Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program


Since the program's launch in 1997, Empire State Development (ESD) has awarded more than $17 million in grants to federally certified community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to strengthen their lending and technical assistance services. Every year, these CDFIs help thousands of minority- and women-owned business enterprises and small businesses survive and flourish in New York State.

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The Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program bolsters institutions providing microloans to small businesses that often do not qualify for bank loans, as well as provide one-on-one counseling and business development assistance to facilitate credit readiness.


Eligible projects

Certified CDFIs that provide financial assistance and technical assistance services to small businesses and minority and women-owned businesses to help them grow, such as:

  • Assistance with completion of loan applications
  • Technical assistance, including business plan development, in groups and one-on-one
  • Mentorship and peer group programs
  • Credit union services (where available)

How to Apply

ESD issues a request for proposal (RFP) and considers a number of factors when considering making grants to CDFIs, including:

  • Applicant must be certified by the United States Department of Treasury as a CDFI
  • Applicant must have as a primary focus of its activities the provision of financial services for small businesses in New York State, including:
    • Track record and volume of small business lending
    • Performance under previous program grants
    • Institutional capacity and need
    • Merits of the proposed project