OFN announces grant for Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation

The Shawnee News-Star

SHAWNEE  — Wednesday, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) announced that Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC) was one of four CDFIs in the first round of Grow with Google Small Business Fund loans and grants from Google.org. 

Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation will use the capital to support small businesses in its service area hardest hit by the economic impact of COVID-19 and recent civil unrest.

OFN has awarded CPCDC a $1 million and a $125,000 unrestricted grant to help support the CDFI’s minority and women-owned business borrowers

One of the largest Native-owned CDFIs in the nation, CPCDC finances, promotes, educates and inspires the entrepreneurial growth, economic opportunity and financial well-being of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Community and other underserved Native populations through financial education, access to capital, business development services, innovative capacity building practices and community development initiatives. CPCDC’s commercial and business borrowers are 96% Native-owned businesses.

Launched in March, the Grow with Google Small Business Fund delivers financing to CDFIs, like Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation, that are supporting the short-term recovery and long-term financing needs of America’s small businesses affected by COVID-19.  

On June 17, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will provide to OFN an additional $45 million in loans on top of the Fund’s original $125 million to assist Black-owned small businesses. In total, Google has now committed $170 million in loans.

In addition, Google.org has made a $10 million grant to OFN to enable OFN’s member CDFIs to improve access to capital for the most marginalized communities. The unrestricted grants can support operations, loan capital, loan loss reserve, capacity building or any other purpose. 

“We’re excited to be able to offer Native-owned businesses access to funding in these uncertain times,” said CPCDC Chief Financial Officer Cindy Logsdon.

The other first round of loan and grant awardees are Grameen America, Opportunity Fund, and PeopleFund. 

“CDFIs are America’s best community lenders with 40 years of experience providing capital where mainstream finance can’t or won’t — today, CDFIs are vital to ensuring a more even recovery for America’s small businesses,” said Lisa Mensah, president and CEO of OFN, a leading national network of CDFIs. “We applaud Google for stepping in to help bridge deep gaps in access to capital for minority and women-led small businesses. Google’s significant investment and grant helps CDFIs to combat economic inequity during a national health and economic crisis that has been recently compounded by civil unrest.”

“The Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org grants are some of the key investments that Google is making in the future of America’s small businesses. Our economy requires that small businesses prosper,” said Ruth Porat, CFO of Google. “The COVID crisis has created unprecedented challenges for many small businesses, and we are committed to assisting them. We’re proud to have an outstanding partner in OFN to provide loans and grants to CDFIs who are on the front lines of the economic recovery effort.” 

Native American business owners can apply or learn more about how Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation is planting seeds for a brighter future for Native American business owners across the U.S. at cpcdc.org/.

There are more than 1,100 CDFIs working in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. OFN’s more than 300 members serve 58% people of color, 85% low-income, 26% rural, and 48% women (OFN Annual Member Survey, 2018). Nationwide, the CDFI industry manages more than $222 billion.