Capitalizing Change

City First Enterprises
2022 Impact Report

Leaderboard image

Accelerating Our Impact

2022 was a turning point for City First Enterprises, capping a tumultuous three-year period during which we rose to meet the challenges presented by the economic crisis and ongoing racial reckoning. As a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), our direct investments and creative partnerships helped sustain our communities and shape a better future for our region.

Now, as we emerge from the grip of the pandemic stronger and bolder than ever before, I’m proud to share that our stellar team has tripled our portfolio over the last three years, with 47% growth in 2022 alone. We’re building a lending operation that transcends the numbers on our balance sheet as we demonstrate new ways to deliver capital across multiple categories for maximum impact.

For example, last fall we launched Homes by CFE, a second mortgage program aimed at addressing the pervasive, persistent and pernicious racial gap in homeownership by providing down payment assistance for low- and middle-income first-time homebuyers of color.

And then there’s America’s clean energy revolution and our intention to be one of its leaders through our new and growing green lending collaborations. We also doubled down – literally – on our partnership with the D.C. government, delivering nearly $50 million in relief funding to local small businesses and residents – more than the past two years combined.

COVID-19 exposed the fault lines of a financial system ill-equipped to provide equal access to capital that unlocks human potential. It has also given all of us an opening to reset for a future that looks very different.

CFE’s team and board are now embarking on a deep exercise in strategic visioning for the coming years. With insight from our partners, we will reimagine our aspirations as we continue to be a beacon of innovation for the sector while remaining nimble and ready to adapt as quickly as ever.

On behalf of CFE’s brilliant and hardworking team – and the diverse communities we’re part of – I want to thank all of our partners and investors for joining us on this journey toward a more equitable society. Together, we will continue to capitalize change.

Headshot of Oswaldo Acosta

Oswaldo Acosta

President and CEO

Our Mission To Promote Equity

City First Enterprises helps achieve racial, economic and social equity by providing underinvested communities with access to capital and financial expertise. We invest in affordable housing, education, nonprofits, small businesses and climate-focused initiatives.

Shaping an Inclusive Local Economy

We saw our return on investments grow both financially and socially, as we increased our capital deployment by 67%. This meaningful growth would not have been possible without our diverse network of partners – a cohort we expanded by establishing relationships with national commercial banks, local green lending authorities and fellow CDFIs.

We also strengthened our grantmaking partnerships with local government leaders, leveraging our on-the-ground knowledge to regrant almost $50 million to minority-owned and local businesses as well as small scale housing providers.

Together with our partners, we worked to finance projects that will create lasting community impact – and help shape a more inclusive local economy.
46% growth in total assets
47% growth in outstanding loan portfolio – our largest annual growth in the past five years
in grants, surpassing the previous two years combined
in financing supported for 15 clean energy projects, resulting in an estimated greenhouse gas (GhG) reduction of 3,224 metric tons
affordable housing units created or preserved
active co-lending partnerships, which were key to our high capital deployment across sectors

“Support from CFE provided an inclusive onramp to targeted investments that have laid the foundation for our success. As founder of a minority-led startup, I would recommend this experience to any nonprofit seeking a trusted partner to invest in their future.”

Jaleesa Hall
Founder & CEO,
Raising A Village Foundation

Charting Our Growth

Over the past four years, our outstanding portfolio has nearly quadrupled – indicating rapid growth in our regional impact.

Driving Multi-Sector Impact

Our innovative, multi-sector lending model delivered real impact in 2022: We originated a total of $24.5 million in new loans across five primary product lines. 

Most importantly, our underwriting process and innovative financing structures ensured these loans were mission-aligned, high-impact and high-quality. Despite the fact that we pursue deals considered too risky by other lenders, our current delinquency rate stands at 0%, proving that investing in nontraditional borrowers is both sound and effective.

These accomplishments are a reflection of the strength of our team, as well as the integrity and purpose-driven leadership of the entrepreneurs, developers and communities in whom we invest.
Schools, childcare centers & other community facilities
Small business & commercial real estate
Clean energy

This is CFE: CSW’s Consortium

Credit card mockups
With a $920,000 commercial real estate loan from CFE and subordinate financing from DC BizCAP, a program of D.C.’s Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking, Constituent Services Worldwide (CSW) was able to acquire its new, 6,500 square-foot space and make the repairs necessary to deepen and grow its impact.

The newly remodeled building, dubbed “The Consortium,” now houses two recording studios for media arts students, a state-of-the-art co-working space and a drug testing lab. The building’s newly launched art gallery helps diversify CSW’s income by providing an event venue space that can be rented out.

“This loan from CFE has allowed us to fuel the entire community,” Robert Jordan, President and CEO of CSW, says.

Eventually, Jordan hopes to replicate The Consortium’s model up and down the East Coast, creating a network of satellite communities to continue expanding their workforce training and education programs for at-risk populations.

“No one should be excluded from opportunity because of their economic situation,” Jordan says. “We want to help create pathways to opportunity for everyone.”

Learn more about The Consortium and CSW at

Building Social Equity Through Financial Justice

From our frontline staff to our C-suite and board of directors, the CFE team brings our lived experience to meet the unique and pervasive challenges facing historically underinvested communities.  

In 2022, we demonstrated our expertise by helping innovate solutions to urgent community challenges, providing equity-building financial support to those who need it most.
in loans to Latino and African American-led businesses and projects
in loans to women-led businesses and projects
of our D.C. lending supported businesses and projects in Wards 7 and 8, areas with the highest levels of disinvestment
in grants awarded to minority-owned businesses

“Our partnership with CFE has been essential to the growth and scaling of our programs. CFE’s expertise and flexible capital has allowed us to expand the reach of our clean energy financing to better support D.C.’s sustainability goals – and help our communities stay resilient in the face of climate change.”

