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2016 CDFI Fund Prize Competition

About the Challenge
The CDFI Fund is seeking new ways to increase CDFI Investments in Underserved Rural Communities

Posted By: Department of the Treasury
Category: Ideas
Skill: Ideas Interest: Finance Submission Dates: 1:30 p.m. ET, Jun 16, 2016 - 5 p.m. ET, Jul 29, 2016 Judging Dates: Aug 03, 2016 - Aug 31, 2016 Winners Announced: Sep 30, 2016

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) plays an important role in generating economic growth and opportunity in some of our nation’s most distressed communities. By offering tailored resources and innovative programs that invest federal dollars alongside private sector capital, the CDFI Fund serves mission-driven financial institutions that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities.

The FY 2016 CDFI Fund Prize Competition seeks to stimulate innovation that will build capacity to expand CDFI investments and increase access to capital in underserved rural areas, particularly those that are characterized by persistent poverty. The CDFI Fund will reward selected applicants with monetary prizes, totaling up to $1,000,000, for innovative proposals that (1) identify and promote new ideas and practices, thereby facilitating their implementation by CDFIs that serve rural areas, and/or (2) create value during and after the competition by encouraging CDFIs that serve rural areas to develop new skills or practices that may have beneficial effects on the rural areas they serve.

The CDFI Fund envisions there will be two types of applicants:

  1. An innovative idea or strategy, implemented within the past two years, that helped increase CDFI investments and access to capital in underserved rural areas; or
  2. An innovative idea or strategy that has not yet been implemented, but is reasonably expected to increase CDFI investments and access to capital in underserved rural areas.

Judges will select the winning entries according to judging criteria. Please click on the following link to view the evaluation criteria: FY2016 CDFI Fund Prize Evaluation Criteria. The CDFI Fund may choose to distribute the prize in one or more payments. In addition, the CDFI Fund may require prize awardees to submit reports detailing progress implementing the proposed solution and/or any outcomes.

Judges may also select entries for Honorable Mention based on the judging criteria in order to highlight and promote success stories and best practices.  Applicants listed as Honorable Mention will not be awarded a financial prize. The Winning Entries, and Honorable Mention applicants, will be recognized on the contest and CDFI Fund websites. The CDFI Fund may invite contest winners and honorable mention applicants to participate in post-award events or communications.

For purposes of this competition, a “rural area” is defined as a county or counties that are considered non-Metropolitan Areas under the CDFI Program’s regulations (12 CFR 1805.104). An area that is characterized by “persistent poverty” is defined as any county or Native community that has had 20 percent or more of its population living in poverty over the past 30 years, as measured by the 1990, 2000, and 2010 decennial censuses. Please click on the following link to view the Rural Area and Persistent Poverty Lookup Tables: CDFI Fund Prize Challenge Rural and PPC Lookup **Please note: the Rural Area and Persistent Poverty Lookup Tables have been updated as of July 21, 2016 to include eligible areas for the U.S. Territories based upon alternative census data other than the decennial census due to data limitations.**

The CDFI Fund’s definition of a “Native Community” is an American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian community. The CDFI Fund uses the Office of Management and Budget’s definitions of “American Indian or Alaska Native” and “Native Hawaiian”: “American Indian or Alaska Native” refers to “a person who has origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment,” and “Native Hawaiian” refers to “a person having origins in the original peoples of Hawaii”. (OMB Statistical Policy Directive No. 15, Race and Ethnic Standards for Federal Statistics and Administrative Reporting, 62 Fed. Reg. 58782, October 30, 1997)

 

Judging Criteria

Please review the evaluation criteria carefully for further guidance on how your application will be judged.

How to Enter

Participants will register for the Competition and will submit the application to the Competition via www.challenge.gov.

