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February 19, 2014

Feb. 19, 2014

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Contact: Natalie Lester
Moxley Carmichael


The Knoxville Area Urban League, with the City of Knoxville, announced today its new community development financial institution (CDFI) certification at its annual membership meeting at the Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park.

“The Urban League has been quite tenacious as we worked with the U.S. Treasury to gain this certification,” said Phyllis Nichols, Knoxville Area Urban League president and CEO. “We’re working to achieve sustainable efforts for economic development. One tenet of our mission is community development and becoming a certified CDFI will allow the Urban League to provide capital to a target market not served by traditional institutions.

“We will be able to strengthen our entrepreneurship training through partnerships and provide technical support to startups and expanding small and minority businesses.”

As a CDFI, the Knoxville Area Urban League will provide critically needed capital, credit and other financial products, along with technical assistance, to residents and businesses, service providers and developers who are working to meet community needs.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero applauded the Urban League’s CDFI certification.

“This opens up new resources,” Rogero said. “This creates new opportunities for small business development and enhances the capacity of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and other initiatives to nurture entrepreneurs in our city.”

The certification means strategic lending that started through the Urban League’s administration of the city’s Empowerment Zone small business loan program can continue and expand to new beneficiaries, according to the mayor.

“I’m really excited,” Rogero said. “The bottom line is jobs will be created, and this will be a great resource to entrepreneurs in the Empowerment Zone and throughout the city and Knox County.”

Across the country in 2012, CDFI awardees provided more than 5,000 small business and microenterprise loans, created or maintained more than 25,000 full-time jobs and used their grant funding to leverage $1.5 billion in private investment. Institutions also financed almost 1,800 affordable housing units and 16,000 affordable rental units. They also provided financial literacy and other training to more than 177,000 individuals in the communities they serve.

“This certification will boost economic development in Knoxville,” said Cynthia Moxley, Knoxville Area Urban League board chair. “It opens the doors for entrepreneurs and those in need of financial training. We are fortunate to have the Knoxville Area Urban League in our community to provide these services.”

About the Knoxville Area Urban League

Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 8,000 people it impacts each year. For more information, go to

For more information on the Knoxville Area Urban League and its programs, call 865-524-5511 or visit