Catalyzing Finance for Racial Equity

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and Capital Impact Partners are decades-old community development financial institutions (CDFIs) with long-standing commitments to supporting disinvested communities. In recent years, both organizations have explicitly recognized the opportunity to expand their impact by addressing structural racism, both internally and externally, as they deliver products and services to their communities.

NFF and Capital Impact have come together to form Catalyzing Finance for Racial Equity (CFRE), a collaborative that will engage staff, community-centered organizations, and CDFIs in identifying new ways that CDFIs can advance health justice and better support communities by refining or developing new lending products and processes.

Just as the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor awoke larger groups of people to the ongoing, systemic racism our country has suffered for centuries, COVID-19 is also highlighting how communities of color disproportionately bear the burden of both economic and health inequities. While the coronavirus pandemic underscores the devastating toll that an acute health crisis has on people of color – with Black patients facing more than double risk of mortality from the virus compared to white patients, for example – it also magnifies the long-term, chronic lack of access to resources already experienced by those same communities.

The need for CDFIs to address racial equity as the underpinning for lending practices has never been more urgent.

Goals

  • Market Research and Engagement: working with key stakeholders to explore how CDFIs can improve lending practices to advance health and racial justice
  • Thought Leadership: sharing insights with the larger CDFI field to fuel more innovation to advance health equity
  • Learning and Training: continuing to understand how systemic biases inherent within financial systems prevent CDFIs from fully creating communities of opportunity through their work

Projects

Racial Equity Framework for Partnership between CDFIs and Justice-Focused Organizations

The Racial Equity Asset Lab (The REAL) is an organization partnering with Common Future to center racial equity in impact investing and shift capital to close the persistent racial wealth gap. As part of CFRE, NFF and Capital Impact worked with The REAL to build a framework centered on racial equity that explicitly identifies the capacity-building support and capital products that can advance positive outcomes and move the needle on health and racial inequities in communities of color. The REAL developed the framework over the course of a three-month research project that engaged partners, peers, stakeholders, and collaborators - including community-based and grassroots organizations. NFF and Capital Impact is using the framework as part of a listening tour with other CDFIs in various regions.

CFRE Theory of Change Framework with five building blocks: client service orientation, customized TA, appropriately priced capital flexible capital, and

Partners

Capital Impact Partners Logo, showing the letter C inverted in blue and forward facing in light grey
Through capital and commitment, Capital Impact Partners helps people build communities of opportunity that break barriers to success.
Logo for W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which is an orange square with the letters W K K F spaced in the center in white.
Support for CFRE has been generously provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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