To be considered for an award through the proposed FY 2016 CDFI Prize Competition, the CDFI Fund requires applicants to upload a Microsoft Word or PDF document of not more than 10 pages that, at a minimum, includes the following items:

  1. A description of the problem(s) creating barriers to accessing capital in the targeted rural areas (and, if applicable, that are characterized by persistent poverty;
  2. A description of the innovative idea or strategy for solving the problem(s) described above, including any proposed evaluation and the likelihood that it has yielded or will yield meaningful insights into the effectiveness of the solution;
  3. The depth of need for investment capital and the lack of access to such capital within the targeted rural areas;
  4. The rural areas to be served or that have been served through the proposal;
    1. If the idea or strategy has not yet been implemented, expected short-term outcomes (within one year of implementation) and expected long-term outcomes (within five years of implementation);
    2. If the idea or strategy has been implemented, outcomes achieved ;
  5. An explanation of any partnerships that have or will be created to increase capacity and leverage private, public, and philanthropic capital to expand investments in the rural designated areas, including the roles of each partner (submission must include a Memorandum of Understanding or other formal partnership agreement documenting the terms of the partnership); and
  6. The scalability and/or replicability of the idea or strategy.

Please use the documents listed below to better understand the evaluation criteria and look up rural areas and persistent poverty counties.

FY2016 CDFI Fund Prize Evaluation Criteria

CDFI Fund Prize Challenge Rural and PPC Lookup

Prizes
FY16 CDFI Fund Prize Competition $1,000,000.00 The CDFI Fund tentatively expects to award up to a total of $1 million divided among approximately four winners. Judges may also select entries for Honorable Mention based on the judging criteria in order to highlight and promote success stories and best practices.

27 Discussions for "2016 CDFI Fund Prize Competition"

  • Just to ask again, are the 5 solutions that are posted the winners for this prize? Also, are suppose to be receiving an email stating who the winners are? I see others who have posted the same questions, but no with no response.

  • Scott Denoncourt
    Hello, Just checking in. This was our first time submitting through the Challenge Prize and also didn't get confirmation email ~ just a "Congratulations You've successfully submitted a solution..." pop up. Are the five Solutions posted the Challenge Prize winners? Thank you. Scott

  • Show Replies [+]
    Blake Myers
    Just a few questions: (1) Are there any restrictions on the use of the prize funds? (3) If prize funds are tracked, is there a time limit to spending the funds? (3) We are planning to use the fund to pay for technology to reach further into rural communities. Expenses would include fees for equipment, upfront fees and monthly fees. Is this allowed?

    • Reply
      wgirardo
      Hello, The monetary prize is to reward innovative ideas and practices. So long as the use of the monetary award is expended in accordance with the Challenge Rules, the representations made in the application, and in accordance with restrictions placed on the use of all federal funds, the monetary award is unrestricted. Regarding a time limit to spending funds, applicants are expected to adhere to any representation made in the application.

  • Show Replies [+]
    Kelsey McVey
    If we are applying with a strategy that has not yet been implemented, do the formal partnership agreements need to be signed? Or can we submit names of our intended partners and the draft agreements/MOU demonstrating the terms of the partnerships we intend to establish to implement the strategy?

  • Show Replies [+]
    Deborah Claesgens
    Do you anticipate (at this point) more applications for implemented ideas and strategies OR ideas/strategies that have not yet been implemented?

    • Reply
      wgirardo
      Hello, As this is our first Prize Competition, we are not able to anticipate the breakdown of types of applications.

  • Show Replies [+]
    Kaitlyn Kelley
    Can an individual unaffiliated with a CDFI propose a solution? The rules seem to allow it, but, the evaluation criteria imply that an unaffiliated individual would not be preferred.

    • Reply
      wgirardo
      Hello, Non-CDFIs are allowed to propose a solution. However, in their submitted proposal, they must outline how they have partnered with a certified CDFI, or intend to partner with a certified CDFI, to implement their solution.

  • Show Replies [+]
    Lee Beaulac
    We are confused about the Fund's identification of areas of persistent poverty in Puerto Rico. We see two different sets of (contradictory) data. Can you clarify for us? Thank you.

    • Reply
      wgirardo
      Hello, There are three tabs in the the CDFI Fund Prize Challenge Rural and PPC Lookup table: “Rural Areas,” which provides a list of the County and State of all eligible rural counties; “Native PPC”, which provides a list of the County and State of all eligible Persistent Poverty Counties in Native American areas; and “Non-Native PPC,” which provides a list of Persistent Poverty Counties that are not Native-specific. For the purposes of this competition, based upon our designated eligibility criteria, no counties in Puerto Rico qualify based upon the Persistent Poverty County eligibility. However, several counties in Puerto Rico do qualify for eligibility as Rural Areas, as seen on the first tab in the document.

