NFF Theory of Change

We believe that NFF effects change in communities by working with our lending and consulting clients – the organizations who work within those communities – and through advocacy directed at partners and systems, which often control the flows of resources into communities. It’s through these partnerships with numerous stakeholders that NFF’s work leads to greater racial equity and community wealth and well-being. This will manifest as communities having greater agency to control their own resources, the creation of more jobs and services to support thriving local communities, and healthier, more vibrant communities. 

Communities of color have long been excluded from building wealth as a result of institutional and systemic, structural racism, and so we are especially focused on how we can support and partner with organizations led by and serving people of color. To do this, we continue our own internal work to become a more equitable CDFI.

In practice this means: 

  • Greater agency of community members to control community resources. When financial resources and the financial acumen needed to raise funding are more accessible to more community leaders (often, the leaders of local nonprofit organizations) and members of the community, they are better equipped to develop and deliver on community responsive services and projects to acquire and retain community assets from predatory developers or other forces of gentrification and displacement. 

  • More jobs and services that support thriving local economies. Nonprofits are often economic anchors in their community, and partnering with NFF allows them to better sustain that role. Many of our clients’ projects provide construction jobs in the short term, but long-term their organizations create permanent jobs in the community, and provide other essential community resources, like human services and quality schools. 

  • Healthier, more vibrant communities. This can be the literal provision of health care, which is something that many of NFF’s clients do – but it goes beyond that, and includes the things that lead to a high quality of life in our communities, like artistic outlets and access to green spaces.  

The graphic below provides a high-level summary of our Theory of Change.

Graphic of 5 colorful circles all connected by arrows showing NFF's Theory of Change, from client outcomes to community wealth and well-being.