No longer an existential threat, climate change is here. Everyone, everywhere experiences its effects, but the risks and damages disproportionately impact lower-wealth, lower-income communities. Solutions, like energy efficiency retrofits, are expensive, requiring access to capital that’s out of reach for many people underserved by mainstream finance.
Across rural, urban, and Native communities, CDFI green finance supports clean energy production, energy-efficient affordable housing, sustainable small businesses, and more. We’re revisiting five inspiring stories from across our network about CDFI investments paying off for people and the planet.
- A once abandoned meatpacking plant is now a net-zero vertical farm and incubator space, boosted by Chicago Community Loan Fund
Chicago Community Loan Fund helped The Plant, a collaborative community of small food businesses committed to material reuse and closed-loop systems, turn an old Chicago meatpacking plant into a social — and sustainable — enterprise center. The transformational hub is home to more than 20 small businesses, including indoor and outdoor farms, a bakery, a coffee roaster and other emerging food producers and distributors. Together, these businesses create nearly 100 full-time jobs. The loan fund recently received a grant from OFN’s Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant Program.
- Enterprise Community Loan Fund nurtures Denver Housing Authority solar garden
With investments from Enterprise Community Loan Fund, the Denver Housing Authority established a 10-acre community solar garden that provides enough electricity to reduce energy costs by roughly 20% for more than 500 homes.
- Rural Electric Economic Development Fund (REED) paves the way for renewable energy in South Dakota
Ringneck Energy is a South Dakota-based renewable energy company that produces fuel-grade ethanol and high-protein feed for local livestock. With financing from Rural Electric Economic Development Fund (REED), the company built a new highway that allows for significantly increased production and year-round receiving and shipping. Area corn producers can now sell locally to Ringneck, rather than shipping their product far away, bringing another community bonus: a lift in the area’s economy.
- Northwest Native Development Fund tackles affordable housing and energy crisis on the Colville Reservation
In Coulee Dam, Washington, Northwest Native Development Fund is addressing the severe lack of affordable housing on and around the Colville reservation by rehabilitating existing homes and constructing new ones. Solar powering the houses offsets the exorbitant cost of electricity on the reservation and the toll of traditional energy on the environment.
- Family completes its journey to energy-efficient homeownership with Affordable Homes of South Texas
CDFIs can be a lifeline to homeownership — even better when that home is ENERGY STAR® Certified and RGV Green Built Certified. Esmeralda Leyva and her family now enjoy their own home, helped along in the buying process by Affordable Homes of South Texas. The CDFI provided down payment assistance, closing cost support, and more. Compared to non-green homes, Esmeralda’s home offers energy savings of up to 30% and a healthy place for the family to live
Enjoy more CDFI green financing stories here.
Does your CDFI have a sustainable finance story? Share it here!