Jean Nelson-Houpert
CFO and Interim CEO, DC Green Bank

Investing in sustainable communities

Black and Latino people are significantly more likely to experience the burdens and harms of global warming, energy inefficiency and pollution – challenges that drastically impact a community’s collective health and wealth. Through our new line of business providing clean energy loans, we help close the clean energy affordability gap for our region’s communities of color.

Together with our partners DC Green Bank and Montgomery County Green Bank, we’re financing eco-focused projects – including solar installations and energy efficiency retrofits for small businesses and affordable housing developments– that help advance innovative solutions to our communities’ environmental challenges.

Since starting our clean energy work in 2019, we've seen dramatic growth in demand for a wide range of projects. In 2022, we financed or serviced a total of 15 clean energy loans to lower costs and pollution for nearly 5,000 local residents, efforts that will also reduce carbon emissions by more than 3,200 tons annually.

This is CFE: Bobby Jones, housing developer, Ancoris Investments

For housing developer Bobby Jones, affordable housing is sustainable housing. The D.C. native believes everyone deserves to live in a healthy home – a standard that’s not always attainable for low-income families.

“Oftentimes there’s this attitude that people in affordable housing deserve to live in substandard conditions,” Jones says, “and that’s just not the case. Everyone should be given a certain standard of healthy living.”

This challenge is particularly pressing in Greater Washington, a region that currently needs more than 30,000 additional homes to accommodate low-income renters.

In 2022, Jones decided to take action to help tackle this ongoing housing crisis. With a $2 million loan from CFE and support from our partner DC Green Bank, Jones acquired a 1930s multifamily masonry building in Kingman Park to remodel as healthy homes for low-income residents.

The CFE loan is helping finance a deep energy retrofit of the four-unit building with the goal of achieving a Passive House certification, a standard for buildings that consume up to 90% less heating and cooling energy than conventional structures. Once renovations are completed, Jones plans to rent units to low-income families earning less than 50% of the Area Median Income through D.C.’s Housing Choice Voucher Program.

“It’s not enough from a social services perspective to say we need affordable housing,” Jones says. “If we don’t do it in a sustainable way, we’re just contributing to the climate crisis.”

The renovations will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by lowering heating and cooling loads, helping improve environmental standards and saving low-income families hundreds of dollars annually in utilities.

Through his sustainability-focused housing development projects, Jones hopes to set a new standard for building practices that reduce carbon in an eco-efficient and cost-effective way. He envisions potentially influencing housing policies to drive structural change for affordable housing standards. 

“We need to be operating at the intersection of affordable housing and energy efficiency,” he says. “Thanks to institutions like CFE, we have the opportunity to do so.”

Closing the homeownership gap for Black and Latino families

For generations, people and communities of color in our region have been systematically denied equal opportunities for homeownership. This cycle of injustice has prevented hardworking families from saving money and building wealth for their futures. As rental and home prices continue to skyrocket, the need to address these disparities and break this unjust cycle has become more urgent than ever.

Last year, CFE partnered with Yale Law School’s Community and Economic Development (CED) Clinic to launch a new, cutting-edge tool with tremendous potential to disrupt this deep-rooted cycle. Designed as a special purpose credit program under the terms of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, our new Homes by CFE down payment assistance program provides eligible Black and Latino families with game-changing funds to help them buy homes they can afford.

“As people pay more attention to historical discrimination in both housing and credit markets, the banking and financial sectors are seeking new ways to address inequality in housing,” Adam Cowing, an instructor in Yale’s CED Clinic, says. “Special purpose credit programs offer an innovative vehicle to do so.”

Qualified families can receive up to 20% of the home’s purchase price for down payments and an additional $10,000 in assistance – both with a 5-year deferred interest period. This flexible funding can also be used to offset debt and cover closing costs.

The program provides a targeted framework for lenders to service traditionally underserved communities, opening the door to homeownership – and a more equitable future – for our region’s families.

Fortifying Our Community's Resilience

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, we’ve partnered with the D.C. government to disburse $100 million in urgently needed grants into local communities, including almost $50 million in 2022 alone. Today, nearly 5,000 housing providers, small businesses, nonprofits and households are stronger because of this collaboration for grassroots grantmaking.

Last year, the CFE team made crucial grants to the community thanks to funding from four D.C. initiatives:

Housing Stabilization Grant Program

to help reduce the impact of rental delinquencies for landlords and tenants of income-restricted affordable housing projects – as well as housing providers not receiving public subsidies

Commercial Property Acquisition Fund

for down payment assistance to businesses whose owners are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or have been historically subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias

Bridge Fund 2.0 and 3.0

to support District businesses that are still experiencing the impacts of the pandemic
A father and his child

“CFE has been a great partner in assisting our agency to design COVID-19 relief grant programs and deploy critical funding. With CFE’s support, we were able to pivot quickly to face new challenges and distribute more than $100 million to support D.C.’s small businesses and help families avoid eviction.”

Sybongile Cook
Director of Business Development and Strategy, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development

Together, we can reimagine a more just and equitable financial system.

As we continue our work into 2023 and beyond, CFE will stay focused on our purpose: “Capitalizing Change” by providing capital for underserved communities. We know that access to capital is key for equitable opportunity, and we’re grateful to have you join us in this journey.

Thanks to partners like you, we’re moving forward on our vision of a more just and inclusive economy. We hope you’ll be part of the work ahead to broaden and expand our impact.

Whether you’re interested in supporting the CFE team, investing in our portfolio or partnering with us, we're here to work with you to advance shared prosperity for all the families and communities who are traditionally left out economically. 

Your commitment makes ours possible. Together, we can reimagine and reshape a new financial system where everyone is included in opportunities to thrive.

Ready to join us?

 Contact to learn more.