Executive Director’s Corner: Brian Doudna, EDFP

I am looking forward to seeing you all at WEDA’s upcoming CRA Network regional meetings.

The purpose of the CRA Network is to help match financial institutions, corporate enterprises and community foundations with our member organizations and communities that have Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) eligible community and economic development proposals in need of an investment, grant or loan. Again, I want to thank WBD for sponsoring the CRA Network to advance more projects across Wisconsin.

The CRA Network, launched in June, will continue to connect nonprofits with the opportunity to present projects in need of funding to financial institutions in their regions and across the state. You can visit the CRA Network online at www.cranetwork.org to learn more about this exciting program and to submit your application with a basic project summary. WEDA will then work with the banking community and relevant regulatory agencies to determine if submitted projects meets key CRA objectives and can be documented as a type of project that has received CRA consideration elsewhere in the country. This research effort provides clarity to the financial institutions on how your specific project could become part of a CRA strategy or portfolio.

Community Reinvestment Projects are typically tied to the following types of activities:

  • Community Facilities
  • Financial Education
  • Small Business Development through Microlending
  • Neighborhood Stabilization and Affordable Housing
  • Workforce Development Programming

With recent flooding in numerous communities across the state, WEDA is also researching how the CRA Network can assist banks in a collaborative response to the challenges of economic drivers that may have been negatively impacted by storm and flooding damage.

Don’t be shy in submitting projects, concepts or ideas that need research or additional work! WEDA needs projects to build a stronger collaboration with the financial institutions across Wisconsin. In some cases, the technical assistance provided to advance a business model can be an eligible CRA activity if documented appropriately. Over the next decade, the nature of banking will continue to experience rapid change. The CRA Network will build a model for ensuring more projects funded today, while build a stronger network for future deals.