First United Bank partners with Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines to award $40,000 to The Red River Community Housing Development through the Member Impact Fund

L:R: Julie Byron, SVP at First United Bank, Julie Gemmill, President of the Walsh County Job Development Authority and Stacie Sevigny, Executive Director of the Walsh County Job Development Authority.

First United Bank, in partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB Des Moines), is pleased to announce the Red River Community Housing Development Organization will receive a $40,000 grant from the FHLB Des Moines Member Impact Fund. This matching grant program, which was introduced in 2023, will provide nearly $20 million to eligible organizations in order to strengthen communities in targeted areas of FHLB Des Moines’ district. In 2024 FHLB Des Moines increased the Member Impact Fund by $10 million.

First United Bank is a proud sponsor of the Red River Community Housing Development Organization who is partnering with the Walsh County Job Development Authority to provide community development initiatives. 

The grant funds will be used to help renovate an existing 5,000 sq.ft.building on Grafton’s main street which will be used as a childcare center. Once construction is complete, ownership of the building would be transferred to the Red River CHDO. The CHDO is an existing 501c3 non-profit serving Region 4 of ND. The provider would pay rent to utilize the space owned by the CHDO.

Quality childcare is a major barrier to workforce recruitment and retention, as well as the economic health and resiliency of the communities. A North Dakota Region 4 (Walsh, Pembina, Nelson, and Grand Forks counties) survey conducted in summer 2022 showed that 79% of 556 respondents indicated work was affected when childcare arrangements fell through. 

Walsh County is one of 15 ND counties considered to be childcare desert. According to Child Care Aware of ND, the County has just 29% of the needed supply to meet demand.

The goal of this project is to create a turn-key childcare facility to eliminate overhead costs for a provider to operate from. Reducing overhead costs would allow a licensed provider to scale up their business and increase childcare slots. There are currently no providers in Walsh County licensed as a center. 

The provider identified to operate in the space would be able to move from a group to a center license, therefore adding an additional 25-30 childcare slots. This project could potentially remove Walsh County from childcare desert status. If the provider were to leave childcare, the facility remains for someone else to fill the need in Walsh County. Utilizing the Member Impact Fund for this project provides significant assurance that the funds will be used now and in the future for the goal of increasing the availability of quality childcare slots to meet demand.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines to support this project. Childcare is a vital component of our economic health and this grant will go a long way in bridging the gap in Walsh County.” Stated Steve Rehovsky, CEO of First United Bank. 

First United Bank, founded in 1885, has assets totaling over $675 million and offers full-service banking along with Trust and Insurance services. The bank has a long history in northeast North Dakota including locations in Park River, Adams, Michigan, Petersburg, Grafton, Hoople, Crystal, Aneta, Sharon, Cooperstown, Devils Lake, Cando, Cavalier, Fargo, Maddock and Rugby.

FHLB Des Moines provides funding solutions and liquidity to more than 1,200 members to support mortgage lending, economic development and affordable housing in the communities they serve. The Member Impact Fund provides $3 for every $1 of an eligible FHLB Des Moines member’s grant donation to strengthen the ability of not-for-profits or government entities to serve the affordable housing or community development needs of their communities. The Member Impact Fund awards are given in partnership with member financial institutions to communities in their districts to become more vibrant places to live and work. 

The Member Impact Fund is part of FHLB Des Moines’ ongoing mission to offer a variety of funding options through its members to support affordable housing and community development needs. Kris Williams, President and CEO of FHLB Des Moines, shares, “We are thrilled to see grants from our Member Impact Fund having a direct, positive impact on the communities in which our members help advance affordable housing and community development needs in a meaningful way.”

The Member Impact Fund matching program is available to organizations located in Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Member institutions in these locations submitted applications in February and March 2024; funds were distributed directly to the member institution, which then provide the funding alongside a matching grant from FHLB Des Moines for the partner/recipient organization.

Recipient organizations were selected based on the needs for grant funding to support capacity-building or working capital necessary to strengthen their ability to serve affordable housing or community development needs, including training, predevelopment assistance, management information systems or software, strategic planning, market study or community needs assessment, and working capital.

About Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines is deeply committed to strengthening communities, serving 13 states and three U.S Pacific territories as a member-owned cooperative. We work together with over 1,200 member institutions to support affordable housing, economic development and community improvement. 

FHLB Des Moines is one of 11 regional Banks that make up the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Members include community and commercial banks, credit unions, insurance companies, thrifts and community development financial institutions. FHLB Des Moines is wholly owned by its members and receives no taxpayer funding. For additional information about FHLB Des Moines, please visit

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