In latest round of climate financing, Opportunity Finance Network invests in CDFIs working to build climate resiliency, curb emissions, and boost local climate economies, bringing total Finance Justice Fund deployment to more than $200 million.
Washington, D.C. (December 13, 2023) – Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the leading national financial intermediary and membership network of community development finance institutions (CDFIs) and mission-driven community lenders, has committed $8.5 million in loans and grants from its Finance Justice Fund to six member CDFIs to support products and services that build climate resiliency, curb emissions, and bring underinvested communities into the climate economy.
Launched in 2020, OFN’s Finance Justice Fund has deployed more than $210 million through loans and grants to 101 CDFIs serving rural, urban, and Native communities. The Finance Justice Fund was launched with the goal of advancing OFN’s mission to align capital with racial, economic, and climate justice by leveraging corporate and philanthropic partners for catalytic investments into CDFIs across the country.
“OFN is deeply committed to strengthening the capacity of its broad network of community lenders to lead the deployment of climate-focused financing and capital in underinvested communities across the country,” said OFN President and CEO Harold Pettigrew, who recently shared OFN’s climate justice message at COP28. “Our growing membership of 410 CDFIs and mission-driven community lenders are at the forefront of leading community investment and the fight for racial, economic, and climate justice. The Finance Justice Fund was launched for this purpose, and our initial round of climate-focused capital will advance the community investment efforts of these six extraordinary pioneers in climate lending.”
The CDFIs in this round of funding have footprints across several states and Tribal communities: Coastal Enterprises Inc. based in Maine, Craft3 based in Washington state, California-based Pacific Community Ventures, West Virginia-based Partner Community Capital, Self-Help Ventures Fund, headquartered in North Carolina, and Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) of Florida.
OFN’s Finance Justice Fund climate investments will support various products and services, from low-interest rate loans for electric vehicles, solar panel installation, and energy efficiency retrofits that empower communities of color and low-income communities to participate in the climate economy.
OFN will work with the recipients and other member mission-driven community lenders nationwide to answer its call to action that 100% of CDFIs become climate lenders by 2028 by offering climate-focused consumer, small business, housing, and community facility capital products.
OFN is helping CDFIs reach this goal by providing support, capital, and leadership to transform the community development finance industry into a leader in climate finance.
In addition to climate lending to its national network of CDFIs and mission-driven community lenders, OFN offers tools and training to help its members build and strengthen their climate lending portfolios. In 2023, OFN trained people across 130 community lenders and other organizations.
The organization also recently submitted a historic bid to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to scale these activities and accelerate the clean energy transition in underinvested communities.
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is the leading national network of community development financial institutions. Its membership of more than 400 mission lenders specializes in providing affordable, responsible financial products and services in low-income rural, urban, and Native communities nationwide. As a trusted intermediary between CDFIs and the public and private sectors, OFN partners with banks, philanthropies, corporations, government agencies, and others to create economic opportunity for all by strengthening and investing in CDFIs.
Since its founding in 1986 and through 2021, the network has originated $100.4 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities, helping to create or maintain more than 2.6 million jobs, start or expand more than 696,000 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of more than 2.3 million housing units and more than 13,600 community facility projects.