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About the Webinar Series

The Connecting Communities® webinar series is a Federal Reserve System initiative intended to provide a national audience with timely insights and information on emerging and important community and economic development topics. The webinar series complements existing Federal Reserve Community Development outreach initiatives that are conducted through the 12 Reserve Bank regional offices and at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.

Why is the Fed engaged in community development? The Fed understands that stable communities promote stable regions and, thus, a more robust economy overall. Through applied research, public programs, outreach and technical assistance, the Fed's community development departments help promote economic growth and financial stability in communities across the country, especially those in low- and moderate-income areas. Regional Reserve Banks, while connected in this shared mission, are uniquely poised to develop programs that respond to the local needs of their districts.

Webinar topics will vary and will be targeted to broadening the knowledge of community development practitioners, financial institution representatives, nonprofit organizations, policymakers, and others. Each hour-long webinar will feature 30-45 minutes of speaker presentations followed by an interactive question-and-answer period. Sessions are free and open to the public.

For questions about this program, please contact us at communities@stls.frb.org.

Community Development at the Federal Reserve

The community development (CD) function within the Federal Reserve System – consisting of individual community development departments at each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks as well as at the Board of Governors – promotes economic growth and financial stability for lower-income communities and individuals through a range of activities, including:

  • Convening stakeholders: The function brings together practitioners from financial institutions, nonprofits, governmental agencies, and the philanthropic and private sectors to collaborate on community and economic development initiatives and to identify both key challenges and promising practices to address them.

  • Conducting and sharing research: The function provides policymakers and practitioners with objective analysis on the economic challenges facing lower-income communities and attendant policy and program implications. CD research is often posted online in blogs, articles, and working papers and is shared both in small group settings and at larger scale conferences.

  • Identifying emerging issues: The function gathers and analyzes current information on economic and financial conditions to identify emerging issues affecting lower-income communities and individuals. For example, staff regularly conduct web-based polls or surveys of individuals and organizations to help track perceptions and provide market intelligence and sentiments around a wide range of CD issues.

The CD function's original focus was on supporting the implementation of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA encourages depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. The CRA defines low-income as individuals and geographies having a median family income less than 50 percent of the area median income. Moderate-income is defined as individuals and geographies having a median family income of at least 50 percent and less than 80 percent of the area median income.

While the CRA is still an important focus, CD also seeks to mobilize ideas, networks, and approaches that address a wide range of community and economic development challenges. The function leverages its capacity by working with intermediaries that offer financial, real estate development, advisory, and human services, rather than working directly with consumers or providing direct funding.

The unique structure of the Federal Reserve System allows the CD function to scale its efforts strategically. At times, individual Districts respond to region-specific challenges by tailoring their efforts based on their staff's local knowledge and networks, and through leveraging expertise at branch offices. In other instances, multiple Reserve Banks collaborate to address various dimensions of a particular issue, such as post-foreclosure neighborhood stabilization initiatives, and to support impact-producing strategies broadly.

For questions about the Federal Reserve's Community Development programs, please contact us at communities@stls.frb.org.

District Community Development Contacts

To view contact information, click on any district.
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DISTRICT 1: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

DISTRICT 2: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

DISTRICT 3: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

DISTRICT 4:Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

DISTRICT 5:Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

DISTRICT 6: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

DISTRICT 7: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

DISTRICT 8: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

DISTRICT 9: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

DISTRICT 10: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

DISTRICT 11: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

DISTRICT 12: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Connecting Communities® FAQs

Why was this program created?

Communication is key. As part of the Federal Reserve System, community development staff are uniquely positioned to provide information to the public on community and economic development topics. In this spirit, this webinar program is designed to serve as a tool for sharing expertise on emerging and important community development topics.

What is the Connecting Communities® session format?

Connecting Communities® is a webinar call-in program featuring speaker presentations on a variety of emerging and important community and economic development topics. Each hour-long session features 30-45 minutes of slides and speaker presentations, followed by an interactive question-and-answer period.

Who is the target audience for these sessions?

The intended audience for our sessions varies depending on the topic. Generally speaking, these sessions will be of interest to community development professionals, practitioners, financial institution representatives, policymakers, and all those with an interest in furthering the economic growth and financial stability of low- and moderate-income communities.

How can I participate as an audience member?

All sessions (and session materials) are free and open to the public; however, a valid email address is required. By providing a valid email address to participate in a session, you will receive access to the Connecting Communities® website, with information on upcoming sessions as well as an archived inventory of materials from previous sessions (including audio replay).

How can I ask questions as an audience member during these sessions?

We are very interested in audience participation. Registrants are able to submit questions several ways. Questions can be submitted before and during the sessions via e-mail. If you have a question during the call, you may submit it via e-mail or ask a live question on the phone. Registrants that join the webinar can also submit a question using the chat feature via the webinar tool. If we happen to run short on time during the live sessions, we make our best efforts to respond to questions that do not get answered at the conclusion of each session.

Can I make topic suggestions for a future Connecting Communities® session?

Yes. We welcome all suggestions for future topics at any time via e-mail at communities@stls.frb.org

How can I learn more about other Federal Reserve community development information and resources?

By visiting www.FedCommunities.org, you will find a wide array of information from all 12 Federal Reserve Banks and the Board of Governors. This "one stop" site will be continuously updated and features an interactive search tool that allows users to find links to research papers, events, multimedia tools, and much more.