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Article Archives: Michigan

Michigan Statewide CDFI Expanding Its Reach

The Opportunity Resource Fund (ORF) is a 26-year-old nonprofit community development financial institution that provides loans and technical support to nonprofit organizations and small businesses throughout Michigan. Loans to nonprofits are for affordable housing, community facilities, and working capital. Loans to small businesses range from $10,000 to $200,000 and may be used for fixed assets or working capital. Formerly known as the Michigan McGehee Interfaith Loan Fund, ORF has provided more than $30 million in financing that has helped to develop more than 2,400 units of affordable housing, create or retain more than 500 jobs, and provide child-care facilities for 125 children. Investors in ORF include banks, several Roman Catholic religious orders, and many individuals. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority recently contributed $3 million to ORF as permanent capital.

ORF is implementing a three-year strategic plan to double its total assets to $20 million by the end of 2013. ORF is raising funds from investors to finance a large pipeline of affordable housing and small business projects. In addition, ORF is creating a new initiative to make 30-year, fixed-rate loans to people with damaged credit histories for the purchase of homes in Michigan neighborhoods targeted for Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. Banks can invest in ORF, refer prospective borrowers who do not meet conventional credit criteria, structure ORF into financing packages in which the bank would like to participate, and provide grants and in-kind donations.

For more information, see ORF’s Web site or contact President/CEO Christine Coady Narayanan at (517) 372-6001 in Lansing or (313) 964-7300 in Detroit.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, August 2012]

Expanding Day Care and Early-Childhood Education

First Children’s Finance (FCF) is a nonprofit community development financial institution working to increase the availability of quality early-childhood education and day care for low-income families in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The nonprofit provides expertise and capital to other service organization and businesses. FCF offers services, including training and support for people interested in starting child-care businesses; strategic planning support for nonprofits; and consulting.

The FCF Loan Fund has made 281 loans totaling $8.1 million to small child-care businesses and nonprofit organizations. To date, nearly 50 banks, foundations, and businesses have invested in the FCF Loan Fund. Bankers can help FCF by investing capital in its loan fund; volunteering to serve as board and loan committee members; serving as advisors to the FCF Growth Fund; and making financial contributions to FCF.

For more information, contact Jerry Cutts, FCF President and CEO, at (612) 338-3023, or e-mail, or visit
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

Business Planning and Financing for "Indianpreneurs"
The American Indian Economic Development Fund (AIEDF) provides the American Indian community with gap financing, technical assistance, and business education to stimulate and develop entrepreneurial activities on and off reservations. Since 1992, this St. Paul, Minnesota-based nonprofit organization has provided business development services and, in some cases, financing to enrolled members of federally recognized tribes in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The nonprofit organization offers a 33-hour, culturally relevant curriculum to help "Indianpreneurs"-the term it uses for American Indian entrepreneurs- develop business plans and improve their management skills and personal financial literacy. The nonprofit organization boasts a 92 percent completion rate for enrolled students and attributes this success rate to a culturally sensitive approach that incorporates Native American traditions and includes Indianpreneurs as members of its faculty. AIEDF is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Native Community Development Financial Institution that provides technical assistance and financing to existing Native American businesses. Since 1992, AIEDF has provided $6 million in gap financing, through loans from $15,000 to $70,000 to Indianpreneurs and leveraged $18 million in additional financing from banks, revolving loan funds, and other sources. How can banks support AIEDF? Banks are encouraged to:

  • Refer Native American business owners needing technical assistance to AIEDF.
  • Accept AIEDF loan referrals of Indianpreneurs who have completed business plans.
  • Serve as faculty for its Indianpreneur training program and to its loan committee.
  • Assist in structuring the AIEDF loan fund into commercial loans to Native American businesses.
  • Invest in the AIEDF loan fund and support the nonprofit organization with grants and other funding.
For more information, contact David Glass at (651) 917-0819 or
[Community Developments Newsletter, Fall 2009]

Small Loans, Big Returns
Ways to Work (WtW) is a nonprofit, community development financial institution that helps lower-income people. WtW is designed to help borrowers attain financial independence and advance economically by having money to purchase dependable used cars to get to work or school. Since 1996, WtW has originated nearly 12,000 loans for more than $31 million and the average auto loan amounts to an average $3,400. Results of a 2006 WtW evaluation indicate that borrowers reported an average increase of 41 percent in their take-home pay. In addition, 67 percent of WtW borrowers report that they have used conventional financial services subsequent to receiving their WtW loans.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, WtW makes its loans from 43 offices in 21 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

WtW offices are located in social service agencies affiliated with the Alliance of Children and Families (ACF). ACF agencies screen and provide financial education to borrowers and service the loans. WtW local offices provide financial education to more than three persons for every individual who receives a loan. Investors in WtW include several national foundations, the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury Department, local United Way offices, and financial institutions. Banks can be involved by investing in the national WtW loan fund, by referring to local WtW offices prospective borrowers who do not meet conventional credit criteria, by participating in local WtW loan committees, and by providing grants and in-kind donations to WtW.

