SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 03, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco announced today that it has awarded $1 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 for projects and programs that foster economic development and promote community stability and self-sufficiency.
The AHEAD Program enables Bank members to give a critical, early boost to local programs and projects that target pressing community development needs and:
- create or preserve jobs,
- facilitate improvements to public or private infrastructure, or
- deliver social services, training or educational programs, or other services and programs that benefit low- and moderate-income communities.
AHEAD funds can be used to finance a variety of start-up costs, such as studies and project plans, consulting or other professional services, or organizational and capacity-building activities. This year the Bank reviewed 174 applications requesting $7.6 million before selecting 35 AHEAD grant winners.
“While the very nature of work and employment is evolving with the sharing economy and the growing importance of microenterprises, disparate opportunity continues to challenge many of our communities,” said Jim Yacenda, Vice President and Community Investment Officer at FHLBank San Francisco. “This year’s AHEAD awards reflect this dynamic, as financial institutions and their community partners explore creative ways of ensuring that people living in lower-income communities will have the community infrastructure and economic and social resources they need to fully participate in a changing economy.”
With this year’s AHEAD grants, 25 Bank members, including four members participating for the first time, will be supporting a diverse array of innovative economic and community development initiatives, including projects and programs designed to:
- Establish a community “makerspace” and innovation center in Phoenix, AZ, for light manufacturing, small business incubation, and workforce development
- Expand a microlending program targeted to Native American entrepreneurs in Flagstaff, AZ
- Help low-wage workers in Oakland, CA, convert successful businesses to worker-owned enterprises as participating business owners retire
- Prevent homelessness and reduce the demand for shelter beds by providing legal services and financial assistance to families at risk of eviction in San Francisco, CA
- Offer education and services so that vulnerable refugees resettling in San Diego, CA, can improve financial literacy and build credit histories
- Provide culturally sensitive health education, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment to at-risk youth and young adults in San Rafael, CA
- Enable single mothers of small children in Santa Barbara, CA, to pursue educational and employment opportunities by providing scholarships to pay for childcare
- Expand a successful, comprehensive workforce development program serving young African American men in very low-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles, CA
- Develop a civilian legal assistance program that meets the needs of active-duty military personnel, reservists, and veterans in Reno, NV
- Create a “virtual pantry” to bring local produce to low-income residents of urban food deserts in Las Vegas, NV
“The AHEAD Program allows us to strengthen relationships between Bank members and nonprofit organizations with special expertise in economic and community development,” said Stephen P. Traynor, Senior Vice President, Member Financial Services and Community Investment, at FHLBank San Francisco. “We are pleased that our grants can give a boost to such a wide variety of important initiatives.”
Funding for AHEAD is determined annually by the Bank’s Board of Directors. Since the program began in 2004, the Bank has awarded over $8.5 million in AHEAD funds to support 302 important 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.
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