Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen and expand the direct services of certified nonprofit Community Development Financial Institutions and connect national service participants with meaningful economic opportunity service.

The Economic Mobility Corps Act would instruct the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that carries out national service programs such as AmeriCorps, and the Department of the Treasury to establish a competitive grant program to place national service members at certified nonprofit CDFIs. This initiative addresses the current recruiting challenges and will cultivate talented, dedicated American volunteers who possess a unique mixture of financial skills and commitment to the CDFI mission.

“Commitment to public service that builds, engages, uplifts and empowers is at the very heart of what it means to be American,” said Coons, who serves as co-chair of the National Service Caucus. “We should be cultivating the next generation of community development workforce leaders through the Economic Mobility Corps Act. Some of those national service members will stay in the CDFI industry following their service and use their newly gained financial and community development planning skills, creating a long-term positive impact on the industry and the communities they serve.”

The Economic Mobility Corps Act is endorsed by the CDFI Coalition and Voices for National Service.

CDFIs are mission-driven financial lenders. There are more than 1,000 treasury-certified CDFIs located in all states, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico. CDFIs have provided esponsible financial products and services that have benefited low-income and distressed communities as well as community businesses since the program’s inception in 1994. CDFIs leverage $12 in private capital for every dollar in federal support.

The bill text is available at bit.ly/2FG1gog, and a one-page summary is available at bit.ly/2OvWlJ9.