Florida Community Loan Fund serves the 3rd most populated state in the U.S. by providing flexible financing and staff expertise to help projects succeed and help organizations improve lives and low-income communities. Our Impact has provided $323 million in lending statewide, into projects totaling $942 million in construction expenses and economic development. We are a multi-faceted financing entity with a strong social conscience, a commitment to excellence, statewide partnerships and collaborations, accountability to our stakeholders, and clear focus on performance.
We know there remains much work to be done to realize our vision that opportunity and dignity exist for every person and in every community in Florida. Working together with borrowers and supporters, we continue to build strong communities in Florida.
Let's take a look back at milestones throughout FCLF history, in the outline below.
The Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) was founded in 1994 to provide a statewide source of flexible financing for delivering capital to low-income communities to support community development projects by non-profit organizations throughout the state.
FCLF's first support came from the Campaign for Human Development, which provided a grant to facilitate planning and outreach to civic activists, bankers, religious leaders, housing and community development experts. Led by Sister Mary Heyser of the Sacred Heart of Mary, agreement was reached to form a board of directors and embark on efforts to capitalize "the Loan Fund." This Florida-based board of directors, then and today, is made up of one-third borrowers, one-third investors, and one-third technical experts. Today, FCLF staff and board is a well-established team of highly experienced community leaders and industry professionals, and our core management team has been in place for nearly a decade.
Initial investments in FCLF first came from the pennies of the pension funds of religious orders of nuns and brothers. Today FCLF's investors and supporters include nearly all leading financial institutions, major foundations including the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, interdenominational religious support including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Union for Reform Judaism, as well as state and federal governments.
Pictured, Sister Mary Heyser, FCLF founding board member.
Under the wisdom and leadership of its founders, FCLF became Florida's first certified statewide Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in 1996. Today FCLF remains the only statewide CDFI serving all of Florida from Florida. Our first loan was for $50,000 to provide 7 single family homes for low-income households. In contrast, current loans from FCLF may reach $3 million or more; and to date we have financed over 4,500 housing units and 119 community facilities.
Pictured, Florida Community Loan Fund Board, circa 1999.
FCLF became certified as a Community Development Entity (CDE) by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2004. Since then we have secured the largest cumulative amount of federal funding of any Florida-based CDFI entity through the U.S. Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. The NMTC Program continues to have a high impact on economic development and jobs creation.
Pictured, One of FCLF's early NMTC-financed projects, the University of Miami Life Science + Technology Park, developed by Wexford. This 250,000+ sq-ft facility has created or retained over 600 jobs in a highly distressed census tract in Miami.
FCLF received an Aeris® rating of 2 + AA; our most recent 2016 Aeris rating is 3 Star AA Policy Plus. This rating and certification system evaluates both financial and social impact performance to enhance investor confidence. In 2005, FCLF had been one of the first CDFIs to be Aeris rated, using industry standards and accountability measured by an independent third party. The Aeris rating confirms FCLF's sound financial performance and social impact through mission-based programs and activities.
In 2009 FCLF also received its first major support from the State of Florida to help preserve affordable multifamily housing.This emphasis on preserving affordable rental housing was continued in subsequent years as we expanded the Florida Preservation Fund to provide financing to keep rental housing affordable.
FCLF was able to help our non-profit borrowers survive the economic downturn caused by the troubles in the Florida housing industry. We remained patient and persistent, working alongside community development organizations to maximize the success of their projects. If not for our flexible capital, some of these projects may have come to a halt.
Pictured, Henrietta Townhomes, a multifamily housing community in West Palm Beach.
2014 was a record-setting year for FCLF, as we deployed over $45 million in financing in a single year through our three distinct lending programs. Our board of directors and management developed a Strategic Plan that would guide FCLF through the next 5 years, which included a new vision and mission as well as goals to diversify the type of projects we lend to.
In 2014, FCLF was one of three CDFIs awarded the national Wells Fargo NEXT Opportunity Award. This award recognizes mission-driven community lenders with innovative strategies to preserve and expand affordable housing.
Pictured, 2014 NEXT Award Winners: Rural Community Assistance Corp, Florida Community Loan Fund, and New Jersey Community Capital.
FCLF continues to grow and evolve based on its strong social conscience, a commitment to excellence, statewide partnerships and collaborations, accountability to its stakeholders, and a clear focus on performance.
Florida Community Loan Fund is a multifaceted financing entity with $60 million in total assets, managing distinct loan programs in low-income communities or for the benefit of low-income residents:
- Community Development Fund offering commercial loans for housing and community facilities fo nonprofit and mission-focused for-profit organizations;
- Food Access Financing for projects that provide greater access to fresh, healthy foods in low-income, underserved, food insecure communities;
- New Markets Tax Credit Program financing community facilities that provide jobs and stimulate economic development in distressed census tracts.
We also offer discounted loan rates for Green building and environmentally sustainable projects.
Through these programs, FCLF is providing expertise and capital for community development and revitalization in both urban and rural communities throughout the Sunshine State, and our statewide footprint has given us the flexibility to direct lending to specific geographic areas as well as for specific purposes, as the needs and opportunities arise. Through all of these programs we consistently also work to match the needs of investors to the needs of the various communities in which we lend.
Pictured, FCLF Board of Directors, September 2016.