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News February 3, 2020

Reinvestment News Winter 2020: Advancing economic, social and health equity

Topic General

Dear friends,
We are grateful for another impactful year—your support and investment in Reinvestment Fund helped us originate $158.5 million in 2019 to finance homes that families can afford, schools where students can succeed, stores to get nutritious food, and strong businesses.

In the Philadelphia region, our financing includes the Mamie Nichols Townhomes, the first homeownership project to utilize the community land trust model to preserve long-term affordability in a rapidly growing neighborhood. In Atlanta, we are partnering with Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership to help Project Community Connections Inc. and Mercy Housing Southeast, to build Thrive Sweet Auburn, a 117-unit, transit-oriented development that will create affordable and equitable housing opportunities. And in Baltimore, our financing includes redeveloping a vacant, former district school building to house an all-girls middle school, the Lillie May Carroll Jackson Charter School.

Our research efforts included an analysis of the naturally occurring (or unsubsidized) affordable housing market, which we presented at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s 2019 annual research conference. The preservation and production of affordable housing has the potential to stabilize neighborhoods at risk of decline and maintain economic diversity and access to opportunity.

We also launched a multi-year effort to enhance our focus on racial equity, building on our mission and organizational values. As we deepen our understanding of systemic racism, we are challenging ourselves to have greater impact on building equity through our work and in our workplace. We are instituting an equity framework to guide our lending and investing practices as well as how we measure our impact; exploring race and equity implications through our research; and prioritizing diversity and inclusion in our hiring and employment practices.

We have much to learn and do as we embark on this journey to advance economic, social and health equity. As our partners and investors, we invite you to be our guides as we shape our efforts—hold us accountable and share your feedback. Join us as together we build strong and resilient communities, where everyone can thrive and prosper.

Don Hinkle-Brown
President and CEO
Reinvestment Fund

Stability Through Jobs

Reinvestment Fund is expanding our partnership with First Step Staffing (FSS), financing its growth in Atlanta and expansion to Los Angeles. FSS is the nation’s largest nonprofit social enterprise staffing company; it finds temporary employment for men and women with significant barriers to workforce entry and re-entry. Most of FSS’s clients have recently experienced either homelessness or incarceration. Many are veterans who have faced difficulties readjusting to civilian life. In Atlanta, our financing is helping FSS refinance a maturing loan with better terms, allowing it to invest in programming and operations. In Los Angeles, FSS is acquiring existing for- profit staffing companies and converting them into nonprofits with a mission-driven employment strategy. With this acquisition, FSS expects to nearly double its impact in 2020, with the ability to employ nearly 4,000 individuals weekly and pay a projected $25 million in earned wages to California clients next year. Reinvestment Fund was among a collaboration of funders who previously financed FSS’s Philadelphia expansion. Read more.

Investing for Future Graduates

Founded in 1866, Fisk University is a private, nonprofit, historically black university (HBCU) that ranks among the top ten HBCUs, with a rich history, high academic performance and strong graduate impacts. Its campus is immediately northwest of downtown Nashville and is in a historic district listed on the National Register. HBCUs have historically played an important role in providing education to millions of students of color, many of them first-generation college students. However, historic disparities in investment due to federal and state policies, as well as discrimination in lending practices, continue to profoundly impact HBCUs’ access to resources as compared to other institutions of higher learning. As a result, HBCUs face significant financial challenges when it comes to operations and capital infrastructure investment. Reinvestment Fund’s loan to Fisk University aims to significantly improve the university’s financial health and long-term stability. The long-term, affordable financing, frees-up cashflow, reduces the number of long-term liabilities, and positions the university to embark on a larger capital improvement campaign. These steps will give Fisk the solid financial footing it needs to continue providing a thriving environment for its students. Read more.

News & Resources

News: The Community Reinvestment Act is essential to the work of CDFIs and its impact is substantial. Reinvestment Fund CEO joins the CEOs of Capital Impact Partners, LIIF and IFF to comment on the flawed changes to CRA proposed by the OCC and FDIC.

News: Bread & Roses Community Fund, the leading funder of grassroots organizing for racial, social, and economic justice in the Philadelphia region, receives our Community Champion Award.

News: Clay Studio, Reinvestment Fund’s first loan with capital from the Nowak Creative Placemaking Fund, breaks ground on its new home in Philadelphia.

News: GoATL Fund, an impact investment fund launched by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, announced a new $1.5 million investment to Reinvestment Fund.

News: Reinvestment Fund is part of a coalition of lenders providing capital for affordable housing in Georgia. More at

News: FY 2020 Spending Package includes increased investment in the USDA’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which is administered by Reinvestment Fund. Sign-up to be notified when the next funding application opens.

Profile: The New Jersey Child Nutrition Fund helps the Paterson School District pilot a new initiative to provide kids with nutritious meals at no cost outside normal school hours.

Resource: Our Early Childhood Education Fiscal Hub offers resources to help providers reach sustainability and ensure quality.

Article: Baltimore Business Journal looks at how the Reinvestment Fund creates opportunity in Baltimore.

News: Reinvestment Fund President & CEO Don Hinkle-Brown appointed as Chair of Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council. Hinkle-Brown was also recently named as a 2019 Power 100 by Philadelphia Business Journal.

News: “Philadelphia a city of extremes: High incomes, high poverty, report shows” — Philadelphia Inquirer looks at the enormous inequality between neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Resource: An essay by john a. powell on inclusive storytelling “Bridging or Breaking? The Stories We Tell Will Create the Future We Inhabit.

News: We mourn the loss of Rudolph V. Tolbert, community activist and a Reinvestment Fund loan committee member and Board member in our early years.

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