Apr 25, 2023
Lending and Business Technical Assistance will focus on farm and food enterprises in eight underserved Hudson Valley counties and populations
HUDSON, NY – April 25, 2023 – The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) was recently certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a focus on lending to farm and food enterprises in economically disadvantaged communities throughout Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Rensselaer, Sullivan, Ulster and Washington counties.
CDFIs are mission-driven financial institutions that are dedicated to providing financial services and investing in local communities and the residents who live there by providing critically needed financing often unavailable from mainstream financial institutions. They are certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund – known as the CDFI Fund. In order to become a certified CDFI, the financial institution must: have a primary mission of promoting community development; provide financial products and services; serve one or more defined low-income target markets; maintain accountability to the community it serves; and be a legal non-governmental entity.
HVADC is now the only CDFI in the region exclusively dedicated to providing funding to farm and food enterprises. To become a certified CDFI, HVADC pursued a rigorous certification and compliance process. FUND Consulting, LLC assisted with the coordination of the application.
“From December 2021 - March 2023, HVADC went through the CDFI Fund's rigorous Certification review process, successfully meeting all seven Certification tests. Given that HVADC is the Hudson Valley's sole economic development agency focused on the viability of the region's agricultural economy, the organization clearly communicated to the CDFI Fund the key role it plays in providing technical assistance and channeling resources to agribusinesses in the region. FUND Consulting is excited to see HVADC leverage its CDFI status to grow its efforts to support the capital needs of agricultural small businesses in the region,” said Jennifer Weitzel, Managing Consultant, FUND Consulting.
CDFIs are illustrative of innovative public-private partnerships developed to leverage taxpayer dollars for greater impact in communities across America. They use limited taxpayer dollars appropriated by the U.S. Congress and awarded by the CDFI Fund to leverage even more capital and credit from the private sector, multiplying their impact. CDFIs create even greater impact by relending capital once a loan is repaid, keeping their awards working in their communities and strengthening the local economic growth. CDFI certified mission-driven organizations such as HVADC are able to inject new sources of capital into neighborhoods that lack access to financing and provide Business Technical Assistance (BTA) to small businesses.
“The NYS CDFI Coalition is proud to welcome The Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation as they begin their journey as a CDFI. We saw during the COVID-19 pandemic how volatile our food and agriculture supply chain can be when under significant financial stress. HVADC seeks to ensure that these farm and food enterprises throughout the Hudson Valley and Capital Region are properly funded and supported for years to come,” said Linda McFarland, Board President, NYS CDFI Coalition, and Executive Director, Community Loan Fund of Capital Region, Inc.”
In addition to its focus on agribusiness, HVADC’s CDFI accreditation was based upon its expressed commitment to serve African American and Hispanic enterprises in census tracts the CDFI Fund has deemed as low-income within the designated counties in both rural and urban areas.
“Some CDFIs address agriculture as only part of their portfolio, and HVADC is now one of the very few in the country with a specific focus on agribusiness, “said Todd Erling, Executive Director, HVADC. “HVADC is now positioned well to apply for U.S. Department of Treasury programs in the fall and I am confident we can bring additional funding into the Hudson Valley,” he added.
The HVADC CDFI is being guided by a CDFI Advisory Group which includes representation from the various communities the program serves. The advisory group and its members are tasked with assessing funding applications and seeking potential program recipients. Group members include Kate Arding, Co-owner of Talbott and Arding, Hudson; Elizabeth Druback-Celaya, Director, Community Initiatives, NeighborWorks America, Poughkeepsie; Tamika Dunkley, CEO, Seasoned Delicious Foods, Lake Katrine; Denise Frangipane, CEO, Sullivan 180, Bethel; John Gilstrap, Founder of Awaken.Space and Ravenscourt Partners, Hudson; and Brandon Walker, Owner, Essie’s Restaurant, Poughkeepsie. At HVADC, CDFI programs are coordinated by Duane Stanton, Business Services Coordinator.
“HVADC has made a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and we have been working toward those goals through this effort and staff trainings on equitable lending. We will continue our work as an ally by listening and learning. Now being a CDFI allows us to formalize the operations and process of access to BTA and capital, making it more relevant for some of the farmers and food producers in our region,” said Mary Ann Johnson, Deputy Director, HVADC.
To learn more about the BTA and loans that HVADC provides to farms and food producers, visit www.hvadc.org.
About HVADCThe HVADC is the region’s sole economic development agency with a specific focus on the viability of the agricultural economy in the Hudson Valley. It assists both new and existing agri-businesses such as farms, food businesses and food distributors, by providing technical and business consultation and resources. The non-profit promotes balanced, market-based solutions that lead to enhanced agricultural entrepreneurship, rural economic growth and community enhancement. For more information, please visit: www.Hvadc.org.