Field Empowerment Fund

2021 applications are closed

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The 2021 Field Empowerment Fund awardees are:

Access Plus Capital
Fresno, California
Access Plus Capital (APC) will build credit counseling capacity in the region, which currently does not exist except for clients of the local housing authority. APC will hire a person with this expertise, who will train APC’s Business Services team and partner organizations on credit counseling.

Birmingham Business Resource Center
Birmingham, Alabama
The Birmingham Business Resource Center’s (BBRC) Supplier Diversity Program will help to remove the barriers to gaining government and private sector contracts by increasing access to capital, skills, networks and markets.

Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation
Oakland, California
Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation will launch a set of comprehensive programming (from rapid response to community currency and small business development/innovation) to combat economic fallout within Oakland’s Black community, particularly in East Oakland.

Bridging Communities, Inc.
Detroit, Michigan
Bridging Communities, Inc. (BCI) will continue to navigate residents through rental assistance, utility assistance, mortgage modification, budgeting, property tax foreclosure, financial counseling (first-time home buyers and others), as well as through programs by the city of Detroit.

Capital Area Asset Building Corporation
Washington, D.C.
Capital Area Asset Building Corporation will increase capacity to support emergency needs for families most affected by the pandemic and will address the social determinants of health that have led to the disparate impact of the pandemic on BIPOC individuals.

Coalition for Non Profit Housing and Economic Development
Washington, D.C.
Coalition for Non Profit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED) will ensure sustained or increased investments by the D.C. government in key affordable housing and economic development programs. This includes at least $100 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF), and funding in support of the plan to end homelessness, and support small businesses and the workforce system.

Community First Fund
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Community First Fund, a nonprot CDFI, strives to create financial equity through wealth-building opportunities for individuals and business owners, especially people of color and immigrants in eastern Pennsylvania.

Community Link Programs Of Traveler Aid Society Of Central Carolinas Inc.
Charlotte, North Carolina
To better serve low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers of color in the Charlotte, NC, region, Community Link Programs Of Traveler Aid Society Of Central Carolinas Inc. will expand its asset-building program to three more counties. This program includes culturally sensitive homeownership education/counseling and foreclosure prevention assistance.

Community of Caring CDC & Greater Linden Business Network
Columbus, Ohio
The Community of Caring CDC & Greater Linden Business Network is engaged in advocacy and implementation for food, housing and commercial development in Linden, OH. The economic future of Linden and its ability to resist gentrification depends on the resiliency of its businesses. These businesses need the most basic services and have joined together through the Greater Linden Business Network for help.

Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc.
Tampa, Florida
Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc.’s Nehemiah Legacy program will be catalytic, by focusing on housing and commercial development, safety and resident engagement as well as workforce and small business development. The target area will be the highest concentrations of poverty in Tampa and St- Pete (East Tampa CRA and South St. Petersburg CRA).

Economic and Community Development Institute
Columbus, Ohio
Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) will provide underserved communities with loan and grant products and programming tailored to each phase — triage, weathering the storm, and recovery. Over the coming year, ECDI will begin to transition from phase 2 to 3. In addition to PPP lending, ECDI will create recovery loan products. Their four Women’s Business Centers will provide COVID-response programs and PPP TA and training, helping ensure every PPP loan is forgiven

Federation Of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, Inc.
Berea, Kentucky
The Federation Of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, Inc. will implement and scale-up a micro-mortgage pilot program targeted towards low-wealth households to enable easier access to affordable housing & wealth-building through homeownership.

Hartford Community Loan Fund
Hartford, Connecticut
The Hartford Community Loan Fund will help low wealth developers and developers of color to more readily purchase and rehab vacant and blighted properties in Hartford. The properties, to be acquired at a minimal cost from Hartford Land Bank, will then be sold to first-time homebuyers.

Latino Economic Development Corporation
Washington, D.C.
The Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) will invest in debt reduction payments on behalf of 150 of its small business borrowers who are at high risk for business closure. The funds would then be recycled as no-cost (0%), deferred consumer loans capped at $5,000 to minority small business owners needing assistance with a COVID-induced financial issue that puts their business operations at-risk.