  • Show Replies [+]
    Robert Rapoza
    In evaluating applications for the Rural Challenge will the CDFI Fund favor those applications proposing assistance to persistent or high poverty rural communities over other under served or low income communities?

    • Reply
      wgirardo
      Hello, When scoring the applications the CDFI Fund will award bonus points to those applicants that show that their idea or solution was implemented, or will be implemented, in an area where “substantially all,” or no less than 85 percent, of the counties are defined as persistent poverty.

  • In evaluating applications for the Rural Challenge, will the CDFI Fund favor applications for activity in persistent poverty or high poverty communities over other under served or low income communities?

  • Show Replies [+]
    Scott Denoncourt
    We also noticed in the 2016 CDFI Fund Prize Competition, the Rural counties/PPC workbook is missing two New Hampshire counties that are rural, Sullivan and Carroll counties. I’m not sure where the data for the workbook came from or was generated but maybe CDFI Fund can check to make sure it’s complete? Thanks! Scott

  • Show Replies [+]
    If an innovative strategy is regional in nature, can the Fund' support (Prize proposal) work in a region that comprises 80% persistent poverty communities and 20% non-persistent poverty communities or does the entire region have to be made up of 100% persistent poverty communities?

    • Reply
      wgirardo
      To be eligible for the persistent poverty bonus, the applicant must show that their idea or solution was implemented, or will be implemented, in an area where no less than 85 percent of the counties are defined as persistent poverty.

  • wgirardo
    We have received several great questions offline that I think are worthy to share: Question. We would like to attach letters of support from our collaborative partners. Would attachments count towards the 10 page limit or can we include them separately? Answer. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or other formal partnership agreement that documents the terms of the partnership do not count towards the ten-page application limit. Letters of support or other documentation that were not specifically requested are not part of the scoring criteria and will not be reviewed. Question. The evaluation criteria does not mention budget, would it strengthen the application if we laid out how we intend to utilize the money if awarded? Or is that not necessary? Answer. A budget is not required or requested. Question: Can I send you a version of the application to review before the deadline? Answer: The CDFI Fund will not review any application before the submission deadline. We anticipate the demand to be very high and cannot offer this to all potential applicants.

    • Reply
      wgirardo
      Yes, an applicant can submit more than one proposal, either alone or as part of a collaboration, as long as they are different.

Add to the Discussion

Solutions View as List
Tribal Housing Excellence Academy (THE Academy)
Two CDFIs have partnered to create THE Academy as a new way to address the critical lack of capac
Leveraging Local Investment for CDFIs
Rural economic development is challenged primarily due to low population density. “Pa
Innovation in Financing Green Rehab for Rural Multifamily Affordable Housing
TBL Fund is utilizing its innovative model to capture a niche market: rural multifamily affordabl
Creating a Network to Spark CDFI Innovation
This proposal seeks to increase access to capital in underserved areas by spurring innovation amo
Carolina CDFI Collaborative
As a rural state, South Carolina is faced with unique social and econ
Rules

To be eligible to win a prize under the Challenge, an individual or entity—

(1) Must comply with all the requirements under this section.

(2) In the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

(3) Shall not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

(4) Federal grantees may not use Federal funds to develop Challenge applications unless consistent with the purpose of their grant award.

(5) Federal contractors may not use Federal funds from a contract to develop Challenge applications or to fund efforts in support of a Challenge submission.

(6) All applications must propose or present ideas or solutions that have been implemented or are proposed to be implemented in rural areas; bonus points shall be given to ideas or solutions that have been implemented or are proposed to be implemented in rural persistent poverty areas. Please click on the following link to view the Rural Area and Persistent Poverty Lookup Tables: CDFI Fund Prize Challenge Rural and PPC Lookup .

(7) All applications must propose or present an idea or solution that directly addresses the issue of increasing CDFI investments and access to capital in underserved rural areas and/or rural persistent poverty areas.

(8) Applicants must be certified CDFIs, a collaboration of CDFIs, or a non-CDFI partnering with certified CDFIs. Joint applicants as part of any collaboration or partnership should select a primary applicant to submit the application.

An individual or entity shall not be deemed ineligible because the individual or entity used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during a competition if the facilities and employees are made available to all individuals and entities participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis.

Entrants must agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government, its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from participation in the Challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.

Entrants must also agree to indemnify the Federal Government against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities.

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