The Community Development & Policy Studies team at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is actively exploring the potential for the CDFI Friendly Communities model across its footprint.
In a new blog post, the Bank’s Garvester Kelley and Josie Link summarize the need for new strategies to help CDFIs extend coverage to smaller markets despite CDFI success at reaching larger markets. “Nevertheless, there is a need for CDFI presence and activity in smaller markets, where the needs of LMI communities are often no different than those in larger markets,” they explain.
The post reports on the June 14th convening the Chicago Fed hosted in Merrillville, IN, outside Gary. In summary, they explain, “Community Development Finance in Smaller Markets explored the role, varying types, and benefits of CDFIs working in communities where conventional financing mechanisms may not meet the complex development and financing needs of a community or region.”
The meeting featured a presentation on the CDFI Friendly Bloomington work in Bloomington, IN. Mayor John Hamilton of Bloomington, IN; Tina Peterson of the Community Foundation of Bloomington & Monroe County; and Nicholas Johnson of IFF (Indianapolis office) discussed the opportunities and challenges.
The Community Development & Policy Studies team has been working in Northwest Indiana to help assess the value of a CDFI, a CDFI Friendly Community strategy, or another approach to meet local demand.
The Merrillville meeting attracted 69 people representing 53 organizations including banks, CDFIs, academia, government, and community development organizations.
The Chicago Fed is planning a similar convening on October 23rd in South Bend, IN.