Partners Initiative.
The NEXT Awards recognize pioneering work by CDFIs, which are market-based, private sector financial intermediaries that provide financing to low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged communities. CEI will be recognized at a celebration on November 15 at Opportunity Finance Network’s (OFN’s) 27th Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN.
“I commend CEI on its NEXT financing strategy,” said Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, “By sharing its vision for the future of the opportunity finance industry this CDFI will inspire its peers to develop their own NEXT-level projects. CEI is also advancing the industry by serving the needs of more low-income, low-wealth, and disadvantaged people and communities in innovative ways.”
“This award allows us to expand our Working Partners Initiative with CEI Capital Management LLC, our New Markets Tax Credit subsidiary. This initiative is focused in Maine and other rural regions of the U.S. and aimed at financing rural businesses, community facilities and affordable housing – all of which drive job creation and sustainable economic development when properly capitalized” says Ron Phillips, President and CEO of CEI. “Working Partners will satisfy our triple bottom line criteria for economic, social, and environmental returns, so growth of these businesses inherently fosters strong and vibrant communities. CEI is honored to receive this prestigious award”.
Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT funds will leverage other private and public sources, creating as much as $40 million of additional lending and investing activity for the participating Working Partners.
With these funds, CEI can continue to invest in businesses and communities in rural and underserved areas, financing such projects as:
- Axiom Technologies in Machias, which employs 12 and is bringing broadband internet to rural communities in Washington County;
- Tide Mill Enterprises in Edmunds, a ninth-generation organic farm and sustainable logging operation;
- Looks Gourmet in Whiting, with 26 employees creating value-added natural resource products like gourmet fish chowders, meats and sauces marketed through Whole Foods and other national distributors;
- New England Outdoor Center, based in Millinocket, which employs 25 year round and 45 seasonal workers, and provides outdoor experiences for adventure seekers, families, and wildlife enthusiasts; and
- Mano en Mano, in Milbridge, providing quality, affordable housing for 6 migrant worker families in the blueberry, lobster and clam harvesting sectors.
These are just a few examples of how CEI’s work has positively affected economic development in rural Maine. Receiving the Wachovia Wells Fargo Next award allows CEI to continue and expand this work, bringing more jobs and opportunities to underserved and undercapitalized rural areas across the country.
The Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance is operated by and funded through OFN by The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The awards recognize excellence among financial institutions that responsibly serve low-income and low-wealth people and communities, and were established to spotlight how CDFIs increasingly benefit the nation’s economy.
A distinguished national selection committee chose CEI from a highly competitive field of top-level CDFIs located across the country.
More information about the Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance is available at www.nextawards.org. To arrange an interview with Ron Phillips, President and CEO of CEI, of please contact Merritt Carey at 207.828.4882 or email@example.com.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
In 2007, the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation made a $16.75 million grant and the MacArthur Foundation made a $25 million low-cost, long-term loan to Opportunity Finance Network to fund the Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance, inaugurated in 2007. Each year from 2007 through 2011, the Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance has included:
- A $5.5 million program-related investment (low-cost loan) and unrestricted grant award to an outstanding, high-potential CDFI with more than $50 million in assets dedicated to lending or investing;
- A $2.75 million program-related investment and unrestricted grant award to an outstanding, high-potential CDFI with $10-$50 million in assets dedicated to lending or investing, and
- Four $25,000 unrestricted grant awards to CDFIs of any size that have demonstrated excellence in Innovation, Advocacy, Financing, and Community Impact.
ABOUT THE PARTNERS
The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation is a private foundation that provides grants to eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations to support the following focus areas: Education, Community Development, Health/Human Services, Arts/Culture, Civic and Environment. The mission of the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive difference.
The 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.
Opportunity Finance Network (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. Opportunity Finance Network originated more than $23.2 billion in financing in non-conforming urban, rural, and Native communities through 2009, which generated or maintained 298,511 jobs; 60,261 businesses and microenterprises; 635,528 housing units; and 6,465 community facility projects. More information is available at:
ABOUT COASTAL ENTERPRISES, INC.
Since 1977, CEI has created economic opportunity for low income people, primarily in rural regions and small towns in Maine. CEI has provided over $677 million in financing to 2,104 enterprises leveraging over $1.5 billion for micro, small and medium enterprises, value-added processing in natural resource industries of farms, fish and forests, and community facilities; and, affordable housing projects that provide income, employment and ownership opportunities to low income people and communities. CEI’s mission is to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.