CDFI leaders at the Congressional reception during OFN conference

Career Meets Purpose

Strengthening the CDFI Workforce

A major obstacle to growth and impact across CDFIs and other mission-driven community lenders is a talent shortage. The industry needs more skilled, passionate people to ensure sustainability.


About the Initiative

Saif Hakim sharing his thoughts on a career in the CDFI industry for the OFN Conference Career Meets Purpose campaign.

In 2022, OFN launched a multi-year professional development initiative to bolster the mission lending field by building the skills of current and future practitioners. It’s designed to strengthen and grow the CDFI workforce, driving the flow of accessible capital to low-wealth, low-income communities.

Through the initiative, which we’re calling Career Meets Purpose, OFN is developing capacity-building tools and programs to help foster growth, encourage innovation, and advance diversity and inclusion, including:

  • CDFI-specific professional development training.
  • Toolkits and other resources for leading practices related to equitable community development finance.
  • A digital career hub to recruit and retain new, diverse talent and leadership and help current professionals advance within the industry.

Launched with a $5 million grant from the Citi Foundation through its Community Finance Innovation Fund, the Career Meets Purpose initiative is rolling out in phases, beginning with training and toolkits and evolving through the launch of the career hub and more.

Training Purpose-Focused Lenders

As CDFIs increase in size and scale, they are investing in their own operations and staff, growing their teams, and welcoming many people who are new to the CDFI industry.

OFN is developing a training catalog to help CDFIs onboard new staff and grow the skills and capacity of current staff. Topics include everything from the industry’s history to equitable lending practices, financial management, climate lending, and much more.

Available Training

  • CDFI 101: Orientation to the Industry
  • Climate Lending 101
  • Financial Management
  • Pitch Perfect: Optimizing Your Capitalization Approach

Find Training

Attendees during a training session at the 2023 OFN conference CDFI industry peers during a training session at the 2023 OFN conference.

Strengthening CDFIs for Scale and Impact

To support the field’s growth, OFN is building a CDFI practitioner resource library that offers tools to help CDFI practitioners perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

Among the library’s offerings are toolkits that provide guidance, templates, and models to help CDFIs go further faster in their work to finance justice.

CDFIs at different developmental stages can leverage the proven practices to drive deeper impact in urban, rural, and Native communities.

Available Toolkits

  • CDFI 101
  • Talent Recruitment, Retention & Management
  • Operationalizing Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (REIA) into Lending Practices
  • Financial Management

Additional toolkits will roll out over the next few years, covering mission-aligned portfolio management, capitalization strategy and governance, technology, marketing, impact measurement and management, and more.

Get the Toolkits

OFN's REIA Toolkit cover

A Career Hub for Mission Lending Professionals

In 2024, OFN will launch a career center for the community development finance profession. This centralized online hub will offer a vast array of professional development and career exploration resources for people working and interested in the CDFI industry.

Geared for practitioners at all stages of their careers — from those entering to those at the leadership level — the center will serve as a hub of information on CDFI job and internship listings, events, training, resources, and more.

It will be a one-stop shop to explore career pathways in the CDFI industry.

Interview of Jessie Lee for the Career Meets Purpose Initiative during the 2023 OFN conference Jessie Lee, managing director of Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.


Career Initiative Launches

Citi invests $5 million in OFN to build CDFI workforce initiative.

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On the Blog

Keep current with the latest from the initiative and field.

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Talking Future Workforce

Leaders in workforce space talk about hiring for the future.

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