Nancy O. Andrews Pushes CDFIs to Look Again at Social Justice and Investing in Local Economies

In her article entitled “A Hole in our Vision: Race, Gender, and Justice in Community Development” Nancy O. Andrews, a revered community development leader, puts forth a fundamental question to CDFIs: “Is the way we’ve conceptualized our mission the best it can possibly be?”

Andrews explains, “After 40 years, I have come to believe that our way of working is too limited: we will not build or invest our way out of racism and injustice. There is much more for us to do – and it starts at the beginning, at the way we think about community development. We must put race, gender, and justice at the heart of everything we do. How we do this will be the next chapter in community development.”

The thought-provoking piece traces the sense of purpose and accomplishments of the field from its origins through to today. Andrews promotes the idea that bold new ways of thinking and working must chart the next era of our work.

“What would it take to add a segregation-busting feature to the Low Income Tax Credit or the New Markets Tax Credit?” Andrews asks.

Andrews was President and Chief Executive Officer of Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), a CDFI committed to alleviating poverty and helping families attain economic self-sufficiency. She retired from LIIF in 2018. In 2018 she was named the recipient of the Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance.

Read the full Shelterforce article posted on April 8, 2019 here.