The USDA just announced a $45.1 million initiative to make direct loans and grants to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) to support the development and ongoing success of rural microenterprises. The Rural Microentrepreneurs Assistance Program (RMAP) will lend funds to microlenders to make fixed-interest rate microloans of not more than $50,000 at terms not to exceed 20 years to microentrepreneurs for startup and growing rural microenterprises, as well as annual technical assistance grants to MDOs that are not participating as microlenders. RMAP will accept applications on a rolling basis and award quarterly. Deadlines are July 16 and Sept. 30, 2010. For information, go to www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.
The Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is partnering with Citi and the Calvert Foundation on a $200 million fund to help fuel small business lending in low-income communities in the United States. The Communities at Work Fund will deliver critical financing through CDFIs. The loans to CDFIs are structured as 5-year loans at a fixed 4.3% rate. CDFIs are encouraged to visit www.communitiesatworkfund.com for more information and to express their interest in becoming a borrower.
The Community Affairs Officers of the Federal Reserve System invite paper submissions for the seventh annual Federal Reserve Community Affairs Research Conference, to be held April 28-29, 2011, in Arlington, Va. The conference will highlight new research that can directly inform community development policy and practice in the wake of the deepest recession since the pre-War period. We invite researchers from a wide variety of disciplines to submit papers that present new and innovative research under the following five broad topic areas: Understanding Community Change, The Future of Consumer Credit, Bridging the Divide between People and Place, Measuring the Impact of Community Development, and Community Development Finance. Deadline to submit a paper or extended abstract is Sept. 15, 2010.