By Olivia Rebanal, Director, Loan Programs
Community engagement is a critical component to our work at Capital Impact, particularly as supporters of innovative community-based work. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), we support community-driven solutions that address the economic, social and racial justice barriers to success in our most underserved communities. Having first-hand knowledge of our communities and their needs helps us ensure that the projects we support have the outcomes our clients need.
With our home base in the Washington D.C. area, we strive to be present and engaged in the city’s communities. We work with organizations across the city to address various issues of structural exclusion and poverty. One of the areas that Capital Impact focuses on in this effort is healthy food access. Our strategic focus on health care and healthy food ties directly into our call to help communities achieve their full potential. We all need access to healthy food to thrive.
By Nancy O. Andrews, Ellis Carr, Donald Hinkle-Brown and Joe Neri
As leaders of four of the nation’s largest nonprofit community development financial institutions (CDFIs) with the mission of investing in low-income communities and entrepreneurs, we ask Congress to protect the desperately needed flow of investment capital to America’s struggling cities and towns.
In short, we ask Congress to ensure full funding for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), whose support enables us and more than 1,000 other CDFIs nationwide to provide patient, innovative capital solutions to help small businesses, expand educational opportunities, and build affordable homes. These investments provide a tremendous bang for the taxpayer buck: On average, CDFIs leverage every federal dollar with at least 12 additional dollars from other sources, including banks, foundations, and impact investors.
CDFI investments in underserved communities promote economic opportunity and inclusive growth.
Last year, $233 million in CDFI Fund appropriations led to more than $2 billion worth of investments and loans across the U.S. Most importantly, this capital has fueled economic growth in thousands of distressed cities and towns, providing economic opportunity for millions of Americans. In 2016 alone, with support from the CDFI Fund, CDFIs nationwide created 36,000 jobs, made 11,000 business loans, and financed 24,000 affordable housing units in urban and rural communities that need it most.
Yet, despite a solid track record of success and consistently strong bipartisan congressional support since its founding in 1994, the CDFI Fund is on the chopping block. The Trump administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 would eviscerate the CDFI Fund’s vital programs, cutting all but $14 million of its current $248 million budget.
The House voted to restore some of that funding, and although that’s a good first step, we need more than that. The CDFI Fund must continue to operate at full strength. Without the CDFI Fund, small businesses like veteran-owned Honor Capital, which brings affordable grocery stores and jobs to underserved neighborhoods, wouldn’t exist.
Honor Capital’s seven grocery stores in Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Oklahoma have all been financed with CDFI loans. In Wichita and Winfield, Kan., for example, Honor Capital opened two stores that have brought fresh, affordable foods to their communities, created jobs, and attracted new businesses. Each Honor Capital grocery store serves thousands of customers every week.
As part of Honor Capital’s ambitious plan to increase access to healthy foods and support veteran entrepreneurship nationwide, the company will expand to operating a total of 10 stores by the end of 2017, including new stores in North Carolina and Georgia. This growth is made possible by $9 million in innovative financing provided by a partnership of three CDFIs—IFF, Reinvestment Fund, and Enterprise Community Partners. CDFI financing is essential because many start-up and early-stage businesses like Honor Capital have difficulty accessing credit.
In the District of Columbia’s Congress Heights neighborhood, a $14.4 million capital infusion from two CDFIs, the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and Capital Impact Partners (CIP), enabled the Charter School Incubator Initiative to renovate a building that houses two charter schools. Somerset Prep DC and Community College Preparatory Academy serve students in grades six through 12, as well as adult learners. These two schools expand the opportunities for youth and adults to secure high-quality education in their community. Congress Heights, a predominantly African-American and low-income neighborhood, is undergoing pressure from the rapid public and private-sector development in the District. Like other CDFIs, LIIF and CIP are working to ensure inclusive growth by enabling all residents to participate in the revitalization of their community.
The impact of the CDFI Fund’s support goes well beyond dollars and cents.
CDFIs help communities realize their visions of prosperity. They work closely with local nonprofits, businesses, and government to ensure that they are addressing community needs and priorities. They seek out opportunities that traditional financial institutions often overlook: in neighborhoods where median incomes and school test scores fall below national averages, and in businesses like grocery stores that have thin profit margins and higher risk.
CDFI financing is about helping Americans live better lives—through good jobs; safe and affordable housing; access to fresh, healthy foods; high-quality education from early childhood to college; and excellent health care.
America’s cities, towns and rural areas need the CDFI Fund in order to thrive. Congress should ensure that funding for CDFIs is fully restored in the 2018 budget and keep investment capital flowing to vulnerable communities.
Nancy O. Andrews is President and CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund, which is dedicated to creating pathways of opportunity for low income people and communities. Ellis Carr is Capital Impact Partners’ President and Chief Executive Officer and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and mortgage industries. Donald Hinkle-Brown is President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund, a national CDFI which integrates data, policy and strategic investments to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods. Joe Neri is President & CEO of Chicago-based IFF, the Midwest’s leading non-depository, diversified Community Development Financial Institution, which focuses on strengthening nonprofits and the communities they serve.
By Ellis Carr, President and CEO
The idea of “community” often conjures images of a geographic place, a shared space where people congregate. While true, communities can be so much more. Their true potential can manifest itself when they foster connections between individuals who share mutually beneficial ideals. Through championing those shared values, community members can create a future of shared prosperity.
