How Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) Expand Impact

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From practice to policy, the landscape of public health can be difficult to navigate alone. This is especially the case for many health centers in underserved communities, where access to sufficient funds and financial advice can be particularly scarce. Facing such a complex set of challenges requires a sophisticated solution. This is where CDFIs come in. 

What is a CDFI?

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are private organizations that meet the needs of economically disadvantaged people and communities by addressing challenges at their source. The basic function of a CDFI is to provide responsible, affordable lending to the people who need it, but a CDFI’s influence often reaches beyond monetary concerns. 

Such is the case with PCDC. We don’t merely address the financial barriers that prevent people from accessing medical care. As we provide financing to transform and expand primary care in underserved communities, we simultaneously provide advisory services to help organizations manage their loan sustainably. We know that the challenges people face when seeking primary care can’t be summed up by a dollar amount. It’s for that reason we account for the societal factors that can determine health as well and seek long-term solutions to those obstacles.

What Difference Do CDFIs Make?

Of course, CDFIs aren’t the only loan suppliers out there. But time and time again, CDFIs prove to be uniquely equipped to help struggling communities flourish. At PCDC, we help our clients build credit and manage their finances sustainably. We provide technical assistance, monitor portfolios, and manage risk. A loan from a CDFI isn’t a one-and-done transaction. It’s a partnership based on a shared mission to meet the socioeconomic needs of our communities. This continued support is especially crucial when it comes to the ever-changing landscape of public health. With each new federal grant and tax credit, PCDC seeks opportunities to further invest in and expand the installment and development of community health centers. 

How can CDFIs expand their impact upon public health?

Health depends on a wide range of factors, so even CDFIs not directly focused on healthcare can benefit public health. Improving access to affordable housing, fresh food, and public transportation can improve the health of an entire community. However, CDFIs that are specifically healthcare-focused are equipped with specialization and experience. This allows us to recognize and address the barriers preventing members of an underserved community from accessing quality medical care. By connecting with local clinics, CDFIs can plug into a network of community groups, local governments, and local social service providers, as well as foundations, banks, and socially motivated investors who provide funding. CDFIs provide more than a number on a check. They provide resources that nurture sustainability for years to come.