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Announcing our CDC Capacity Building Fund!

After more than a year of thoughtful preparation, Community LIFT is pleased to announce the launch of its CDC Capacity Building Fund. Informed by our 2015 State of the Memphis CDC Industry report, we know that the local CDC sector is severely underfunded and operating with limited capacity but with increased investment has the potential for significant growth. To help address Memphis’ broken cycle of community reinvestment activities, we developed the CDC Capacity Building Fund, the city’s only dedicated source of funding solely for CDCs, to support the organizations leading revitalization efforts in distressed neighborhoods.

With thorough research and with support from a 13-person advisory committee comprised of LIFT’s community partners and local foundations, philanthropy, financial institutions, and of course, CDCs, we have designed the fund to support the work of Memphis’ CDC industry through efficient and transparent grant making, technical assistance and connection to resources – the fund’s mission.  

We then presented the fund and its policies and procedures to CDCs through a series of focus groups hosted by the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis (CD Council) to gain additional CDC input and ensure that it is designed to meet the broad needs of the CDC industry.

The Building CDC Capacity Fund is exclusively for CDCs; other community based organizations are ineligible to apply. To be clear, we define CDCs as nonprofit, community-based organizations focused on the community engagement, physical and economic revitalization of the areas in which they are located, typically low-income, underserved neighborhoods that have experienced significant disinvestment. While their ultimate goal may be comprehensive community redevelopment, CDCs generally focus on one or more program areas, such as housing development, economic development (job training, commercial development, small business assistance, etc.), neighborhood planning, infrastructure, and the development of community facilities. In addition, CDCs often serve as the neighborhood quarterbacking agency for resident empowerment, community collaboration and engagement.

For the purpose of this fund, the term capacity building refers to the development of core skills, management practices, strategies, and systems to enhance an organization’s effectiveness, sustainability, and ability to fulfill its mission.

The creation of this fund confirms that we are resolute in our simple premise: When invested in, nurtured and operating with sufficient capacity, CDCs can deliver and support measurable community transformation to impoverished neighborhoods that have languished for decades. Increased investment toward building CDC capacity will enable them to take on projects that will support housing, commercial and recreational redevelopment in their respective communities.
We will be hosting two informational sessions, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, January 18 and Friday, January 27. Please add one or both dates to your calendar now and watch for a confirmed date and location via e-mail.

Important Fund Dates:
Monday, January 9: Fund Announcement to CDCs
Wednesday, January 18: CDC Capacity Fund Information Session #1
Friday, January 27: CDC Capacity Fund Information Session #2
Friday, February 17: Grant Application Closes
Wednesday, March 22: Community LIFT Releases Funds to CDCs

If you anticipate applying, please ensure that you have participated in CD Council’s Capacity Assessment Tool (CAT) within the last three years. If not, please contact CD Council to schedule an assessment.

For more information regarding fund eligibility, policies and procedures, grant application, frequently asked questions, and the 2015 State of the CDC Industry Report, please see the attachments below. Should you have any questions please contact Nefertiti Orrin, Grants Director. 
Finally, this round of CDC Capacity Building funding would not be possible without the generous investments from the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development, Assisi Foundation, Hyde Family Foundations, and the Kresge Foundation.
We look forward to working with you in 2017!
Eric Robertson
Community LIFT President