For more information, contact President Jeff Faulkner at (414) 359-1448 ext. 2, e-mail him, or visit his Web site.
[Community Developments Investments, Fall 2008]

Investing in the Michigan Upper Peninsula
Northern Initiatives (NI), a community development financial institution, in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, believes that healthy community development is a byproduct of stable and growing businesses. Since 1994 it has provided its customers with information and financial services that support entrepreneurs and enhances business competition. NI provides business consulting services, entrepreneurial education, and business loans. Its business loans are targeted to small entrepreneurs that would not qualify for traditional bank loans. To this end, NI is in the process of further capitalizing its business loan initiatives by offering retail securities beginning in October 2006. Investors can select their rates and terms of this structured investment. Previous investments have had rates up to 3 percent and for three, seven or ten years. The Calvert Fund, a socially responsible investment firm, will administer and track the securities. For further information, please contact Dennis West, CEO, (906) 226-1671 or
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring-2007]

Mexicantown Community Development Corporation (MCDC)
MCDC of Detroit is on the verge of completing a unique cultural destination. MCDC is working to establish dozens of new restaurants and small businesses to attract tourists and create approximately 195 new jobs. The "Mexicantown International Welcome Center and Mercado" is located in the heart of this Detroit community's commercial strip and will serve as a gateway from Canada into Detroit. The center will provide information and facilities for travelers crossing the border from Canada and will serve as a venue for artistic performances and art exhibits. It will be a catalyst for small business development. One million people are expected to visit the $14 million center annually. MCDC is seeking $825,000 in contributions to meet the capital campaign goal to complete the Center. Capital contributions may be considered for CRA Investment Test credit for banks servicing the Detroit market.

Contact: Maria Elena Rodriguez, (313) 967-9898,
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Winter 2004/2005]

Entrepreneurs Access Vital Funding in Lansing
Did you know that micro-enterprises account for 15.8 percent of all employment in Michigan-an estimated total of 864,000 people? The Lansing Community Micro-Enterprise Fund (LCMF) offers a revolving loan fund to entrepreneurs that are unable to qualify for traditional bank loans. Loans range from $500 to $10,000, and 98 percent of the recipients have been minority-owned businesses. LCMF provides technical assistance, one-on-one, and also offers an entrepreneurship course. To qualify for a loan through the revolving loan fund, applicants must have completed a formal business plan, meet income eligibility guidelines, have a business that will benefit a low- or moderate-income neighborhood, and have no unsettled judgments or collections. LCMF also works closely with the local Small Business Administration (SBA) office to make SBA 504 loans and CommunityExpress loans. LCMF is seeking additional financial institutions to invest in its revolving loan fund, through below market rate, low interest rate loans, as well as lenders to refer entrepreneurs for SBA 504 loans.

Contact: Denise Peek, (517) 485-4446,
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Fall 2004]

Cooperative Financing in the Upper Midwest
Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund (NCDF) is a for-profit, cooperatively owned loan fund that provides financing, training and expertise to small producer, consumer, affordable-housing, worker and land cooperatives in eleven states in the upper Midwest. NCDF today has more than $8 million in assets, has made hundreds of loans to cooperatives since its founding in 1978 and has contained losses since 1978 to 0.27 percent of dollars loaned. Investors in NCDF include banks, cooperatives, religious orders, foundations and others. Certified by the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund as a CDFI and as a community development entity, NCDF also has funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help develop and finance rural housing cooperatives, and NCDF last year established a community development credit union that helps members of cooperatives finance their membership shares. Banks are involved with NCDF as co-lenders, as investors and on the board of directors.

For more information, contact Margaret Lund at (612) 331-9103 or at NCDF's web site is
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Summer 2004]

Lending Improves Quality of Life
Great Lakes Rural Capital Assistance Program (GLRCAP) is a non-profit firm helping small communities in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin install and improve drinking water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure and management systems serving lower-income populations. Banks can provide construction financing and long-term loans for these projects. GLRCAP, which works through local community action agencies, recently won a $700,000 grant to assist local communities with planning for affordable housing and economic development. Banks can provide loans for projects that GLRCAP helps plan.

For more information, contact Debra Martin at (800) 775-9767 or
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring 2003]