October 4, 2021

Forward Community Investments (FCI) to utilize CDFI Fund’s Rapid Response Program Funds by investing in their Emerging Developer Loan Program


forward community investments logo | U.S. Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund logo

Madison, WI – In June 2021 the CDFI Fund’s Rapid Response Program (RRP) awarded $1.8M, the largest award given, to FCI that will be used to support our Emerging Developer Loan Program (EDLP). The EDLP is intended to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities by financing projects led by people of color and women who face barriers when developing real estate projects that aim to transform neighborhoods across Wisconsin.

Since the program’s inception, FCI has closed 23 loans totaling $4.8M to 11 different emerging developers, of which 100% identify as BIPOC and 36% are BIPOC women. As a result of this program, 175 affordable housing units have been created or maintained, three community facilities serving a total of 595 community members annually have been created along with 162 family-sustaining jobs.

“Emerging developers are champions of innovative and impactful projects that contribute to our communities in tremendously positive ways. When barriers to capital are removed, they thrive. FCI is committed to amplifying their role in real estate development and the RRP funds are a pivotal investment in the future of this initiative.” States Ryan Zerwer, FCI’s President & CEO.

FCI is seeking projects that are Wisconsin-based and demonstrate the ability to use capital productively with clear repayment capacity. They also need to meet one or more of the following criteria

  • Stimulate and encourage community stabilization/revitalization
  • Increase the supply and improve the condition of affordable housing, and may include market-rate housing
  • Support the growth needs of new and existing community‐based enterprises that promote economic stability or improve the supply or quality of job opportunities
  • Assist social service organizations that provide programs for low‐income or underserved populations
  • Promote wealth creation to build developer capacity

The principal focus for these funds will be for Individuals and or organizations that face barriers to “accessing traditional capital”, Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) program graduates, participants in WHEDA’s Development Training program, or individuals that have educational training or have worked in allied industries that provide or expand knowledge and skills in real estate development.

In addition to the capital needed to finance these projects, FCI will provide technical assistance throughout the entire process from proposal to post loan support with the goal of setting the borrower up for success with their project and beyond. Examples of this technical assistance include a review of project feasibility by analyzing proforma financial statements, review, and support of market analysis, review of collateral, post loan support, and exposure to FCI’s network of banking partners with the intention of a successful transition to traditional lending partners.

To learn more about our EDLP, click here or if you would like to chat with FCI about being a potential borrower, please reach out to lendingservices@forwardci.org

About Forward Community Investments

FCI is an investor, connector, and advisor for organizations and initiatives that reduce social, racial, and economic disparities in Wisconsin communities. We envision an equitable and inclusive Wisconsin built on cooperative social action. In its capacity as a statewide community development financial institution (CDFI), FCI infuses capital into economically underserved communities and neighborhoods. www.forwardci.org; https://www.facebook.com/forwardcommunityinvestments https://twitter.com/forwardci

To read the full announcement from the CDFI Fund and see all of the awardees click here.

Become an FCI Borrower

Read more about how to become an FCI borrower and how we work to direct our funds so as to help eradicate socioeconomic and racial inequities across the state.
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