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OFN, Citi Foundation Announce Class of 50 CDFI Professionals for 'Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance'

Dec 20, 2013 by Lewis Wood

Unique Professional Development Program ‘by CDFIs for CDFIs’ to Advance Opportunity Finance Expertise Across the U.S.

Dave Prosser
VP of Community Development
Freedom First Credit Union
(540) 378-8922  

(Dec. 17, 2013) - Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and the Citi Foundation today announced the selection of 50 Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) professionals to take part inthe Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance. Freedom First Credit Union’s Nicole Pendleton is one of the professionals selected for this program. The 10-month course begins in January.

Nicole Pendleton, Community Development Analyst at Freedom First, was chosen from more than 120 applicants nationwide. The selections reflect the diversity of CDFIs and the low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged communities they serve. Freedom First’s mission is “Helping Our Members Prosper—Helping Our Communities Thrive.” It serves Virginia’s Roanoke and New River Valleys.

“Freedom First is excited and honored to participate in this new program, which will further the cause and reach of opportunity finance.” says Paul Phillips, Freedom First’s President/CEO. “Nicole Pendleton’s expertise with regard to the CDFI industry make her an obvious choice as an emerging leader.”

The program will include three separate career level cohorts, with 11 Executive Leaders, 19 Mid-career Leaders, and 20 Emerging Leaders. Pendleton was selected to participate as an Emerging Leader.

“Developed by CDFIs for CDFIs, the program supports professionals who strive to lead transformational—structural and systemic—change,” said Mark Pinsky, CEO of OFN. “OFN is excited to be able to offer this unique CDFI leadership pro-gram with the generous support of the Citi Foundation, which has supported the CDFI industry for more than 20 years.”

Participants come from 21 states and the District of Columbia. They represent a variety of CDFI types and specialties, including commercial real estate lending, microfinance, consumer finance, and affordable-housing finance. A complete list of participants is available at:

About Freedom First Credit Union

With 47,000 members, assets of more than $300 million, and 9 branch locations, Freedom First Credit Union is the largest CDFI in Virginia. Freedom First is owned and controlled by its members and operates for the purpose of providing access to affordable, equitable financial and development services to its members and the Roanoke and New River Valley communities. The Credit Union National Association named Freedom First 2013’s national “Community Credit Union of the Year.” For more information, visit

About Opportunity Finance Network

Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the leading network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low- income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2011, OFN’s network originated more than $30 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed 940,000 housing units, 83,000 business and microenterprises, and 9,000 community facilities. More information is available at:

About the Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of low- to moderate-income individuals and families in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, College Success, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. In the United States, the Citi Foundation also supports Neighborhood Revitalization programs. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance, Enterprise Development, and Neighborhood Revitalization to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at


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