Expanding access to credit to people and places across the country where traditional finance does not reach

Locations Served
United States


Partner Since

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The wealth divide in the U.S. is widening: the average White family has 10 times the wealth of the average Black family and 7.5 times the wealth of the average Latino family. A key contributor to continuing – often multigenerational – poverty is a lack of access to affordable lending. Americans need credit to buy a home or start or grow a business, two primary drivers of wealth. However, low-income individuals and communities are historically boxed out of traditional financial resources.

Programs Offered

Opportunity Finance Network is the national network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) established in 1986 to help maximize the effectiveness of community lenders.

CDFIs provide fair, transparent financing and mentoring to borrowers chronically underserved by mainstream finance. On average, for every $1 of equity, CDFIs can borrow ~$5 to $7 of low-cost debt, enabling them to loan into their communities at affordable rates. Successful CDFIs, with sufficient scale to invest in strong underwriting and mentoring resources and the ability to lend at attractive rates, experience loan losses of <1%. When borrowers repay their loans, funds can be recycled by the CDFI to support other businesses or homebuyers in the community.

OFN currently supports 350 promising CDFIs (of 1,200 nationwide) through direct financing, training, research, industry events, and advocacy.

The network serves Black, Latino, Native, and rural communities, and other areas of persistent poverty. Member CDFI clients are:

  • 84% low-income
  • 60% people of color
  • 50% women
  • 27% rural

Historical Results

Through 2020, financing through the OFN network has catalyzed the following impact:

  • 2.23 million housing units
  • 2.19 jobs created or maintained
  • 534,547 businesses and microenterprises
  • 13,266 community facilities

Path to Credibility

OFN is led by accomplished individuals who themselves previously ran successful CDFIs and held other senior positions in the finance industry and at government lenders.

The MacArthur Foundation – a top tier philanthropic funder and partner with FP on previous projects – has supported CDFIs over the past 30 years and has been a key partner of OFN since its inception.

Focusing Philanthropy has conducted OFN field visits in The Bay Area and New York City.

Focusing Philanthropy and OFN are currently partnering on a multi-year Bold Initiative.

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