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As community needs and financial markets have become more complex over the decades, the community development financial institution (CDFI) industry has evolved, becoming more sophisticated in its methods, tools, and approaches. Across the nation, many CDFIs are helping to meet the capital needs of low-income communities, partnering with the financial sector in new ways and bringing innovative solutions to old problems. This issue of Cascade highlights some of the issues impacting CDFIs, as well as the products and programs they and their funding sources have implemented.
Theresa Y. Singleton, Ph.D.,
Vice President and Community Affairs Officer
In response to community needs, many CDFIs have moved beyond traditional program areas and financial tools. However, the need to remain focused on the needs of low-income communities is still critical. Mark Pinsky of the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) provides his perspective on the CDFI recertification underway by the CDFI Fund. Donald Hinkle-Brown discusses The Reinvestment Fund’s role as an intermediary of capital and market data in developing healthful foods supermarkets in low-income Baltimore neighborhoods.
Identifying new sources of capital and knowledge is critical in today’s financial environment. Goldman Sachs has expanded its small businesses initiative into Pennsylvania by providing loan capital and an educational curriculum for business owners.
Pamela DeGraff Porter of OFN explains how building capacity in lending and business models has enabled CDFIs to innovate and move successfully into new financing areas.
We are always excited to share data and information that provide insight into low- and moderate-income communities in the Third Federal Reserve District. In this issue, we introduce a new Cascade feature, “Mapping Our Community.” Compiled by Keith Wardrip, community development research manager, it shows the location of 35 CDFIs that existed in the Third Federal Reserve District as of April 2013.
Marty Smith reports on a research study that examines the effects of CDFI Fund financial and technical assistance grants on credit union lending.
These articles demonstrate the many ways in which CDFIs can be a dynamic community development resource, providing not only financing but also transformational ideas.
We’ll continue to report on the important CDFI industry in future issues.