By Masouda Omar, Head of Small Business & Community Development Credit – Lending Operation
As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Capital Impact Partners has played a part in both upholding and dismantling systemic racial bias in the credit system.
Since our inception, we have served sectors, industries, and borrowers not served by the traditional financial system.
Like many CDFIs, Capital Impact provides more flexibility than traditional lenders in some key areas like loan-to-value limits and financial covenants that borrowers must meet.
However, our credit guidelines – the policies that guide our loan structures and lending decisions – are built on the traditional approach to credit that has deep roots in a financial system that intentionally excluded people of color for much of its history. Often, our lending team seeks one or several “exceptions” to our credit guidelines to accommodate the diverse needs of our diverse borrowers.
Creating flexible financing is both a mindset and an approach. To do so, we need input from our clients and communities to rethink and reshape our products and requirements. When done correctly, this approach gears us away from the extractive patterns of traditional financing and closer to confirming that when people are given the opportunity to succeed, their communities, local residents, and our country thrive.
Affordable housing development firms led by people of color – both nonprofit and for-profit – are highly underrepresented in the housing industry, yet are a critical resource for strengthening the housing development ecosystem as a whole and expanding the supply of homes that are affordable. Currently, people of color are estimated to make up less than 5% of the developers in the country.
To support the growth of and opportunities for developers of color in the Washington metro area, as well as increasing the amount of affordable housing regionally, Capital Impact Partners partnered with Amazon to create our Housing Equity Accelerator Fellowship (HEAF). The fellowship provides training, mentorship, and grant capital to support wealth building for developers and their firms, and community building through increased affordable housing.
One of our HEAF participants is Ronette “Ronnie” Slamin, founder of Embolden Real Estate. In this blog profile by HAND, she discusses her journey to becoming a real estate developer, how she views real estate development as a tool to address infrastructure issues, and being intentional about creating space for women and people of color.
2022 is a special year for us at Capital Impact Partners as it marks our 40th anniversary. Four decades of leaning into helping people build communities of opportunity and developing pathways to success.
And while this is an exciting time for us as we embark on a new strategy under Momentus Capital, it is equally important to remember our roots as a champion for the cooperative movement.
Oakland, Ca. is a vibrant place, a reflection of the multicultural communities within its borders. However, Oakland also experiences poverty, limited social services, and crime, which hold its communities back – particularly communities of color – from achieving their full potential.
Over the past several years, Oakland has seen an influx of residents as the demand for housing in the San Francisco Bay area has driven many people there, on top of the residents who already called the city home.
By Ashlee Cunningham, Senior Specialist, Housing and Community Development
In Detroit, long-term disinvestment in the city’s neighborhoods has led to unequitable barriers to opportunity. Systemic racism and disenfranchisement limited opportunities for many Detroiters, more than 80 percent of whom are Black. That has kept many people from securing equitable access to safe, affordable housing; starting businesses; and other pathways to wealth building. As Detroit has worked to overcome bankruptcy, investment in the city has compounded these issues by leaving people living with low incomes with little ability to keep up with the pace of growth and gentrification for the neighborhoods they have called home for decades.
Awards First “Challenge Grants” to Seven Bay Area Cities & Counties Leading Innovative Housing Efforts and $30 Million in Loans to Developers Producing and Preserving Affordable Homes
REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA (February 4, 2020) – Bay Area elected officials, community, faith, and business leaders, and philanthropic funders marked the first anniversary of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future by announcing the recipients of the Partnership’s first-ever “Challenge Grants” to seven Bay Area local governments and nonprofit partner organizations that are developing innovative housing policies. The Partnership also announced commitments that will allow it to reach its $500 million investment goal ahead of schedule and has already closed seven loans to entities building new affordable housing or preserving existing affordable homes.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) have been bringing investment to Detroit for more than two decades. The mission-driven approach and unique tools that CDFIs bring to the market have played a critical role in the development of new housing and community facilities like grocery stores and schools in the city.
By Ashlee Cunningham, Detroit Housing & Community Development Specialist
Long before Midtown Detroit—or Cass Corridor, as 39-year-old Wayne State University graduate and artist Rachel Barker prefers to call it—was booming with aesthetically pleasing coffee shops, hip art galleries and expensive retail stores, it was the neighborhood where Barker found the first apartment that she called home.
Each year at Capital Impact Partners, we host an offsite, where all staff comes together to discuss successes and challenges in our work, and strategizes how we can continue to commit to the communities that we serve for greater social impact. This year, we held our offsite in our backyard: Washington, D.C. Being a mission-driven organization, we also sought to live out our values and be “of” our Washington, D.C. communities by getting out from behind our desks and serving those who need the most support.