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Back To Schedule
Thursday, February 25 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
Community Investing through CDFIs

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For an institutional investor with social equity objectives, discovering America’s network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) is like spotting the light switch after exploring a dark room with a small flashlight. Once you turn on the light, a world of possibilities opens before you – over 1,000 organizations dispersed throughout the country, ready to absorb and deploy capital to people and places that are often overlooked and underestimated by traditional investors.

CDFIs are private financial institutions that drive affordable capital to low-wealth communities across the United States. Many investors have been compelled to learn more about CDFIs and their long track record and ability to finance justice by investing in the potential of America’s communities.

Join a panel of experts who will be answering questions like: What is community investing and what is the role of CDFIs? Why may institutional investors like university endowments explore community investing? How may investment managers consider CDFIs in an Investment Policy Statement?

A few key takeaways from this conversation:
  • The inequities built into our system and addressing this wealth gap or chasm  require all stakeholders  including endowments  to step into action. 
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are one of the best kept secrets in the impact space and there are a myriad of ways that an endowment may invest in a CDFI across asset classes with varying levels of risks based on the institution’s objectives & constraints.
  • CDFIs make sure that the deals are structured upfront to help borrowers succeed; one of the ways in which they do that is by providing technical assistance to borrowers which reduces the risk of the investment and helps with capital preservation. CDFIs also understand the local context, the players and the political landscape that surrounds the potential investment; with a 360 degree view, CDFIs can structure the investments appropriately to bring in various stakeholders at different levels to make the investment successful. 
  • With place based investing, the large influx of capital sometimes leads to gentrification but the mission of CDFIs is to create inclusive growth and prevent displacement of people in the community. 

avatar for Andrea Longton

Andrea Longton

Senior Vice President, Financial Services, Opportunity Finance Network
avatar for Ben L. Bynum, MD

Ben L. Bynum, MD

Portfolio Director of Program Related Investments, The Colorado Health Foundation
avatar for Catherine Berman

Catherine Berman

CEO & Co-Founder, CNote
avatar for George Ashton

George Ashton

Managing Director, Strategic Investments at LISC

Thursday February 25, 2021 11:00am - 12:30pm EST