7 Reasons Community Development Financial Institutions Lack Investors

Community development financial institutions are great places for impact investors to put their dollars, but the money isn't flowing. Rosalie Sheehy Cates discusses the barriers in connecting CDFIs and impact investors, and a way forward for both.
May 19, 2014, 1pm PDT | jodi@nhi.org | @shelterforce
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Community development consultant Rosalie Sheehy Cates asks: What does it take for community development financial institutions to reach impact investors as a new source of capital?

Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are seemingly the perfect fit for impact investors: they're staffed with seasoned financiers that have established relationships in low-income communities.

But a study by the Triple Bottom Line Collaborative found that there were several barriers between CDFIs and investors.

The first one? Simply being seen.

Cates writes, "As successful as our affordable housing and business lending is for our communities, TBLC found that CDFI lending and affordable housing is largely invisible to the wider world of private investing. TBLC also found that community organizations are frequently written off as a “government programs” or as risky, shoestring operations. Our first job is to visibly position CDFIs (and our borrowers) as effective and well-managed social enterprises."

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Published on Monday, May 19, 2014 in Shelterforce Magazine
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