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Conference of community development financial institutions focuses on expanding opportunity

Social Investment Practice

The Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the nation’s leading network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), held its 2015 conference this week in Detroit, drawing more than 1,200 people, the biggest convening ever in OFN’s history.

Other speakers included: Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Director of the CDFI Fund at the U.S. Department of Treasury Annie Donovan, OFN CEO and President Mark Pinsky.This year’s gathering focused on expanding opportunity in the United States. The Kresge Foundation played a key role at this year’s festivities: foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson gave remarks on the important role CDFIs have played in Detroit’s revival and the foundation also was a conference Platinum Sponsor.

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For a fuller sense of how CDFIs and the philanthropic community are contributing to regeneration of Detroit’s neighborhoods and housing situation, The Regis Houze, the first project of the Capital Impact Partners-managed Woodward Corridor Investment Fund (WCIF), held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 10 to formally open a new mixed income and retail space in the New Center area of Detroit.

The $30-million Woodward Corridor Investment Fund offers long-term, competitive fixed rate loans for building and renovation of multi-family and mixed-use properties. In addition to attracting residents and commercial activity, the goal of the fund is to create social impact by establishing a sustainable corridor model and expand economic opportunity for all Detroit residents.

Launched in 2013, investors in the fund include Capital Impact Partners, which also manages the fund, as well as the Calvert FoundationThe Kresge FoundationLiving Cities, the Max M. & Marjory S. Fisher Foundation, MetLife, PNC and Prudential.

To learn more about this new CDFI-funded investment, read the Crain’s Detroit Business story.