Grand Rapids, Michigan
LINC UP will address inequities by expanding production of for-sale homes through the construction of townhomes/duplexes, advocating for zoning changes to reduce barriers to affordable construction, bank products for affordable homeownership, and by increasing the capacity of minority-owned construction Firms

Local Enterprise Assistance Fund
Boston, Massachusetts
Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF) will deliver technical assistance to women and veterns in communities of color in Greater Boston, and will deploy $100,000 in loan capital in the same target market. Loan capital will be leveraged 2:1 for a total of $200,000 invested in underbanked, diverse communities.

Washington, D.C.
MANNA , Inc. aims to end intergenerational poverty in the DC-metro region through homeownership. In addition to constructing affordable housing, MANNA offers a robust housing counseling program through its Homeownership Center (HOC).

Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance
Dorchester, Massachusetts
Saving Toward Affordable Sustainable Homeownership (STASH), administered by Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) offers financial assistance as well as education, community, and support for potential homebuyers who are the first in their families to purchase homes. MAHA will expand STASH by increasing the size of the savings match from 2:1 to 10:1 and increasing the number of participants from 50 to 500 per year.

MY Project USA
Columbus, Ohio
MY Project USA (MPUSA) and the Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI) will establish an immigrant and refugee entrepreneurship center in West Columbus. All CDFI loan services will be available at the center.

PathStone Enterprise Center, Inc.
Rochester, New York
PathStone Enterprise Center, Inc. (PECI) will expand its small business lending and technical assistance programs to more businesses owned by people of color by providing granted equity, and loans with more flexible terms.

Pima County Community Land Trust
Tucson, Arizona
Pima County Community Land Trust (PCCLT) is acquiring lots and building homes for sale under the CLT model for low- and moderate-income families. PCCLT will use these funds to scale up its unique wealth-building opportunity for the traditionally underserved.

PIDC Community Capital
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
PIDC Community Capital’s Restart Loans provide flexible financing to small businesses to reopen after COVID-19 or to adapt business models to new conditions and opportunities. They combine this affordable financing with robust business support services.

Reinvestment Partners
Durham, North Carolina
Reinvestment Partners (RP) will expand its housing counseling services from 23 counties to all 100 counties in North Carolina through a streamlined, virtual intake process developed in response to COVID-19.

Southwest Community Development Corporation
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Southwest Community Development Corporation will provide education, access to capital and government-owned property, in partnership with Harcum College & Entrepreneur Works.

Southwest Economic Solutions Corporation
Detroit, Michigan
Southwest Economic Solutions Corporation will promote COVID-19 economic recovery in Chadsey-Condon, a low-income community, through a leveraged affordable housing product, community engagement and pre-purchase counseling. Capacity-focused objectives include the provision of homebuyer equity credit (creating revolving funds for future residents), financial coaching and engagement (assessment and marketing exercise) to brand the revitalized Detroit community.

Neighborhood Home Solutions/Solita’s House, Inc.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Neighborhood Home Solutions will launch a pilot project to buy distressed mortgages, renegotiating terms or renting back to the community rehabbed homes. Solitas’ House, a CDFI will loan to Neighborhood Home Solutions in a comprehensive coaching program to restore financial capability and stability by removing the credit impact of the foreclosure/eviction.

Texas Association of Community Development Corporations
Austin, Texas
Texas Association of Community Development Corporations (TACDC) manages the Community Loan Center of America, a small-dollar loan program that functions as a payday loan alternative. TACDC will use the funds to expand the CLC Program to more markets across the country.

The Enterprise Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Enterprise Center’s (TEC) services assist MBEs with procurement, contracts and pricing, business development, and financial management to recover from the pandemic. They are focused on sustaining MBEs and connect MBEs to professional advisory services to grow their capacity and assets, the foundation of wealth creation.

The South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development 
Charleston, North Carolina
The South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development will provide intensive training and technical assistance to minority entrepreneurs to include financial and business planning services and affordable office space for their operations through The Opportunity Center – a physical hub for both personal and business-related financial training, coaching and workforce development.

Washington Area Community Investment Fund
Washington, D.C.
By strengthening Washington Area Community Investment Fund’s ability to provide comprehensive financial relief – from loans to debt payment relief and grants – alongside COVID-tailored advisory services, the funds will support recovery and wealth-building by underserved entrepreneurs to keep their doors open and retain the jobs that anchor households and communities.

