Initiative brings new partners to community investment system

The initiative, Accelerating Community Investment (ACI), aims to create a more fertile environment for philanthropies and other mission-aligned investors to deepen investments in community and economic development, housing and other areas that benefit to the society. The initiative will bring together public finance officials, impact investors, financial institutions and communities to increase the availability of capital in the right place, at the right time and for the right purpose. Accelerating community investment includes on-the-ground research, creating mission-driven investment opportunities, and convening a national community of practice.

Supported by the Lincoln Institute and the FB Heron Foundation, ACI seeks to bridge the gap between low-income communities and financial markets, foundations, high-net-worth individuals, and other sources of investment and credit.

The initiative seeks to build a network of mission-driven, community-based partners. It will focus on building relationships between Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), which work closely with people and businesses on the ground, and Development Finance Agencies (DFAs) and funding agencies. (HFA), public and private entities that issue bonds and facilitate other types of investments in economic development and affordable housing. At the heart of the three-year initiative is a national community of practice made up of leaders selected from these organizations, who will build partnerships, receive training and technical assistance, and identify new investment opportunities.

More than 1,100 CDFIs provided $9 billion financing in 2018 for people underserved by traditional banks. Of their customers, 85% are low-income people and 58% are people of color. CDFIs have supported small businesses in times of crisis, including in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks and several natural disasters. During the first months of the COVID-19 crisis, they outperformed large financial institutions in lending money to small businesses.

Development finance agencies include local or state government entities, as well as non-profit and private sector organizations, which finance economic development through municipal bonds, direct loans and other vehicles. In 2018 they released $25 billion in bonds. Housing finance agencies are state-chartered institutions that fund affordable housing through bonds, tax credits, and other methods. Together they have funded more than $37 billion in the development, rehabilitation and purchase of affordable housing in 2018, and had access to $53 billion in untapped funds.

“Deepening the skills of public finance practitioners and connecting with impact investors will help spur investments that improve the quality of life in underserved communities across the country,” said Robert J. “RJ” McGrail. , Principal Investigator at the Lincoln Institute and Director. initiative. “Our housing development and finance partners not only have the ability to tap into large pools of funds, but they and their community partners can also help impact-minded investors place capital and channel it to communities that need it most.”

“Even in communities with effective planning and property tax systems, major land and development decisions are often made on the wrong criteria. Investment decisions can dramatically improve the quality of life of people and access to opportunity, but not if they are slavishly based on short-term financial returns,” said George W. “Mac” McCarthy, president and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. That’s why the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy launched Accelerating Community Investment – to build the skills and connections needed to redirect capital where it can produce greater social, environmental and financial returns.”

“Better integration of the housing development and finance and community development strategies that will flow from the ACI project can help drive more and better projects on the ground and help focus economic equality and racial justice in public finance,” said David Wood, director of the Responsible Investment Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School. “A community of practice like this can build capacity in public finance and connect it to private investors, in support of what is needed to rebuild after COVID-19.”

Accelerating Community Investment will use one of the fundamental tools of municipal finance – private activity bonds, tax-exempt instruments that can be used to finance a number of private sector projects that serve a purpose such as affordable housing, economic development, access to health care and education, home ownership and renewable energy. The initiative will also seek to foster the expansion of other financing tools such as direct loans, and to develop new ones.

The initial community of practice is composed of the following participants.


  • California Housing Finance Agency
  • Bank of California for Infrastructure and Economic Development
  • California Affordable Housing Agency
  • Golden State Financial Authority


  • Georgia Housing Finance Authority
  • InvestAtlanta


  • Kentucky Housing Corporation
  • Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
  • Greater Clark Foundation
  • FAHE
  • HOME


  • Louisiana Economic Development
  • Louisiana Housing Corporation
  • Financial Authority of New Orleans
  • To construct Red Stick


  • Department of Economic and Community Development
  • MaineAccommodation
  • ROCK United States
  • Maine Municipal Bond Bank


  • City of Jackson
  • Jackson Redevelopment Authority
  • Mississippi Development Authority
  • Small Business Investment Fund Mississippi


  • Mountana housing
  • Native American Development Society

New Hampshire

  • NH Housing
  • NH Community Development Funding Authority
  • NH Business Finance Authority

New Mexico

  • New Mexico Mortgage Agency
  • New Mexico Department of Economic Development
  • City of Santa Fe
  • New Mexico Impact Investing Collaboration

New York

  • New York State Home and Community Renewal
  • New York City Economic Development Corporation


  • Ohio Housing Finance Agency
  • Cincinnati Port Development Authority
  • Greater Ohio Policy Center


  • Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation
  • Houston Land Bank


  • washington state Commerce Department
  • washington state Housing Finance Commission


  • Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)
  • Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy seeks to improve the quality of life through effective land use, taxation, and management. A private, not-for-profit operating foundation whose origins date back to 1946, the Lincoln Institute researches and advocates creative approaches to the earth as a solution to economic, social and environmental challenges. Through education, training, publications and events, we integrate theory and practice to inform public policy decisions around the world.

SOURCE Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

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Jill E. Washington