This idea of community inspires us here at Capital Impact to look beyond the boundaries of space and place and take action to create ‘communities of opportunity’ built on a foundation of equity and inclusion. In doing so, we can create a network of connections that supports successful outcomes for all.
With Capital Impact Investment Notes, you can invest in your values.
In an effort to fulfill that vision, we are announcing a new opportunity that allows you to embrace this broader concept of community and support the values that matter to you. Beginning this week, we are offering Capital Impact Investment Notes, the proceeds of which will support investments in underserved communities across the country. I am excited that S&P assigned a long-term issue credit rating of AA to our Notes*, marking the first time an S&P rated Notes offering is being made available by a Community Development Financial Institution on a continuous basis.
For as low as $1,000, you – as an individual or institution – will have the ability to invest in our mission-driven efforts to create jobs, support equitable access to critical services, foster good health and drive economic development – things that our country so desperately needs.
For more than 30 years, Capital Impact has lent to, invested in and developed programs with the residents in underserved communities, communities that traditional lenders are reluctant to support. Central to that effort is our work to partner with and empower communities to identify locally driven solutions that help address their most pressing needs.
I encourage you to read our stories of impact and see that work through the eyes of those individuals in communities who are benefiting from this collective social impact effort. Now you can help us create more stories of positive social change.
On our website you will find the current Prospectus and Pricing Supplement and terms and highlights associated with the offering of our Notes. I invite you to discuss these details with your broker.
This announcement is an important step in providing another way for you to align your investments with your values and truly make a difference in the lives of others.
I hope that you will join us in creating communities of opportunity that break down barriers to success and expand equity for all.
This is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. Such an offer is made only by means of a current Prospectus (including any applicable Pricing Supplement) for each of the respective Notes. Such offers may be directed only to investors in jurisdictions in which the Notes are eligible for sale. Investors in such states should obtain a current Prospectus by visiting https://www.capitalimpact.org/invest/capital-impact-investment-notes. Investors are urged to review the current Prospectus before making any investment decision. No state or federal securities regulators have passed on or endorsed the merits of the offering of notes. Any representation to the contrary is unlawful. The notes will not be insured or guaranteed by the FDIC, SIPC or other governmental agency. As of October 16, 2017, the Notes will be offered for sale in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, excluding the States of Arkansas and Washington and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
*S&P Global assigned a long-term issue credit rating of AA to the Notes on September 7, 2017. Please check the current Pricing Supplement at the link above for the S&P credit rating assigned to Notes currently being offered for sale. An S&P credit rating is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold Notes and may be subject to suspension, reduction or withdrawal at any time by S&P.
More than Money Podcast Interviews Ellis Carr, President & CEO of Capital Impact
Expanding opportunities for residents in low-income communities is the focus of community development financial institutions (CDFIs). These mission-driven institutions prioritize social, economic and racial justice for underserved communities over and above profits, meaning that CDFIs invest in places and projects that traditional lenders are often reluctant to support.
By Danielle Graceffa, Senior Director, Legal Services
Real estate development has always been a risky proposition, fraught with numerous challenges that must always be carefully balanced against the promise of reward.
Throw in the possibility of rehabbing historic properties and that risk-reward scenario is certainly amplified. The city of Detroit, where we have our Midwestern office, is a perfect example.
Founded in the 1700s, the city has witnessed various transformations, with Henry Ford setting the stage for Detroit to become the booming manufacturing center that it is best known as. During that time, the population swelled from around 200,000 residents to well over 1.5 million.
By Emilie Linick, Senior Loan Officer, and Quanic Fullard, Impact Strategy Specialist
Capital Impact Partners has long been driven by a mission to help people build communities of opportunity that break barriers to success. To that end, we continually look to expand our lending and incubate, scale, and advocate for new ideas that advance community development for those most in need.
By Kimberly Dorsett, Human Resources Director
The concept of identity politics has had a lot of press of late. How do we, as professionals, as voters, as members of our community, as individuals, apply our own identity and personal narrative to our actions and convictions? Given the diversity of our organization and the communities we serve, is the act of presenting and leveraging our own backgrounds an appropriate starting point for our professional work?
By Ellis Carr, President and CEO and Scott Sporte, Chief Lending Officer
Note: This Op-Ed originally appeared in the publication Capital Weekly.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s report The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2015, nearly eight million people in California were living in poverty in 2015. The report indicated that the state’s poverty rate was 20.6 percent—well above the national rate of 15.1 percent—and surpassed the rates of every other state in the nation.
Ellis Carr, President and CEO
2016 was marked by change—both for the U.S. and for Capital Impact. Our country witnessed a transition in leadership and with it words and actions that have divided our country. Part of this division included the voices of many who felt the American Dream had passed them by.
Scott Sporte, Chief Lending Officer
We have had a strong year in our lending work, where many of our newest initiatives gained momentum and had tremendous impact in the communities we serve. As witnessed in our 2016 Annual Report, we delivered $118 million in financing through our core lending work that supported community-based health care, high-performing charter schools, innovative approaches to services for seniors, mixed-income housing and access to fresh, healthy foods.