CARIBOU — Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC) now has a new tool to help foster economic development and opportunity in northern and eastern Maine.
The Commission received notification Tuesday, April 10 that NMDC has been designated as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the US Department of Treasury. This certification will allow NMDC to expand lending services in Aroostook, Washington, Penobscot and Piscataquis counites.
The CDFI Fund was established in 1994 to promote economic revitalization and community development in low-income communities that may be underserved by traditional financial institutions. By certifying qualified institutions, CDFI brings together diverse private and public-sector investors to create economic opportunity. CDFIs now form a robust sector within the larger financial services industry; NMDC joins approximately 1,000 CDFIs operating nationwide.
“The CDFI program creates opportunities by providing access to affordable financial products and services for small businesses and provides access to new funding sources such as the US Treasury and many foundations that require CDFI certification prior to investing in the CDFI,” said NMDC Executive Director Robert Clark.
CDFI certification will give NMDC access to other critical financial services available to disadvantaged businesses and low-income communities – supporting projects that will help our region grow.
“The ability to provide financial assistance to small businesses is an element in NMDC’s mission to expand and support economic development, and the CDFI certification supports this by giving NMDC greater opportunities to lend to small businesses,” said Fort Fairfield Town Manager and NMDC Executive Board Chairman Jim Risner. “Gaining CDFI certification is not an easy process, and Robert Clark and the NMDC staff are to be commended for the work they have done to achieve the certification.”
Clark said certification is the first step.
“The next steps will be to prepare CDFI and foundation funding applications to build NMDC’s capital base for further investments in small businesses in Aroostook, Washington, Penobscot and Piscataquis counties and to help grow the economy, create new jobs and sustain our business services,” he explained.
Becoming a certified CDFI was a component of the recently completed NMDC Next Generation Strategic Plan 2018-2022, which is an organizational strategy developed with broad public, private, and non-profit sector input, staff and board perspectives, as well as critical analysis and application of proven rural community economic development principles.
“The key premise of the Next Generation Strategic Plan was and is to generate ‘greater impact’ in the communities and economy through the deployment of NMDC’s resources, being predictive of the future, being innovative with an entrepreneurial mindset and integrating an open systems planning model,” said Clark.
NMDC is a nonprofit organization focused on business, community economic development and regional planning programs throughout Aroostook and Washington counties. To learn more about how NMDC can assist your business, visit www.nmdc.org or call 207-493-5851.