September 28, 2016 — The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) today announced a $1.75 million Financial Assistance Award to Maine-based Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) to expand its mission-driven community lending and economic development work.
“I am so glad that this federal funding will allow CEI to make critical investments in Maine communities,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “This funding means opportunity—for the entrepreneur who wants to start a business, the family in need of affordable housing, and many low-income Mainers hoping to make better lives for themselves. I appreciate the committed work of CEI in making that all happen.”
Over 80 percent of CEI’s lending activity targets low-income people and communities, through loans to low-income entrepreneurs and business owners as well as companies that create jobs, affordable housing units, childcare slots, and health care for people and regions that qualify as low-income. Since 1997, CEI has received a total of 14 awards from the CDFI Fund.
“On behalf of CEI, I’d like to thank our federal delegation – Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin – for their unified support for our application and for our work in Maine,” said Betsy Biemann, CEI’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our Congressional leaders are doing everything they can to promote a vision for Maine’s future that includes quality jobs and economic prosperity for all.”
“We are grateful to be helping to make that vision a reality, along with our Maine colleagues at Four Directions Development Corporation, Genesis Fund, Inc., MaineStream Finance, and Northern Maine Development Commission, who also received awards,” noted Keith Bisson, CEI’s President.
CEI was one of 196 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the country that received $185.7 million in grants and loans. The awards, based on a competitive application process, have enabled CDFIs to increase lending and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed communities across the nation since the program was established in 1994.
With today’s announcement, the CDFI Fund crossed the $2 billion threshold in collective investments to CDFIs through the CDFI and Native American CDFI Assistance programs bringing capital to low-income, distressed, and underserved communities and areas of persistent poverty. A total of 457 applications were received requesting more than $675 million under this round of the CDFI program.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is a mission-driven lender and investor specializing in rural economic development in Maine and throughout the U.S. CEI combines financing, advising services and policy leadership to help create economically and environmentally healthy communities in which all people, especially those with low incomes, can reach their full potential.
CEI works closely with small and medium-sized businesses that strengthen local economies and support quality jobs, including natural resource-based industries in the farm, fishery, aquaculture, forestry, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism sectors. We also finance community facilities and affordable housing development. For more information, visit www.ceimaine.org.