FHLBank San Francisco Awards $4 Million in AHEAD Grants to Invigorate Economic Opportunity in Underserved Communities

$4 Million 2023 Program Allocation Represents Doubling of Funding Over Previous Year

2023 AHEAD grants will support 75 innovative economic development initiatives throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 12, 2023 – The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) has awarded $4 million in AHEAD economic development grants to help 75 local organizations boost economic opportunity in underserved communities throughout Arizona, California, and Nevada. The grants, delivered through FHLBank San Francisco member financial institutions, are aimed at advancing innovative economic and community development initiatives that bring greater opportunity to underserved populations. The $4 million program allocation awarded this year represents a 166% increase from the 2022 grant cycle and, for the first time, the maximum grant amount for each recipient was increased to $100,000. These program expansions demonstrate FHLBank San Francisco’s deep commitment to fostering economic vitality throughout the communities it serves.

“The positive impact we have seen AHEAD grants make on countless individuals, small businesses, and communities over the years reinforces our desire to double down and increase our funding two-fold in 2023,” said Teresa Bryce Bazemore, president and chief executive officer at FHLBank San Francisco. “Now more than ever before, our communities are riddled with financial worries, job insecurity, and, in some cases, crippled by climate disasters. The need to funnel funds to organizations dedicated to supporting a wide range of socioeconomic issues has never been higher, and our mission clearly directs us to support and fund these critically important initiatives.” 

AHEAD grants are awarded annually and are intended to create economic opportunity by expanding proven development models or piloting new interventions. This year’s grant recipients support a diverse array of underserved groups, including low- to moderate-income households, individuals of diverse backgrounds -- including women, seniors, underserved youth, individuals with disabilities, formerly incarcerated individuals, the unhoused, and tribal organizations.

“Each year we are inspired by the wide range of impactful programs that are brought to us by our member institutions through the AHEAD grant program,” said Eric Cicourel, senior vice president and community investment officer at FHLBank San Francisco. “We were particularly encouraged by the large number of unique members who participated in this cycle, including many small community banks, regional insurance companies, and local credit unions. These financial institutions are pillars of their communities and have an intimate understanding of the needs of the communities they serve. We are proud to partner with these members to extend a lifeline to so many compelling and deserving organizations.”  

The $4 million in AHEAD grants awarded to 75 AHEAD grantees will support a wide range of projects and beneficiaries: 

20 grants for entrepreneurial/microenterprise projects 

  • 19 grants for job training initiatives 
  • 10 grants for financial education projects
  • 45 grants to support BIPOC community members 
  • 15 grants to support women community members
  • 8 grants to support immigrant community members
  • 7 grants to support Native American community members 
  • 6 grants to support veteran community members 

A sampling of this year’s AHEAD grants:

  • Change Labs, Inc., partnered with member Oxford Life Insurance Company to receive a $100,000 AHEAD grant to fund a kinship-based lending project for Navajo and Hopi small business owners in Tuba City, Arizona. The grant funding will help support the Navajo and Hopi tribal nations in providing financial education and job training, with the goal of creating small businesses to invigorate the vitality of their rural community. 
  • Public Education Foundation partnered with member Wells Fargo National Bank West to receive a $100,000 AHEAD grant to fund PEF Teachers Pathway, a project that will provide funding to support 16 veteran paraprofessionals currently working in education support roles on their path to becoming licensed teachers in Las Vegas, Nevada. The grant funding will support staff salaries, mentor and mentee stipends, and the curriculum and Praxis testing fees. 
  • Community Bridges partnered with member Santa Cruz Community Credit Union to receive a $70,000 AHEAD grant to fund Rising Above the Storms: Empowering Survivors to Rebuild, a project designed to provide a range of essential services to underserved low-income families in Pajaro Valley and Santa Cruz County, California impacted by recent flooding and storms. In addition to supporting staff salaries, this AHEAD grant will primarily provide direct financial support and connect the families with the resources they need to repair their damaged homes. 
  • Black Music Entrepreneurship Incubator partnered with CDFI member Community Vision Capital & Consulting to receive a $50,000 AHEAD grant to fund the HiiiWAV project, which is designed to empower Black musicians and entrepreneurs in Oakland, California and the greater San Francisco Bay Area by equipping them with vital tools, resources, and training to navigate the music industry and build businesses while protecting their art. The AHEAD grant will support staff salaries and other program-related costs. 

Since the AHEAD grant program’s inception in 2004 and in partnership with their 330 generous member institutions, FHLBank San Francisco has awarded more than $25 million to about 800 community-invigorating projects throughout the Bank’s three-state region. The AHEAD grant program is just one example of the Bank’s commitment to fostering economic vitality, affordable homeownership, and wealth creation by contributing up to 15% of annual net profits to mission-aligned initiatives each year. 

To learn more about the AHEAD program and this year’s economic development grant recipients, visit the Bank’s website.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco is a member-driven cooperative helping local lenders in Arizona, California, and Nevada build strong communities, create opportunity, and change lives for the better. The tools and resources we provide to our member financial institutions — commercial banks, credit unions, industrial loan companies, savings institutions, insurance companies, and community development financial institutions — propel homeownership, finance quality affordable housing, drive economic vitality, and revitalize whole neighborhoods. Together with our members and other partners, we are making the communities we serve more vibrant, equitable, and resilient.

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