CFE reduces barriers and increases access to financial capital for affordable housing developers, small minority-owned businesses, diverse nonprofits, and health, education and arts organizations, all of which are vital to thriving communities, economic equity and inclusion, and social mobility. We work with borrowers who are routinely denied access to capital owing to the nature of higher-risk, mission-focused investments.
Decades of real property “red lining” of African American communities – coupled with attendant disinvestment and discrimination – led CFE founders to create an organization that provides access to credit and financial services to racially marginalized people and neighborhoods. This was 20+ years ago. Today, economic disparity in DC remains largely defined by a stark racial factor. To help combat this economic and racial inequity, CFE connects people in marginalized and low-income communities with meaningful sources of capital and financing. Our platform includes our nonprofit loan fund as well as our affiliates, City First Bank, City First New Markets, and City First Homes. Through financial services and mission-focused lending programs that strengthen community-based organizations and create jobs – with the goal to increase racial equity and economic mobility – we deploy our assets and expertise in education, arts, healthcare, affordable housing, and small business development.
No other financial institution in DC shares our origin story or legacy of frontline local community development. With decades of experience in the District as a mission-driven, community-focused lender, and leveraging the mission muscle of our portfolio of programs and services, CFE is uniquely positioned to help address DC’s egregious inequities – economic, social, racial – across populations of color long denied the promise of progress and prosperity. We differentiate ourselves by seeking out and working with local change-makers, problem-solvers and innovators whose bottom lines extend beyond Profit & Loss financial statements. We invest in and provide technical assistance to nonprofit organizations in healthcare, education and the arts, to affordable housing developers, and to small business entrepreneurs of color.