The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund is an independent agency administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury, which was established by the Riegle (D-MI) Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994. Since its inception, the fund has awarded more than $1.1 billion.
The CDFI Fund helps financial institutions expand credit, capital, and financial services to historically underserved populations and communities nationwide. To accomplish this mission, it leverages private investment by providing equity capital to community-based lenders — also known as CDFIs — which take the following five forms:
- Community development banks
- Community development credit unions
- Community development loan funds
- Community development venture capital funds
- Microenterprise loan funds
The CDFI Fund operates multiple programs, including, among others, the CDFI program, the New Markets Tax Credits, Bank Enterprise Award Program, and the Capital Magnet Fund. While the programs differ, all of them help promote access to capital and local economic growth in low-income communities. Grants are awarded based on the strength of business plans, market analyses, and performance goals. All funds must be matched at a minimum level of one to one with non-federal money. In addition to financial assistance, the CDFI Fund also provides technical assistance to CDFIs.
CDFI Fund appropriations have varied over time. From an initial funding level of $50 million in Fiscal Year 1995, appropriations climbed to $118 million by FY 2001, then fell to $54.5 million in FY 2006 and FY 2007. Since then, funding has rebounded to $247 million in FY 2010.
- The Association for Enterprise Opportunity is a trade association of microenterprise loan funds and supporters. The AEO website is available here:
- The CDFI Coalition advocates on behalf of the CDFI industry, collects industry data, and educates the public about community development finance:
- Official government information on the CDFI Fund is available here:
- The Community Development Bankers Association supports community development banks and thrifts with a mission of serving low- and moderate-income communities. The CDBA website is available here:
- The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance provides technical assistance, information, and resources on community development venture capital funds. The CDVCA website is available here:
- Community-wealth.org provides practitioners with links to information on CDFIs, here:
- The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions provides outreach, training, and advocacy support for community development credit unions. The Federation's website is available here:
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition provides information and resources on the CDFI Fund and its component programs.
(link no longer active)
- The Opportunity Finance Network is a network of community development loan funds. The OFN website is available here: