CCLF’s Annual Stakeholders Meeting Highlights Resiliency In Challenging Times

Watch the virtual meeting here:
CCLF’s 2020 Annual Stakeholders Meeting

Embracing the digital culture to share its message, CCLF hosted its 2020 Annual Stakeholders Meeting on Tuesday, September 15, in a virtual platform. The production included live reports and video presentations of projects that represent the diverse breadth of CCLF’s financing in 2019. They included: Growing Home, Amped Kitchens, The Lillian Marcie Performing Arts Center and Greater Chicagoland Fellowship. Additional features of the meeting included video greetings from CCLF Board Chair Matt Reilein, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and actor Harry Lennix, principal of the forthcoming Lillian Marcie Center.

Investors, funders and supporters logged on to the virtual meeting to learn about CCLF’s achievements in 2019, the impact COVID-19 has had on operations, how CCLF has responded to the needs of its borrowers and the communities it serves and what the fund is doing to prepare for the future.

CCLF President, Calvin L. Holmes, served as emcee of the meeting, normally held in-person at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “I will start by assuring you that we have managed to keep operations running smoothly,” Holmes stated. “While keeping our people safe and doing our part to minimize the spread of the virus, we are making every effort to serve the community and our partners at the highest level possible.”

(clockwise from top, left) Calvin L. Holmes, CCLF President; Matthew Reilein, Board Chair; Lycrecia Parks, Vice President of Portfolio Management; Erik Hall, Board Co-Chair, Angela Dowell, Chief Financial Officer; and Bob Tucker, COO and Executive Vice President of Programs, highlighted CCLF’s persistent work to build Chicagoland’s communities through its lending, financial and portfolio performance in underserved communities, in spite of the effects of COVID-19 and social unrest.

CCLF Board Chair Matt Reilein assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed focus on fighting racial inequity in a video greeting, noting “I am here to let you know the Board of Directors is extremely proud of the role CCLF has been able to play to support businesses in crisis, partner with public agencies and create a resource guide, webinar and other technical assistance that were, and continue to be, urgently needed by our customers.”

Expounding on CCLF’s work with public agencies, Bob Tucker, COO and Executive Vice President of Programs, “welcomed” viewers to CCLF in an engaging video greeting – “You’ve come at a great time … no one’s here” – then went live to detail CCLF’s work with public agencies. “We’ve raised the bar and our hands even higher this year,” Tucker explained as he thanked staff for their dedicated work. Tucker further explained CCLF’s work with the City of Chicago’s Small Business Resiliency Fund, the Cook County Recovery Fund, the City of Chicago’s Together Now Fund and the Illinois Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program.

“CCLF ended the year [2019] with a total of $104 million in total assets including 30 million in net assets representing about a 29% net asset ratio,” said CCLF’s Chief Financial Officer Angela Dowell. “CCLF assets were also highly deployed with an 87% deployment ratio. CCLF ended the year with a $1.9 million surplus; $1.8 million of that surplus was strictly for lending capital to be used for low-cost loans or loan loss reserves. The remaining $100,000 was a modest operating surplus.

“When the global pandemic began in March, CCLF was projecting an operating deficit over $1 million,” Dowell continued. “With the help of many of you joining today, CCLF is optimistically projecting that we will break even by year’s end. Over the past six months, investors deferred, waived or reduced interest payments. Funders gave additional operating support and reduced restrictions on program grants. We thank our funders and investors for not only supporting CCLF in a time of crisis, but also thank them for supporting our borrowers and ultimately Chicagoland communities.”

Lycrecia Parks, Vice President of Portfolio Management, informed the audience that CCLF closed 26 loans totaling over $28 million in 2019. “This is the highest loan volume CCLF has had in its history,” Parks said. “As of June 30, 2020, CCLF closed 15 loans totaling over $8 million. [In spite of COVID-19 precautions] Staff is working hard to end the year with 40 loans closed totaling over $20 million, including a large number of COVID-19 relief loans through our partnership with the City of Chicago.”

 Erik Hall, CCLF Board Vice Chair, also serves as Chair of CCLF’s Ad Hoc Strategic Plan Subcommittee and appeared in the meeting to provide a peek into CCLF’s future. “We determined that rather than launch a new strategic planning process, we’d refresh our existing plan,” Hall said, “really identifying work streams with the notion of how do we go from being really, really good to being great.” Hall continued to provide overviews of the plan’s six work streams: Customer Service Enhancements; Expanding Reach: Geographic Footprint and Latinx Communities; Human Resources Initiatives; Enhancing Diversity; Cybersecurity and Technology; and Financial Planning and Portfolio Risk Diversification.

Following a question and answer session, Holmes closed the meeting, stating, “We feel very optimistic that with ongoing support from our funder network, we will be able to persevere, working with our customers to help them be more resilient than ever. We are committed that our neighborhoods will not fall back.”