Amir Kirkwood’s Monthly Update – November 2022
Want to know what’s on our CEO’s mind this month? Find out below!
Partners and Friends,
October was an exciting and busy time for VCCSE. As I expressed in our last newsletter, VCCSE is positioned to lead the field of community development through the performance of our lending and advisory services (VCC Bank, our loan fund, and LOCUS), our participation in Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) industry events, and by utilizing our voice on critical industry policy issues. October allowed us to realize some of those opportunities.
Opportunity Finance Network Conference
During the week of October 17, VCCSE sent a delegation of 16 employees to attend the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference in New York City. Our group included a cross-section of representatives from our Lending, Risk Management, Operations, LOCUS, CIGP, Business Development, and Investor Relations teams. We were even joined by our newest VCCSE Board member, Akshay Nandakumar. The conference was a sold-out event that provided an opportunity for our team to engage with some of the 2,000 attendees, which included philanthropic investors, banks, government officials, and most importantly, fellow CDFIs. OFN will soon provide a recap of the conference, which can be found on their website.
The OFN conference proved to be a critical space for CDFIs to learn more about the current status of legislative and policy opportunities for the sector. Formally, we attended sessions and plenaries involving key federal policymakers and Biden Administration officials, who discussed supporting capitalization of CDFIs and advancing key administration priorities. Our team participated in peer CDFI forums that covered issues of community development finance, resiliency, and strategies to advocate for industry participation in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
The OFN Conference also coincided with the third quarter meeting of the Guarantee Advisory Council (GAC) of the Community Investment Guarantee Pool (CIGP). CIGP’s Jim Baek, Fran Lutz, and David Newsome held a meeting of the GAC at the offices of Arnold Ventures, a CIGP investor. Chris Hensman, Director of New Programs at Arnold Ventures, also moderated a panel at the OFN Conference entitled, Exploring How Guarantees Could be Used to Advance Racial Equity.
VCCSE Board Retreat
On October 26 and 27, the VCCSE Board of Directors held its annual retreat in Charlottesville. This retreat provided the board an opportunity to reflect on progress the organization has made over the past year and engage in the critical work of planning, budgeting, and policy review for 2023. In addition, the board and staff spent some time reviewing the progress made on our 2023-25 strategic plan. That session included a presentation and discussion facilitated by our consulting firm, Wellspring, who helped frame up the many diverse perspectives about the future of VCCSE and its components, VCC Bank, our loan fund, and LOCUS.
We were happy to report that VCCSE remains in a strong income and capital position as we enter the fourth quarter of the year. Our level of impact continues to grow, reflective of our ability to leverage affordable, impact-driven, and flexible capital. In just five months, we are well on our way to meeting our leverage goals on our U.S. Treasury ECIP investment. We are also excited to begin utilizing our recent $7M commitment from Truist Bank to help grow small business lending, especially in Virginia’s BIPOC communities.
Note of Congratulations
Finally, congratulations to the team at the Capital Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on their second anniversary! This small but mighty team provides one-on-one business counseling services and training for entrepreneurs in the region, free of cost. Under the direction of Rodney Williams, the Capital Region SBDC Executive Director, the team has advised and trained over 1,000 small business clients and help them gain access to over $8 million in capital since the Center’s launch in November 2020. VCCSE is proud to sponsor the SBDC, and we look forward to identifying new ways to grow our partnership.
President & CEO
VCC Social Enterprises