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MaineStream Finance Awarded $950,000 from U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund

MaineStream Finance, a subsidiary of Penquis, received two awards totaling $950,000.

October 22, 2014

The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) awarded 185 organizations more than $195.4 million through the fiscal year 2014. The CDFI Fund enables Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) likes MaineStream Finance and others across the country to increase their lending and investments in low-income and economically distressed communities, including Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.

MaineStream Finance, a subsidiary of Penquis, received two awards totaling $950,000. One grant in the amount of $700,000 will make it possible for MaineStream Finance to offer Maine residents flexible and affordable loan programs, financial education and credit services.
The other award of $250,000 is a Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) grant. This grant supports projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities that currently lack these options. In many communities across Maine, availability of fresh food is low, or even non-existent. A grocery store may be several hours away on foot, leaving families with little to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, or other elements of a healthy diet. These areas are known as “food deserts,” and usually exist in low-income regions. This HFFI grant is targeted to healthy food growers, producers and small retailers serving the 17 food deserts within Penobscot, Piscataquis, Knox and Waldo counties in Maine. MaineStream Finance will use this grant to support its Healthy Foods Options (HFO) program, which began in 2012.

“This award will bring greater resources to individuals, homeowners and entrepreneurs living in central and coastal Maine,” said Jayne Crosby Giles, CEO of MaineStream Finance. “This was a very competitive grant round and we are extremely pleased to receive both awards.”

“CDFIs and Native CDFIs are important community partners providing critically needed financing that not only allows families to buy their first home, or entrepreneurs to start or expand a business, but that generates economic growth and revitalizes America’s low-income and economically-distressed communities,” said Jessica Milano, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “The awards will help these CDFIs build their capacity in order to better meet the investment and lending needs of the communities they serve.”

For information about MaineStream Finance’s services and programs, visit www.mainestreamfinance.org, or  207-973-3500.

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