West Sacramento, Calif. – Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) has won $2 million from the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance. The multi-million dollar award will allow RCAC to expand its Development Solutions initiative to boost development of affordable multi-family housing in rural and Native communities in 13 western states.

RCAC’s award will enable the CDFI to fill a critical gap—playing new roles as developer, guarantor, and partner—to build the capacity of local nonprofit partners. Program expansion will increase the supply of safe, quality affordable housing, especially on tribal lands. RCAC intends to complete $74 million in activity in FY 2015 and FY 2016, delivering more affordable housing and deeper impact in rural markets in the western U.S.

“We are thrilled and honored to be recognized by the NEXT Awards for our housing work with local partners in rural communities. The award provides a significant boost to our efforts,” Michael Carroll, director, Lending and Housing

RCAC’s mission is to provide training, technical and financial resources and advocacy so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. RCAC is in its 25th year as a community development lender with more than $75 million in lending capital. As of June 30, RCAC had closed 730 loans which totaled $408,523,645 and leveraged more than $1.5 billion for projects in rural communities. RCAC has a CARS™ rating of AAA+2.

The NEXT Awards is the nation’s largest awards program recognizing CDFIs—community development financial institutions—working in bold, new ways to expand coverage of responsible financial products and services in their communities. This year the NEXT Awards, presented by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, focuses on CDFIs with innovative strategies addressing the Future of Housing Finance.

“RCAC’s Development Solutions program is doing what no one else is, targeting severely underserved rural areas and tribal communities,” said Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of OFN, the nation’s leading national network of high-performing CDFIs. “It’s complicated work, and they’re tackling it head on by empowering local nonprofits to create affordable housing in their communities. Guided by mission, RCAC is willing to put its balance sheet at risk to provide opportunity and hope in areas of the U.S. that would otherwise be left behind.”

CDFIs are private financial institutions that are 100 percent dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.

The NEXT Awards will celebrate RCAC and the two other 2014 NEXT Opportunity Awardees—Florida Community Loan Fund, and New Jersey Community Capital—in an awards ceremony at the OFN Conference in Denver, CO, on October 15.


About RCAC

Founded in 1978, RCAC provides a wide range of community development services for rural and Native American communities and community-based organizations in 13 western states and other Pacific Islands. RCAC has strong core services and expertise in housing, environmental infrastructure (water, wastewater and solid waste), leadership training, economic development and financing.

About the Awards

The Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance celebrate the CDFI industry—its creativity, accomplishments, and enduring importance.

Launched in 2007, the NEXT Awards have celebrated the innovation of the nation’s most promising CDFIs by awarding more than $58 million through a competitive awards process over the last seven years.

It is the nation’s largest awards program for CDFIs and in 2014 it will award $8.35 million dollars through two award pools—The NEXT Opportunity Award and the NEXT Seed Capital Award—to high-performing CDFIs to expand their coverage strategies related to the Future of Housing Finance. Each year the NEXT Awards culminates in a ceremony at OFN’s Annual Conference to spotlight Awardees and the entire CDFI industry.

About the Groups Behind the Awards

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.6 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2014 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. MacArthur has been a leading supporter of the Opportunity Finance field since the early 1980s, investing nearly $250 million in approximately 100 groups nationwide. More information is available at: www.macfound.org.

About Opportunity Finance Network (OFN): OFN, the leading network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low- income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2012, OFN’s Network originated more than $33.3 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed development/rehab of 960,000 housing units, started or expanded nearly 94,000 business and microenterprises, and helped create or maintain nearly 600,000 jobs. More information is available at: www.ofn.org