Field Empowerment Fund

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 10.

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: