Page 1

CDC Impact: Financial Empowerment

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

This week, we take a look at financial empowerment. Approximately 50% of Ohio CDC Association members offer a financial empowerment program. Through financial empowerment initiatives, CDCs provide education and asset building tools so low and moderate income families can become financially independent, improve credit, reduce debt and foreclosure risk, and contribute to community stability.

Did you know that, in 2016, Ohio CDCs:

  • Invested nearly $6,500,000 in financial empowerment programs to leverage $65,000,000  in assets for low-income Ohioans;
  • Conducted financial empowerment programs which improved the financial well-being of 1 out of every 2 participants;
  • Improved the financial well-being of nearly 35,000 Ohioans.

The many organizations that perform this work do so in a myriad ways.

One way is through the OCDCA Assets Ohio Individual Development Account (IDA) Program. Operated by OCDCA since 1999, IDAs are matched savings accounts for low-to-moderate income individuals to save for a first time home purchase, small business venture, or post-secondary education. The participant savers contribute earned income and receive up to an 8:1 match for their desired asset. While saving, they undergo financial education and asset specific education.

One central Ohio OCDCA member helped Deb in 2016. Deb has two sons and six grandchildren. She is a long-time dedicated Goodwill employee and was approved for a Habitat for Humanity home in 2015. After about six months in the IDA program, Deb saved enough money to reach her goal, and was ready for a down payment in March 2016.

Stories like Deb’s are sprinkled throughout the state thanks in part to the work of Ohio CDCs. Because of the work and programs of CDCs, many individuals and families are finding empowerment and economic prosperity that continues to be a challenge for many Americans.


Cincinnati’s first minority-owned brewery coming to Walnut Hills in 2018

Exciting news coming out of Cincinnati, regarding an entrepreneur dedicated to revitalization, two OCDCA members, and beer…sweet, sweet, local beer.

Allison Smith Cohen of Soapbox Cincinnati:

“Recently announced Esoteric Brewing Company has several tactics for setting itself apart from others, starting with the fact that it will be the first minority-owned brewery in the city. Founder and CEO Brian Jackson honed his skills at MadTree before deciding to set off on his own; he’s also a MORTAR grad.

“’Esoteric’ means ‘sophistication,’” says Jackson. “We’re trying to elevate the palates of customers and the entire experience of people coming to breweries in Cincinnati.”

He plans to offer a diverse selection of brews, which will include local favorites like traditional American IPAs and stouts, as well as more complex beers like his award-winning Belgian quadruple, Nirvana.

Jackson picked a location that matches that sense of style and sophistication: the historic Paramount building in Walnut Hills, which was once known as Cincinnati’s “second downtown.”

The beautiful Art Deco-style building from 1910 has sat empty for a decade, but was purchased last year by the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, and is currently undergoing renovations. Partnering with several community organizations, Esoteric plans to use the roaring ’20s vibe of the space to create a modern speakeasy.”

Read the whole story here.


Kiva: Community Backed Loans

Kiva is an online platform, that allows small business owners and non-profit leaders to crowd-fund, zero interest loans up to $10,000.

The online platform allows for true peer-to-peer lending, giving communities a chance to support their local businesses, and for businesses to increase their reach and social capital.

At Kiva, we are working alongside communities to create a fully inclusive economy.

Kiva: Community Backed Loans webinar
October 24, 2017
10:00 – 11:30 AM
Register Here!


OCDCA receives significant gift from Fifth Third Bank for microbusiness

There are almost 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and over 22 million are microbusinesses with no additional payroll or employees. These businesses are sources of local and personal pride in their communities. The U.S. Small Business Administration found that since 1995, 2 out of every 3 new jobs created have come from small businesses. They are indeed the backbone of the economy, but many microentrepreneurs lack access to traditional banking resources.

In 2013, OCDCA began administration of the Ohio Microbusiness Development Grant Program (OMBDP) via the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). The OMBDP currently provides funding support on a competitive basis to 13 community development organizations to foster microbusiness development for low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs in the form of training, technical assistance, and loan fund development. Through this program, community development organizations strengthen the economic health of their communities by investing time and resources into these microbusinesses, which become community assets.

In 2015 alone, the OMBDP:

  • Provided over 2,100 technical assistance consultations to microbusinesses
  • Educated over 1,000 aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Started or expanded over 200 businesses
  • Created or retained almost 300 jobs in low-to-moderate income communities

OCDCA created the Ohio Microbusiness Recoverable Grant Fund to provide a sustainable pool of funding to these community development organizations, who can then use the funds to make loans to local microentrepreneurs in their community.

The Ohio Microbusiness Recoverable Grant Fund (RGF) is a statewide fund, from which OCDCA makes recoverable grants to sub-sites of OCDCA’s Microbusiness Development Grant Program, in order for the sub-site to then make loans to their low-to-moderate income microentrepreneur clients. Loan repayments are paid back to the subsite who repays OCDCA to replenish the grant fund, so that more grants for loans to microentrepreneurs can be made in the future. 

We at Ohio CDC Association are eager to announce that the OMBDP Recoverable Grant Fund received a significant gift from Fifth Third Bank. As this program gets rolling, we are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Fifth Third Bank to bolster Ohio microbusiness development programs and low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs throughout the state.

Thank you, Fifth Third Bank!


Feds grant $850,000 to reduce crime in Youngstown

Mike Gaunter via WFMJ:

“The fight against criminal activity on Youngstown’s South Side is getting an $850,000 shot in the arm.

The US Department of Justice has awarded the grant to the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, Youngstown Police, and Youngstown State University to develop crime-reduction strategies in a target area on the South Side.

The effort will focus on Market Street, South Avenue, and the Taft and Cottage Grove neighborhoods.

The grant will fund crime-reduction activities in key areas including small businesses, residential property, community empowerment, and neighborhood revitalization.

In 2015, YNDC and its partners were awarded a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation planning grant to analyze crime data, engage community members, review evidence-based practices, and develop a crime-reduction implementation plan.

The plan was finalized in January 2017 and submitted to the US Department of Justice for review, along with an application for implementation funding.”

Congratulations, YNDC! Read the full story.


RFP available: 2018 Ohio microbusiness development program

OCDCA welcomes current, good standing members to apply for the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program.

The purpose of the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program is to provide funding for community development corporations (CDCs) to further develop a local delivery sys

Vino de Milo, a specialty food creator in Athens, uses the ACEnet kitchen incubator.

tem that encourages microbusiness development, provides low- and moderate-income households with access to capital for business development and self-employment, and creates and retains long-term jobs in the private sector.

The maximum grant award is $40,000. Of this, up to 10% may be used for administrative expenses. The structure of the lending allocation for the microbusiness program has changed.

Please refer to the introduction of the funding application for more information. The application is due by 4:00 pm on October 10, 2017.

If you have interest, or if you have questions about the program, please join us for an informational webinar about the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program: September 19, 2017 from 11 am – 12 pm. 

Further questions can be directed to David Foust at dfoust AT or (614) 461-6392 ext. 204.


The Dealership partners with ECDI, expands a unique local resource

Brandon Baker of Freshwater Cleveland:

“The Shaker Heights Development Corporation (SHDC) and Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) operate The Dealership together at 3558 Lee Road in a new partnership that has boosted programming, membership and more since the year began. The new arrangement has ignited an array of new services for area businesses and the community at large, while the coworking space continues to be a unique resource for all Shaker Heights residents who need an office space that isn’t called Starbucks.

“There’s a lot of mission alignment between the two organizations,” SHDC executive director Nick Fedor says. “With SHDC focused on enhancing commercial districts here in Shaker and ECDI really focused on providing capital and resources to entrepreneurs and small businesses, it’s been a really good fit so far.”

The Dealership now has 29 members, up from 11 in January. Fedor says there are just two vacancies among the first floor’s 17 offices. The small business owners there include attorneys, accountants, web developers, caterers, property managers and others. With a 1,000-square-foot space in the rear of the building, the Cleveland Makers’ Alliance brings even more creative entrepreneurs to the hip and funky location with three-hour meetups each Tuesday that are open to the public.”

Read more about this awesome collaboration between two OCDCA  members.


The Nutz & Boltz of IDAs

Join OCDCA next month as we discuss the nutz & boltz of starting an Individual Development Account (IDA) Program through OCDCA’s Assets Ohio Project. IDAs are matched savings account for low-to-moderate income individuals to save for a first time home purchase, post-secondary education, or small business.

Who Should Attend?

  • Organizations considering or developing an IDA Program
  • Organizations that have an IDA program but have new hires
  • New IDA subsites


  • IDAs as a Strategy for Asset Building: Why and How do IDAs Work
  • The Building Blocks of Program Design
  • Assessing your Community’s Needs: Defining your Target Population
  • Funding Resources and Opportunities Explained
  • IDA Program Management
  • Integration of IDAs into Other Agency Programs

This training will be facilitated by Jerolyn Barbee, former Assets Ohio Program Manager.

Nutz & Boltz of IDAs
June 22, 2017
10 AM – 4 PM
Columbus Metropolitan Library
96 S. Grant Avenue
Room 3A
Columbus, OH 43215
Register Here!

Cost: $35 for OCDCA members, $45 for non-members, OCDCA AmeriCorps VISTAs are free
Lunch is provided.


OCDCA receives program support grant from U.S. Bank Foundation

Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) is pleased to announce the award of $5,000 from the U.S. Bank Foundation for the Ohio Microbusiness Development Recoverable Grant Fund.

Previously administered by the state of Ohio, in 2013, OCDCA assumed direction of the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program (OMDP) through an agreement with Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). The purpose of the OMDP is to provide funding for community based organizations to further develop a local delivery system that encourages microbusiness development, provides low- and moderate-income (LMI) households with access to capital for business development and self-employment, and creates and retains long-term jobs in the private sector.

Nature’s Magic owner, Danielle Young, in Athens, Ohio received assistance with her business from ACEnet, an OMDP member serving Southeast Ohio. Here she promotes her products at a Kroger Supermarket.

Assistance enabled by this funding includes training, TA, or lending, with loan funds repaid into a local microbusiness recoverable grant fund.

Outcomes for our microbusiness program are strong. In 2015 we assisted 1,413 households, expanded 82 businesses and created or retained 277 jobs.

The Ohio Microbusiness Recoverable Grant Fund is a statewide fund that allows OCDCA to provide funds to member organizations in the OMDP to make micro loans to LMI entrepreneur clients. Repaid grants are placed back into the fund so that more loans can be made in the future. After an organization has approved a microloan for its client through its loan approval process, it requests a recoverable grant from OCDCA. A 1:1 match is required to use funds from the recoverable grant fund.

By expanding the OMDP with the recoverable grant fund, we continue lending to LMI entrepreneurs while leveraging the ODSA dollars to meet the biggest need of the OMDP organizations:  small business development training, TA and administrative costs.

Leslie Schaller, Deonna Barnett, and Liberty Merrill provide insights on marketing microbusiness programs, and reporting data at a Ohio Microbusiness Development Program Summit.

Funding for the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program comes from the Ohio Housing Trust Fund (OHTF) through the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA); therefore, we are very excited and thankful to have these additional dollars for the Recoverable Grant Fund from U.S. Bank Foundation!



OCDCA announces microbusiness development program grantees

These past two months have been a very exciting time for OCDCA and its members.

Earlier this month, through the use of an impartial review committee, we awarded grants to thirteen members for their microbusiness programs through the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program. We had many great applications and were, unfortunately, unable to fund everyone.

The purpose of the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program is to provide funding for CDCs to further develop a local delivery system that encourages microbusiness development, provides low- and moderate-income households with access to capital for business development and self-employment, and creates and retains long-term jobs in the private sector.

Funding for this can be in the form of either training or technical assistance, or direct assistance to the business in the form of a loan, with loan funds repaid into a local microbusiness revolving loan fund. Funding for this program comes from Ohio Development Services Agency. View a list of all of OCDCA’s funders here.


Awarded Organizations

Adams and Brown Counties Economic Opportunities, Inc.

Appalachian Center for Economic Networks

Asian Services in Action, Inc.

Community Action Agency of Pike County

Economic and Community Development Institute

Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative

HHWP Community Action Agency

INCREASE Community Development Corporation

Northeast Shores Development Corporation

Southern Perry Incubation Center for Entrepreneurs

Supports to Encourage Low Income Families

Vinton County Economic Development Board

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation

Congrats to all of the selected organizations! For more information about the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program, please contact David Foust at