PHILADELPHIA - The nation's largest awards program for community development financial institutions announced Oct. 19 that Enterprise Cascadia and Boston Community Capital are the recipients of the 2010 Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance.

The two community development financial institutions will receive $8.25 million in grants and low-cost loans. They will be honored at an awards celebration Nov. 3 at Opportunity Finance Network's 26th annual conference in San Francisco.

Enterprise Cascadia, of Ilwaco and Astoria, will receive $2.75 million - a $2.5 million low-cost loan and a $250,000 unrestricted grant.

The company was chosen because of its new initiative to manage climate change, bankers said. That initiative, Clean Energy Works, is a multi-faceted program designed to create jobs while cutting carbon emissions.

Its main component is low-interest consumer loans that finance energy-efficient retrofits for homes and coordinate contractors to do the work. These retrofits reduce the homeowner's monthly energy costs by an amount roughly equivalent to the loan payment, thus removing an obstacle to implementing energy-efficient measures. Loan repayment occurs on the utility bill, making it easier for homeowners to track and manage their finances. The program was launched in partnership with the city of Portland, and other partners in late 2009, and will be expanded to other areas of Oregon and Washington.

"The NEXT award delivers to Enterprise Cascadia the tangible and intangible resources to scale up energy efficiency finance in rural and urban communities of Oregon and Washington, including Astoria, and to support others who want to do likewise nationally," said John Berdes, president of Enterprise Cascadia.

Since 1995 Enterprise has:

? Invested $60 million in 400 business, social and civic ventures that represent new strategies for economic security and ecological health;

? Provided over 200 clients with advice in matters concerning business strategy, nonprofit organizational capacity, new product development and real estate development.

? Made capital investments and services affecting more than 3,058 jobs, and leveraged an additional $255 million in investment by others.

The other Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT award winner, Boston Community Capital, will receive $5.5 million - a $5 million low-cost loan and a $500,000 unrestricted grant. It was selected for its efforts to keep people in their homes even once foreclosure has occurred.

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