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Article Archives: Wisconsin

HFFI Serves Up Community Development Opportunities in the Midwest

IFF, a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant in Chicago, Ill., was among the recipients of funding from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) in September 2011. IFF received a $3 million grant and is using the award to leverage more than $25 million in additional capital. The lender will invest the combined funds in food-related projects in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The initial emphasis will be on full-service, for-profit grocery stores in “food deserts” in the metropolitan areas of Chicago; Milwaukee, Wis.; Dubuque and Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis, Mo.; and East St. Louis, Ill., where IFF has developed a pipeline of potential projects. Over time, IFF will finance and, where appropriate, directly develop a range of both for-profit and nonprofit retail food outlets as well as other types of food-related businesses, including rural business models.

IFF intends to work with one or more national community development financial institution (CDFI) partners to establish a fund for grocery-store lending across the Midwest. To share risk and stretch its capital further, IFF will seek the participation of other CDFIs, community banks, its regional and national bank partners, and foundations. Banks and foundations will be able to invest in the fund, and local or regional investors will be able to target funds geographically.

If you are interested in learning more about the fund, please contact Trinita Logue at (312) 596-5117 or
[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]

Regional CDFI Benefits Wisconsin Co-ops
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]

Venture Capital in the Midwest
Venture Capital Fund Hopewell Ventures, L.P. in July 2003 received its "Go Forth" letter from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a key step toward becoming a Small Business Investment Company. Hopewell, raising up to $150 million of capital, will invest $1 to $5 million in early- to later-stage companies in a dozen Midwestern states -- between Nebraska and Ohio, the Canadian border and Kentucky -- that Hopewell says are underserved by venture capital sources. Banks can invest in Hopewell Ventures as limited partners, can refer companies needing an equity infusion, and can provide banking services to companies in which Hopewell has invested. Hopewell's sister fund, $34 million Adena Ventures, serving Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia, was the first New Markets Venture Capital Company designated by SBA.

Contact: Tom Parkinson at (312) 357-9600;;
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Winter 2003]