Investing in the American Dream

Lora Smith
Speaking on the panel, "Social Investing: So What is a CDFI and Why Are They Important to Communities?" at the Southeastern Council of Foundation's Annual Meeting, Grace Fricks, CEO of ACE Loans told the audience, "The American Dream isn't possible for any of us if it's not possible for low-income people."
 
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) like ACE Loans are having enormous success serving the financial needs of low-wealth communities across the South.
 
Gladys Washington led the panel discussion between  MRBF grantee partners Fricks and Michelle Mapp, CEO of Charleston's Lowcountry Housing Trust. The conversation explored the important role CDFIs are playing in moving people and places out of poverty.
 
5 Things Every Foundation Should Know About CDFIs:
 
1. CDFIs are non-profit financial institutions with a mission of serving low-wealth people.
 
2. CDFIs are an integral part of America's economic recovery as they provide low-wealth individuals, not served by traditional financial institutions, with home ownership, small business development, and savings and credit ratings services.
 
3.  CDFIs also help finance large-scale community projects like affordable housing construction and commercial developments.
 
4. PRIs and grants are two important ways foundations can invest in the high-impact work of CDFIs.
 
5.  A best-practices funding strategy for investing in CDFIs is to expand existing CDFIs, as opposed to creating new ones. A report on investing sustainably in CDFIs released by MRBF can be found here.
 
During the discussion, MRBF staff debuted a new video, Investing in Opportunity: Southern CDFIs, featuring the quantitative and qualitative outcomes Southern CDFIs are having on local communities and lives:

 

To see more videos from MRBF grantees, please visit our Storybank. 
 
A version of this post originally appeared on the SECF's Annual Meeting blog. To read more blog posts from the meeting visit their website.
 
 

 

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