CDFI Fund Changes Certification Requirements
On March 8, 2019, the CDFI Fund issued a Request for Public Comment on the fiscal year (FY) 2020-2022 Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program) Application. After reviewing the comments received, the CDFI Fund has decided to proceed with updating the certification requirements to apply for a CDFI Program or NACA Program Financial Assistance award.
Beginning with the FY 2020 application round, all CDFI Program and NACA Program Financial Assistance applicants must be certified CDFIs as of the date the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) is published in the Federal Register. This means that the CDFI Fund will no longer process funding applications and CDFI certification applications simultaneously for CDFI Program and NACA Program Financial Assistance award round applicants. Any organization that is not a certified CDFI as of the date the NOFA is published in the Federal Register that applies for a CDFI Program or NACA Program Financial Assistance award will be found ineligible for that funding round.
My organization is currently not certified. What do I need to do?
This change only affects your organization if you are currently not certified and you are planning to apply for a CDFI Program or NACA Program Financial Assistance award for the FY 2020 funding round.
The CDFI Fund strongly recommends that any non-certified organization that wishes to apply for a FY 2020 Financial Assistance award submit a CDFI Certification application as soon as possible. The CDFI Fund is tentatively planning to publish the NOFA for the FY 2020 CDFI Program and NACA Program application round in early 2020, and it may take up to 90 days to process your organization’s CDFI Certification application.
As a reminder, non-certified organizations are still eligible to apply for Technical Assistance awards.
My organization is a certified CDFI. Do I need to do anything?
If your organization is currently certified, there are steps you should take to make sure your certification remains in good standing. All certified CDFIs are required to submit the Annual Certification and Data Collection Report in order to maintain their certification status. The report submission deadline is based upon your organization’s fiscal year end date. View the CDFI Certification website for more information.
Is there anything else I can do now to prepare to apply for a FY 2020 CDFI Program or NACA Program award?
Yes. If you are applying for a Financial Assistance or a Technical Assistance award, you should make sure that you have your organization’s correct DUNS and EIN numbers, and that your SAM.gov and Grants.gov accounts are active and accurate. The steps to set up these accounts can be time consuming, and past applicants have been found ineligible for not finalizing these accounts by the CDFI Fund’s program application deadlines. The CDFI Fund does not manage those systems, and is unable to assist organizations having difficulty processing those accounts.
For detailed information about steps you can take now, please review last year’s Getting Ready to Apply blog post, which is still relevant for the upcoming FY 2020 round. Registering in SAM.gov and Grants.gov is not dependent upon a specific CDFI Fund application round being open, and can be done at any time.
I have questions about my certification status. Who can I talk to?
If you are unsure about your organization’s certification status, or if you have any other questions, please reach out to the Certification, Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation team via an AMIS Service Request; by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or by phone to (202) 653-0423. Please note this is not a toll free number.
The Certification team also holds monthly conference calls to address questions about applying for, and maintaining, CDFI certification. View the schedule of upcoming calls here.
To learn more about the CDFI Program and NACA Program, please visit www.cdfifund.gov/cdfiand www.cdfifund.gov/native.