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Foundations and CDFIs: Creative Solutions for Crisis Response and Recovery

About this event

Have you wondered what other foundations are doing to address the growing economic crisis? Is your foundation looking for ways to invest locally or make new investments outside of your typical mandate or mission? 

This webinar will share practical and tangible examples of how foundations have effectively mobilized local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) resources to address the economic impact of this pandemic. You’ll hear from two leading foundations about the creative investments they’ve deployed to address this crisis, along with lessons they’ve learned along the way.

You’ll also learn about how CDFIs serve as an option to deploy mission-aligned investments into your community or across the country rapidly and with compelling impact. This is relevant for foundations who are both new to working with local CDFIs and foundations who have some experience but are looking to deepen that effort during this crisis.

Speakers Include:

  • Cat Berman, Co-Founder and CEO - CNote
  • Avo Makdessian, Vice President and Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships - Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Michelle Nelson, CFO, Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond
  • Caroline Nowery, Vice President, Director of Investor Relations - Virginia Community Capital
  • Lisa O'Mara, Solutions Consultant - LOCUS Impact Investing

Hosted by

  • Guest speaker
    Michelle Nelson Chief Financial Officer @ Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond

    Michelle is responsible for ensuring that financial transactions for the Community Foundation, supporting organizations, affiliates and related entities are properly recorded. She serves as the lead staff for the investment committee and manages the administration of the charitable trusts.

  • Team member
    Catherine Berman CEO @ CNote

    CNote is an award-winning, first-of-its-kind financial platform that allows anyone to make money investing in causes and communities they care about. With the mission of closing the wealth gap, CNote directs every dollar invested toward financially underserved communities across America.

  • Guest speaker
    Caroline Nowery Vice President, Director of Investor Relations @ Virginia Community Capital

    Ms. Nowery is responsible for managing and cultivating relationships with strategic partners and investors who share a passion for the advancement of community development in Virginia. Ms. Nowery also oversees the measurement, collection and reporting of the social and financial returns for VCC i...

  • Guest speaker
    Avo Makdessian VP and Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships @ Silicon Valley Community Foundation

    As vice president and director of Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Center for Early Learning, Avo is a member of SVCF’s leadership team and oversees the Center’s efforts in providing up-to-date research, state and local initiatives, and policy advocacy on pressing issues facing young childre...

  • Guest speaker
    Lisa O'Mara Solutions Consultant @ LOCUS Impact Investing

    As a solutions consultant with LOCUS Impact Investing, Lisa provides customized assistance to place-focused foundations who are ready to explore, unlock, and deploy local impact investments in their communities. Lisa has over 20 years of experience in the philanthropic sector focused on fund deve...


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CNote is a women-led impact investment firm on a mission to close the wealth gap through financial innovation.