The Field Empowerment Fund  provides flexible funds to members of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) to respond to the economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Our goal is to help start and scale-up innovative investments that promote COVID-19 economic recovery in traditionally underserved communities.

Priority will be given to organizations that:

  • operate in markets that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic
  • are led by people of color and women
  • serve low-income and low-wealth communities, and communities of color
  • increase access to affordable housing and homeownership
  • serve small businesses/micro-businesses



The fund will award a total of $5 million over the course of 2 years. Award amounts will vary between $50,000 and $250,000 for a one-year term. Awardees can apply for a renewal in year 2. Grant funds can be used for operations, loan capital, loan loss reserve and capacity building. Awardees can use Field Empowerment Funds as unrestricted grants.

Funding may not be considered for the following: 

  • Individuals; 
  • Churches or sects. NCRC may consider requests from foundations or other nonprofit entities directed by religious organizations whose programs support broad-based services that meet the eligibility guidelines; 
  • Political causes, candidates, campaigns or lobbying programs; or 
  • Advocacy for federal, state or local regulatory changes 

Application Deadline:

February 19, 2021 – 11:59pm EST

The online application function will become inactive after this deadline.

(Preview FEF Application)
Applicants must submit via an online application.


To be eligible for Field Empowerment Funds organizations must satisfy both of the conditions specified below.

  • Be an NCRC organization member: Applicants must have an active organization membership with NCRC.
  • Charitable Purpose: Applicant is a U.S. tax-exempt organization with a current 501(c)(3) determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service. If your organization does not have this tax status, it may be eligible if it is a U.S. Treasury CDFI Fund certified CDFI.

Selection Criteria

Awardees will be selected based on the extent to which an award will help the organization create wealth building opportunities. NCRC will give more weight to applicants that:

  • operate in markets that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic
  • are organizations led by people of color and/or women
  • serve low-income and low-wealth, communities, and communities of color
  • increase access to affordable housing and homeownership
  • serve small businesses/micro-businesses

Conditions of the Award

Awardees will be required to:

  • sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NCRC
  • report programmatic and financial updates to NCRC on a semi-annual basis
  • provide a copy of an IRS Tax Exemption Determination or Affirmation Letter and CDFI certification (as applicable).

Reporting Schedule

Awardees will report program progress using interim report materials provided by NCRC. Awardees will be required to submit a brief narrative report related to their organization’s operations after 6 months of receiving the award documents associated with their grant, and a final report within 14 days of the grant end date.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Field Empowerment Fund (FEF) is an NCRC mechanism to support organizations who are making strides in helping low-wealth communities, with a focus on communities of color, rebound economically from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FEF is available to active NCRC organization members. Applications will be cross-checked with membership status. Not a member? Learn more and join here.

  1. Change: Applicants must describe what will change by their proposed work and how it will help underserved communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color, recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Focus: Applicants must describe how their proposed work is grounded in advancing community development (i.e. affordable housing and small business development).
  3. Impact: Applicants must describe what the impact of their proposed work will be and the metrics they will use to measure outcomes. Applicants should explain if proposed work is scaling up an existing model and highlight previous success.

Organizations are considered to be led by people of color if 50% or more of their board and executive staff positions are held/filled by people of color (Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Island, Native American, Other).

Organizations are considered to be women led if 50% of more of their board and executive staff positions are held by people who identify as a woman.

Funds- Awardees will receive a one-year grant between $50,000 and $250,000. Awards will be commensurate with proposed work. 

Public recognition
  • Awardees will be acknowledged at the 2021 Just Economy Conference.
  • Awardees name will be displayed, along with a description of their proposed work on the NCRC website.
  • Awardees may be featured in marketing materials

It will depend on the number of applications and proposed work. NCRC will aim to have a balance of grant sizes to award as many organizations as possible.

All applications will be reviewed by an interdisciplinary panel of professionals convened by NCRC.

All applications are due by 11:59pm EST on Friday, February 19.

Applications will be reviewed from February 19 to February 26. Awardees will be notified the week of March 31.

Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

Complete the form to download the full report: