Philadelphia, September 27, 2021 – The Pennsylvania CDFI Network, a coalition of 17 PA-based community development financial institutions, has tapped Varsovia Fernandez as its Executive Director. The announcement comes on the heels of a new report from the Network on the impact of the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program, which awarded $249 million in grants to small businesses across the Commonwealth affected by the COVID crisis.
“In 2020, the Network was able to deliver critical support to over 14,500 small businesses struggling to keep doors open as a result of the pandemic,” said Daniel Betancourt, Chair of the PA CDFI Network and President and CEO of network member Community First Fund. “As communities continue to recover from this health and economic crisis, Varsovia’s leadership will be integral to helping the Network scale its support for businesses across Pennsylvania.”
First to serve as the Network’s Executive Director, Varsovia brings a breadth of civic and business expertise that have helped organizations achieve business results as well as expand their role and contribution in support of their communities. In recent months, her work has included collaborations with CDFIs, financial institutions, coalitions, governing boards, community-based organizations, small business owners, higher education, and legislators to help mitigate the economic devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused across the Philadelphia region and beyond.
The Network consists of 17 CDFIs, which are mission-driven institutions that together serve all 67 counties in the Commonwealth. Through its member institutions, the Network provides business owners with capital and capacity-building assistance—the ingredients they need to continue running their enterprises successfully and build thriving communities.
The Network partnered with the PA Department of Community and Economic Development to develop and administer the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. Allegheny, Lackawanna and Philadelphia Counties provided additional resources to the program to support local businesses. In total, the program provided $249 million in grant awards to help small businesses recover.
Varsovia currently serves as a trustee on the governing boards of Montgomery County Community College, Rosemont College and The Philadelphia Award. She is also a director of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation and is a member of the Comcast National Joint Diversity Council.
Varsovia has received numerous career awards including the Pennsylvania GACLA 2018 Latino 100, the PBJ Minority Executive, the U.S.H.C.C. Hispanic Executive of the Year, the HIAS & Council Heroes of Our Community and the PA Hispanic Bar Outstanding Community Service. In 2016, Pope Francis honored Varsovia with the Benemerenti Medal for her contributions to the 2015 World Meeting of Families.