Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a small-business lender committed to spreading economic equity across the country. CRF provides capital to communities with economic challenges and raises that capital from financial institutions, socially motivated investors, foundations and individual donors. The loans CRF extends to borrowers help establish new businesses, expand operations and create jobs. CRF also finances nonprofits so they can build community facilities that provide needed neighborhood amenities.
CRF’s work fosters long-term community revitalization through sustained business investment and allows borrowers to grow their operations, build equity, hire employees, and contribute to the improvement of their neighborhoods.
Since its inception, CRF has had impressive results, providing over $3 billion in financing in 49 U.S. states and the District of Columbia which has improved the lives of 1.85 million people. This financing has led to the creation and retention of 134,000 jobs, the development of community facilities serving more than 1.3 million people annually, and financing for thousands of minority and/or women-owned businesses.
Impact story - Urban Roots Inc.
Urban Roots provides landscaping, snow removal, and janitorial services to residential, commercial and industrial properties throughout the Chicagoland region. The company fills a critical need for employment in the community by offering jobs to people who may have difficulty finding other employment. Owner Jimmie Williams and his wife Tiffany started Urban Roots Inc. in 2008 because he had a hard time finding a job due to his criminal past. The business has grown slowly and steadily during the past 10 years, increasing revenue each year but struggling in years with little snowfall.
Through CRF, Urban Roots Inc. was able to get a much-needed business loan to expand its services, bid on larger projects, purchase equipment and create more jobs. CRF was able to provide a $140,000 Patient Capital small-business loan, which has been very helpful. In the two years since receiving the loan, Urban Roots’ revenue has increased by 328% and the company looks forward to achieving greater success as it serves the community.
The Praxis commitment
Praxis Mutual Funds supports organizations such as Community Reinvestment Fund through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.