Fifth Annual Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards Ceremony, November 15, 2010 in Minneapolis, MN

The Fifth Annual Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance was held at the Hilton Minneapolis on November 15, 2011, and attendees were treated to an evening of fun and festivities in celebration of CDFIs, finalists, and the distinguished Awardees. This year’s theme was “the NEXT effect” and the program helped illustrate how CDFIs develop innovative financing strategies, products, and services—tailored to the specific needs and opportunities each CDFI has recognized in their markets.

Highlights of the evening included:

  • Fantastic emcees, including Lesley Eckstein, Executive Vice President for Community Lending and Investment at Wells Fargo, and Debra Schwartz, Director, Program Related Investments at The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Recognition of the 2011 Selection Committee members
  • Videos of the two multi-million dollar finalists, Opportunity Fund and NCB Capital Impact
  • Videos and speeches by the multi-million dollar Awardees: $2.75 million Awardee, The Progress fund; and $5.5 million Awardee, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
  • Reveals of the four $25,000 Awardees: Alternatives Federal Credit Union for Advocacy; Neighborhood Development Center for Community Impact; Charter School Development Corporation for Financing; and Genesis Community Loan Fund for Innovation

After the finalists and Awardees were honored, OFN President and CEO Mark Pinsky took the stage.

He re-introduced Lesley Eckstein who announced that for the next five years, the NEXT Awards will focus on CDFIs expanding coverage in underserved communities. And that beyond this broad theme, the NEXT Awards will also focus on a programmatic theme each year, and the theme for 2012 is Expanding Geographic and Product Coverage.

Mark then introduced the Kresge Foundation’s President and CEO, Rip Rapson, who made an exciting announcement that Kresge will be a new partner in the NEXT Awards, contributing $10 million in 2011-2012! Additionally, to help CDFIs prepare for next year’s applications, Kresge will provide $200,000 in planning grants to assist CDFIs in doing the kind of research that is necessary for successful expansions. After a hearty round of applause, the ceremony concluded and attendees chatted and networked to the jazzy tunes of Thomasina, one of the premier vocalists in the Twin Cities’ new jazz scene.

Read more about the Awardees, or view videos.