Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and John Moolenaar (MI-04) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would strengthen and expand the direct services of certified nonprofit Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) by placing national service members from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) at CDFIs. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
“The Economic Mobility Corps Act is focused on creating more economic opportunities for more people in more places,” said Rep. Kilmer. “It is a win-win-win. It can strengthen the services provided on the ground to support to families and communities who are struggling economically. It can strengthen the capacity of local community development financial institutions to provide that support. And it can empower national service member participants, like those in AmeriCorps, to develop new skills and contribute to building local communities.”
“I am proud to work with my colleagues across the aisle to introduce this legislation which supports workforce development and community partnerships across the country,” said Rep. Moolenaar. “This legislation will improve access to services for hardworking Americans at financial institutions in their communities.”
CDFIs are mission-driven financial lenders located in all 50 States, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico. Since the program’s inception in 1994, CDFIs have successfully provided critical and responsible financial products and services that benefit low-income and distressed communities. However, CDFIs face a challenge in recruiting and cultivating talented individuals who possess a unique mixture of financial expertise and commitment to the industry’s mission. National Service programs, carried out through CNCS, can increase talent and human capacity at CDFIs, while expanding the services of CDFIs.
The Economic Mobility Corps Act of 2019 (H.R. 3845), which is co-sponsored by eight additional Members of the House, would make this connection by authorizing a grant program to be jointly run by CNCS and the Department of Treasury to place national service members, like those in AmeriCorps, with service opportunities at certified nonprofit CDFIs.
Under the bill, service members may elect to remain in the CDFI industry following their service, using their newly gained skills to create a long-term positive impact on the industry and the communities served.
The Economic Mobility Corps Act is endorsed by the CDFI Coalition and Voices for National Service.