Since 1973, CDFIs have existed to align capital with financial, social, and political justice, bringing opportunity to low-income, low-wealth communities left behind by mainstream finance. Deemed too risky by traditional lenders, the people and businesses in these communities want nothing more than a chance to succeed.

CDFIs are that chance.

We see possibilities where others see risk. We know from experience that the perception of risk is much greater than the reality; that when given a fair chance people deliver success.

In our more than 30 years, OFN’s network of CDFIs has originated more than $34 billion in financing, with a net charge-off rate of less than 1%, creating 720,000 jobs and supporting 120,000 businesses and microenterprises, 1.5 million housing units, and 9,500 community facilities. In rural, urban, Native, and suburban areas nationwide, people from diverse backgrounds feel our impact.

So how did we get here? How did CDFIs become these engines of opportunity? When did a quiet movement for social justice turn into a billion dollar industry that transforms communities and lives?

OFN crowdsourced history to capture the key moments, pivotal questions, and pioneering individuals who helped make the CDFI industry what it is today. See and hear where we started, and marvel at how far we’ve come.