Environmentally friendly installation of photovoltaic power plant and wind turbine farm

Climate Change & Resilience

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Climate Change Disproportionately Hurts Low-income, Low-wealth Communities

The “climate gap” refers to the unequal impact that climate change has on people of color and low-income communities.

Communities of color and low-income communities have always been more vulnerable to the effects of a warmer climate, whether living in flood-prone neighborhoods or being unable to afford the high energy costs associated with air conditioning. They’re also more vulnerable to the negative health impacts associated with greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants, such as asthma and related respiratory conditions. As a result, climate risks are amplified for communities of color and low-income communities.

CDFIs Are Financing Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change

A group of people install a solar panel in a 10-acre solar garden to fight against the effects of climate change, a priority for OFN and the CDFI industry especially under the CCIA program Clean energy and other sustainability solutions are expensive and often out of reach for low-income communities. However, CDFIs and other specialized, mission lenders understand these communities and help meet their financing needs for climate change solutions.

CDFIs finance energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades for older homes, clean energy projects, and sustainable businesses. CDFIs in rural, urban, and Native communities are increasingly investing in and helping communities transition to new economic engines, such as transitioning from coal to renewable energy.

More than lenders, CDFIs also offer training and coaching to help people learn new jobs skills in clean energy, building a green economy that benefits people and the planet.

Currently, 55% of OFN’s member CDFIs offer green lending products to support clean energy production and energy efficiency projects.

Explore the content below to learn more about how OFN members are financing climate solutions in their communities or browse our CDFI climate impact stories.

Photo: The Denver Housing Authority building a 10-acre community solar garden using financing from OFN member Enterprise Community Loan Fund.


Climate Lending Pioneers

CDFIs build climate resiliency, curb emissions, and boost local climate economies.

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Climate Justice is Economic Justice

CDFIs bring climate-smart financial products to their communities.

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Inspiring Stories of Green Finance

CDFIs investments benefit people and planet.

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