The 21 CDFIs headquartered in Virginia serve rural and urban communities in all corners of the Commonwealth, and their impact is mighty. According to the national CDFI Coalition, Virginia’s CDFIs recently originated 889 loan and investments totaling $212.1 million, which includes 311 loans and investments totaling $140.7 million to small businesses, nonprofits, and community facilities, and $65.4 million supporting affordable housing rehabilitation or construction.

Until last year, there was no formal network connecting Virginia’s CDFIs at the state level. While each organization realizes meaningful impact individually, the potential to do much more as a collective group was recognized. In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly made way for the development and funding of the Virginia CDFI Fund by passing a $10 million budget amendment, tapping the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to administer the funds. In addition to enabling Virginia CDFIs to support communities and businesses across the Commonwealth, the opportunity motivated a majority of Virginia-based CDFIs to organize, form a coalition, and establish a collective voice for the community development and investment community. The Virginia CDFI Coalition was born.

As a founding member, VCC worked with our peers to develop the Coalition’s mission statement: “To offer a collective voice to address issues concerning unmet financial needs of Virginia communities by advocating for greater awareness of CDFI activities and operations and by supporting the goals of its member organizations with peer support and education.” The members of the coalition have committed to meeting these goals “individually and collectively in statewide and local venues with an emphasis on social and racial equity.” With their mission in mind, members have set four priorities:

  1. Advocacy and education
  2. Industry best practices and partnerships
  3. Storytelling and market education
  4. Financial products, services, and communities impacted

As of today, the Coalition is nearly 30 members-strong and includes partner organizations that also advocate for the community development finance industry, such as Virginia First Cities, the Virginia Bankers Association, and the Community Development Bankers Association.

Acknowledgement of the critical role Virginia’s CDFIs play is evidenced the inclusion of the organizations in several pieces of legislation introduced during 2021’s and 2022’s Virginia General Assembly sessions. Examples include the creation of the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund, the development of the Virginia Green Infrastructure Bank, and a bill requiring the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity to consult with CDFIs (and other community groups) as it carries out its mission. The growing recognition of CDFIs’ ability to efficiently drive capital into high-impact, community-informed projects to help move them the finish line will surely result in increased collaboration and resources from local, state, and even federal governments. We at VCC are excited to join forces with the Coalition as we pursue our shared mission and advocate for the communities we serve.

Learn more about the Virginia CDFI Coalition and its members here.