“Effective CDFIs spend enormous amounts of time doing two things: 1) assembling capital – both scarce debt dollars and even scarcer equity dollars; and 2) deploying those dollars in communities we care about. But as challenging and time-consuming as raising and deploying capital can be … it’s not enough. Our goal is not only to raise and deploy capital – most banks do that. Our goal is to align capital with justice.” — Joe Neri, CEO, IFF (a Midwest CDFI)
As a nonprofit U.S.-Treasury certified community development financial institution, Growth Partners Arizona delivers responsible, affordable lending to nonprofits and small businesses that lack access to capital. With a broader definition of “eligible for financing,” GPAz helps build a financial system that works for everyone by putting capital into the hands of nonprofits and small business owners who are changing lives and communities.
CDFIs are profitable but not profit-maximizing, putting community first, not the shareholder. For more than 30 years, CDFIs across the country have had a proven track record of making an impact in areas of America that need it most—financially isolated areas where mainstream finance doesn’t reach or cannot lend. Helping low-wealth people and businesses find an on-ramp to bankability is a key to success.
Historically, GPAz made loans only to nonprofit organizations as the Nonprofit Loan Fund of Tucson and Southern Arizona. You can read about GPAz nonprofit borrowers at growthpartnersaz.org/nonprofit-borrowers. Since becoming a CDFI in late 2017, GPAz changed its name, is expanding statewide and, in addition to continuing to provide loans to Arizona nonprofits, is providing loans to small business owners who are creating change and improving lives and communities.
As part of our expansion plans, GPAz recently applied for and was one of 73 organizations selected to receive a prestigious technical assistance grant from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund. These grants help build the organizational capacity of CDFIs and entities seeking to become CDFIs. It is one of three CDFI Fund awards that GPAz has received in just two years. Arizona benefits from this infusion of infrastructure support because for every $1 the CDFI Fund awards, CDFIs generate $12 in financing to low-income, low-wealth communities.
GPAz’s success is due in part to a group of forward thinking investors and donors - partners who see the value of human potential and the ways in which GPAz can fuel that potential and catalyze what’s possible. Our current investors and donors include the following individuals and organizations:
Beacon Group; Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation; Business Development Finance Corporation; Community Foundation for Southern Arizona; Diamond Family Foundation; Foothills Bank; Habitat for Humanity; JHH Donor Advised Fund; Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona; The David and Lura Lovell Foundation; Pima County Industrial Development Authority; Timothy Schaffner & Anne Maley-Schaffner; and the Zuckerman Community Outreach Foundation
Bank of the West; BBVA Compass Bank; Business Development Finance Corporation; Evelyn Casuga and Jerrold Stabley; Community Finance Corporation; Community Foundation for Southern Arizona; The Connie Hillman Family Foundation; Diamond Family Philanthropy Fund; Graesser Foundation (Tucson Foundations); Peggy Hutchison and Michael Elsner; Don and Lisa Jenks; Ray and Laura Lancaster; John and Joanne Moothart; National Bank of Arizona; Pacific Premier Bank; Lesli and Oscar Pintor; Pyramid Federal Credit Union; Rednour Law Offices; and Sun Corridor, Inc.
With the financial support of our investors and donors, Growth Partners Arizona’s contribution to our state’s community finance ecosystem is gaining momentum because of the cooperative and collaborative infrastructure GPAz is building together with government, philanthropy, business, nonprofits, and the wider civic community in Arizona.
GPAz will continue to make loans and provide technical assistance to nonprofit organizations for cash flow gap financing, equipment purchases, program expansion, and real estate purchases or improvements. In addition, small business loan guidelines have been developed and will be launched in the next few weeks.
Funding transformational community projects is also on the near horizon for Growth Partners Arizona. GPAz staff and board members have prioritized meeting with key community finance leaders in Arizona and nationally to discuss partnership opportunities that will make a real difference in the lives of Arizonans without access to traditional capital sources.
Since 1996, when the CDFI Fund made its first awards, CDFIs have grown to deploy total assets of approximately $150 billion, according to the CDFI Fund at the end of the third quarter 2018.
The Opportunity Finance Network tracks the impact and performance of its member CDFIs annually. The 2018 member survey revealed:
CDFIs serve underserved populations: 62% people of color, 85% low-income, 26% rural and 55% women.
CDFIs create tangible impact: 11,583 community facilities, 419,177 businesses and microenterprises, 1.56 million jobs created or maintained, and 2.1 million housing units.
CDFI lending is effective and successful in all economic conditions for investors and borrowers, and CDFIs experience higher rates of repayment than traditional banks.
Growth Partners Arizona looks forward to adding to these accomplishments in significant ways. Find more information about GPAz online at growthpartnersaz.org, linkedin and Facebook.
“When capital and justice are aligned, all people will have the resources and opportunities to act in the best interests of their communities, themselves, and future generations.” —Opportunity Finance Network’s vision
Lesli Pintor is the executive director of Growth Partners Arizona.