Keyword Search
Find SRI News Articles Related To:

Complete List of Articles by Category

What is RSS?

Recent News Headlines from

Climate Scientist Joins Exxon Board (02/03/17)

Investors Challenge Mutual Funds on Proxy Voting (01/20/17)

Many Large Mutual Funds Continue Failure to Address Climate Change (01/07/17)

Sustainability Investment News Order reprints | Print it | Save it  

January 12, 2001

Chicago Community Loan Fund Meeting Human Needs

Loans for affordable housing, social service and other projects benefit low- and middle-income Chicago neighborhoods. -- In 1995, a Chicago community development organization was having difficulty in obtaining financing for a senior rental housing project. The Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) stepped in when no one else would, making a $94,000 predevelopment loan. Four years and 11 layers of financing later, a grand opening was held for 42 affordable rental units for homeless and low-income seniors and families. Heading into its tenth year of operation, CCLF continues to make a real impact.

"CCLF often provides the hardest-to-find capital: predevelopment and gap financing," explains Calvin Holmes, CCLF's Executive Director. "These loans often make the critical difference in getting a project off the ground," he added.

CCLF's mission is to support to non-profit development organizations engaged in affordable housing, social service and economic development projects. This support is given in the form of flexible, low-cost financing as well as through technical assistance. CCLF is one of a few community development financial institutions in the Chicago area that focus on the credit needs of non-profit development organizations

Since its establishment in 1991, CCLF has lent over $6.3 million dollars in 59 different loans. Even more impressive, CCLF loans have leveraged a whopping $69.4 million in additional capital for projects.

To be eligible for a CCLF loan, a prospective borrower must prove that the project to be financed benefits community residents. In addition to affordable housing and social service projects, CCLF loans have been used in job training, supportive housing, legal aid, environmental advocacy and business incubation projects.

Rather than simply making a loan and hoping for the best, CCLF has developed what it calls "high-touch" lending, which integrates technical assistance into the application process and throughout the life of the loan, if needed. This comprehensive support has contributed to realizing zero loan losses to date.

High-touch lending also contributes to CCLF's ability to support emerging community development organizations. In 2000 alone, CCLF helped four small, untried community-based corporations initiate their first neighborhood development real estate projects.

CCLF's reputation for effectiveness is making its way beyond Chicago. Last year CCLF was awarded a $1.15 million investment from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institution Fund. Of the 160 organizations nationwide that applied for the funding, CCLF was one of 75 to receive federal money. CCLF has matched the funds as required with contributions from other sources, garnering a total of $2.3 million in additional capital.

The Executive Director attributes CCLF's success to a number of factors, including its diverse constituency of investors, its highly qualified staff, directors and committee members, and its responsiveness to the market place. Perhaps none of these is as important, however, as its commitment to its mission.

"We are not afraid to take on great risk when a project will facilitate rejuvenation of a distressed community," Holmes firmly declared. "We are very comfortable working in economically marginal communities and proud of our ability to do so."

Of the different categories of social investing, community investing is probably the least glamorous. But its impact is undeniable in neighborhoods where the projects are being implemented. CCLF has facilitated the creation of over 751 housing units as well as the creation or retention of 56 jobs. Social investors looking for new investment options might well consider funds such as CCLF.

© SRI World Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Order reprints | Print it | Save it

Related Articles


Mutual Funds | Community Investing | News | Sustainability Reports | Corporate Research | Shareowner Actions | Financial Services | Conferences
Home | Login | Contact | Support This Site | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement | Reprints

© 1998-2018 SRI World Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Created and maintained by
SRI World Group web development services
Do your own research Work with an advisor SRI News SRI Learning Center Home