Amir Kirkwood’s Monthly Update – May 2023
Partners and friends,
April was an exciting month for VCCSE and the community development field. Let’s recap some of the highlights.
VCCSE Staff Retreat Week
The week of April 24th was transformative for our organization. After spending the past seven months developing a strategic plan, I was so happy for our entire staff to come together in Richmond, Virginia to reconnect and explore our future. Whether it was our Management Committee and Mission, Equity, and Inclusion Collaborative strategy sessions or our Staff Retreat, each represented a unique moment to reflect on the commitments we have made and begin planning in earnest how to implement them.
The Staff Retreat was a special treat because we were able to meet some amazing new team members in person for the first time. And for most, it was a chance to reconvene, share a meal, and celebrate with the majority of our colleagues since our September 2022 retreat. We spent the morning of our retreat engaging in interactive activities that allowed us to share our lived experiences with each other. During the afternoon, we focused on our strategic plan and the importance of place. And, of course, we made time for fun at River City Roll!
Chief Impact Finance Officer
Following a three-month search, I am pleased to share that Kafi Lindsay has joined VCCSE as our first Chief Impact Finance Officer. In her role, Kafi will be responsible for the execution of the strategic plan through business development, customer generation, and deal negotiation for VCCSE financing, advisory, and other financial products.
Kafi brings a wealth of banking and legal expertise from her previous roles in banking law and government services. In her most recent position at PNC Bank, Kafi helped cultivate relationships with many communities by partnering with government and CDFIs to help increase financing opportunities for underserved places. I’m excited for all our partners to meet Kafi!
On the Policy Front…
This month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally released the framework for the implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which was passed under the Inflation Reduction Act. EPA will hold three complementary grant competitions to invest $27 billion, putting public and private capital to work in communities combatting climate change. In summary, the funds will be allocated as follows:
- $14 billion for the National Clean Investment Fund competition – Awards to two to three national nonprofits that will partner with private capital providers to deliver financing at scale to businesses, communities, community lenders, and others, catalyzing tens of thousands of clean technology projects.
- $6 billion for the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator competition – Fund two to seven hub nonprofits with the plans and capabilities to rapidly build the clean financing capacity of specific networks of public, quasi-public, and non-profit community lenders—including community development financial institutions (including Native CDFIs), credit unions, green banks, housing finance agencies, and minority depository institutions.
- $7 billion for the Solar for All competition – Will provide up to 60 grants to states, Tribal governments, municipalities, and nonprofits to expand the number of low-income and disadvantaged communities that are primed for residential and community solar investment.
VCCSE is exploring opportunities to apply for funds through all three channels, but most clearly through the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. Our participation in these initiatives is consistent with our strategic plan commitments to utilize our resources for climate finance.
Looking forward to our next month of partnership in the communities we support together!
President & CEO
VCC Social Enterprises