WASHINGTON (1/13/10)—The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund said it is setting a high bar for success in FY 2010 in its efforts to increase its effectiveness in providing economic development opportunities in the nation’s most underserved communities. “We are aiming to meet and exceed the accomplishments of last year with greater internal operating efficiencies and by expanding our assistance to underserved communities with new initiatives,” the CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell noted in a release. She said first-quarter 2010 initiatives include a first round of the Capital Magnet Fund, and awards under a new Financial Education and Counseling (FEC) Pilot Program. The Capital Magnet Fund is a competitive grant program for CDFIs and other nonprofits to attract private capital for development, preservation, rehabilitation, and purchase of affordable housing for low-income families, as well as economic development activities or community service, which in conjunction with affordable housing activities will implement a concerted strategy to stabilize or revitalize a low-income area or underserved rural area. Through the FEC Pilot Program, the CDFI Fund will provide grants to enable eligible organizations to provide a range of financial education and counseling services to prospective homebuyers. The CDFI Fund, also for the first time, is co-sponsoring the National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference on March 14-18 in New Orleans, La. Gambrell noted, “This is the first time a non-regulatory agency is officially co-sponsoring the conference and a fantastic tribute in our 15th anniversary year to how far the CDFI Fund has come since its inception. We will continue to build partnerships in FY 2010 with other government and non-governmental organizations interested in improving conditions in low-income communities." The CDFI Fund will receive nearly $247 million in resources in 2010 under its largest-ever appropriations–approximately a 130% increase over the $107 million in regular appropriations received in 2009.