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FHLBank San Francisco Awards $1.5 Million in Grants for Economic and Community Development

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco announced that it has awarded $1.5 million in grants through its Access to Housing and Economic Assistance for Development (AHEAD) Program. The grants, which are made through the Bank’s member financial institutions, will be used by nonprofit organizations in Arizona, California, and Nevada to foster economic development and promote community stability and self-sufficiency.

The AHEAD Program enables Bank members to give a critical boost to local programs and projects that target pressing community development needs by creating or preserving jobs, supporting a nonprofit’s organizational and capacity-building activities, or delivering social services, training and education, and other needed services and programs. The focus of the AHEAD Program is to support innovative economic development and job training or job creation initiatives that benefit low-and moderate-income communities and have the potential to help narrow the wealth gap.

“Through the AHEAD Program, the Bank is helping members forge strong and productive relationships with nonprofit organizations that have specific economic and community development expertise,” said Greg Seibly, president and chief executive officer of FHLBank San Francisco. “Once again, this year’s award-winning projects demonstrated a variety of smart and creative approaches to fostering economic opportunity and strengthening communities.”

In response to the success of the program and growing demand for funding, the Bank’s Board of Directors increased the amount available for 2016 from $1 million to $1.5 million. This year, the Bank reviewed 197 applications before selecting 51 AHEAD grant winners. The grants will be made through 27 participating Bank members, including 3 that are first-time program participants. Grant amounts range from $20,000 to $50,000.

The AHEAD Program supports a wide variety of economic and community development initiatives each year. Among this year’s 51 winners are:

  • Restaurant Opportunities Centers of the Bay Area will receive a $39,000 grant, through Bank member Northern California Community Loan Fund, for a workforce development program in Oakland, CA, that helps low-wage restaurant workers develop skills to move up to higher paying restaurant jobs, such as front-of-the-house or server positions.
  • The Opportunity Alliance Nevada will receive a $25,000 grant, through Charles Schwab Bank, to develop a regional cooperative financial education program in Northern Nevada that will be integrated into the existing social service offerings of at least 23 local nonprofit organizations.
  • The Women’s Center, a nonprofit that runs two emergency shelters for domestic violence victims and their families in the Central Valley of California, will receive a $45,000 grant, through Farmers & Merchants Bank of Central California, to expand their service offerings to include a financial literacy component to help clients become financially independent and self-sufficient.
  • Meristem, Inc., which serves young adults with autism or other behavioral differences in the Sacramento area, will receive a $25,000 grant, through Mechanics Bank, to help clients develop entrepreneurial skills through product creation, marketing, sales, and delivery.
  • Esperanza Community Housing Corporation will receive $39,000, through MUFG Union Bank, for a jobs program that trains Los Angeles residents to become health promoters, leading to higher wage employment opportunities in the healthcare industry.
  • Oak View Renewal Partnership will receive $50,000, through Pacific Western Bank, to provide microenterprise and entrepreneurship training to the underserved Oak View community in Huntington Beach.
  • The White Mountain Apache Housing Authority will receive $25,000, through Sunwest Bank, to support efforts to create a public transportation system on a Native American reservation in rural East Central Arizona, where access to public services is limited.

“Creating jobs in disadvantaged communities, supporting entrepreneurs and helping microenterprises grow, offering vulnerable populations the opportunity to develop skills that lead to jobs with dignity, ensuring that working people are able to build wealth and become homeowners – these are the priorities of the moment,” said Jim Yacenda, vice president and community investment officer at FHLBank San Francisco. “We are pleased to provide funding that supports and nurtures efforts to meet these and other big challenges and that promote healthy, self-sufficient communities.”

Funding for AHEAD is determined annually by the Bank’s Board of Directors. Since the program began in 2004, the Bank has awarded over $10 million in AHEAD grants to support 353 projects and programs in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO
The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgages to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. The Bank also funds community programs that help members create affordable housing and promote community economic development. The Bank’s members are headquartered in Arizona, California, and Nevada and include commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions.

Contact: Mary Long, longm@fhlbsf.com or 415-572-6717

Source: Federal Home Loan Bank Of San Francisco