“Capital flows where it is wanted and treated well.”
Mark Pinsky, CDFI Friendly America
Research confirms that Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) lending per capita in Northeast Florida significantly lags the State of Florida and the U.S. Why is this important? CDFIs offer patient and flexible capital that can bridge financing gaps in affordable housing projects, small businesses, and other community-based development projects. Without access to the type of patient capital that CDFIs offer, small businesses and entrepreneurs are often forced to turn to high-interest predatory lending options that strips low-wealth residents and communities of color of the chance to build sustainable wealth.
While about 10 CDFIs were active locally in 2021, data between 2005 and 2019 suggest that Northeast Florida had about three times less CDFI capital deployed per capita than the averages for Florida and the country.
Designing a Solution
In 2021, Jessie Ball duPont Fund contracted with CDFI Friendly America to explore opportunities and challenges to increasing patient and flexible capital in Northeast Florida.
We are working collectively to maximize and unlock patient capital by overcoming barriers that impede capital from flowing, including the need for improved communication, coordination, collaboration, and innovation, among other elements consistent with a healthy lending ecosystem.
The initial report identified four areas of focus to maximize patient capital locally. A collaborative of local stakeholders formed working groups to develop action plans for each priority, which includes the following:
- Supporting affordable housing development and ownership;
- Strengthening the entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem;
- Expanding the commitment of local stakeholders to community development; and
- Increasing communication and coordination of community development efforts.
The four CDFI Friendly working groups are welcoming new members with expertise in and passion for the research-defined focus areas. Contact duPont Fund Director of Impact Investing Chris Crothers at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.