A total of 82 investors, funders and supporters joined CCLF on June 13, 2019, for its Annual Stakeholders Meeting at The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The audience gathered to learn more about the mission of CCLF and the work done in the past year to bring equity and change to low- to moderate-income communities throughout Chicagoland.
John Tuohy, Chair of CCLF’s External Relations Committee, represented the Board of Directors, welcomed attendees, and outlined the day’s agenda. Jeremiah Boyle, Managing Director and Assistant Vice President of Community and Economic Development, welcomed attendees to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, noting that 2019 marked the sixth straight year CCLF has held its Stakeholders Meeting at the location.
Angela Dowell, CCLF’s Chief Financial Officer, and Bob Tucker, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Programs,were first to discuss CCLF’s 2018-2019 financial performance and progress on its strategic plan. “CCLF had another strong fiscal year in 2018,” Dowell said. “CCLF’s balance sheet growth continued, ending the year with $91 million in total assets and $29 million in net assets, representing a 32% net asset ratio.”
“Lending capital was 92% deployed. Additionally, CCLF had $1.7 million in net income in 2018, with nearly all of it attributed to additional capital for CCLF to lend to the communities we serve and a small portion of operating net income,” Dowell continued. She also added that CCLF maintained a self-sufficiency ratio of nearly 80% in 2018.
Tucker began to provide an update on the progress of CCLF’s 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, but Dowell interrupted with breaking news: CCLF has reached $100 million in total assets. Both speakers acknowledged that this milestone accomplishment was credited to CCLF’s funders, investors, partners and staff that helped propel the Fund’s growth for 28 years.
Tucker continued with an update on CCLF’s Strategic Plan, noting that CCLF is changing the way it collects social impact metrics. “Portfolio Management is also engaging earlier with customers,” Tucker added.
Lycrecia Parks, CCLF’s Vice President of Portfolio Management, took the stage next for a discussion with CCLF borrower Nareman Taha, Co-founder of Arab American Family Services (AAFS). AAFS is a nonprofit social service agency that provides service to over 30 communities in the south suburban Chicagoland area.
“CCLF ended 2018 with 32 loans closed totaling over $21 million,” Parks explained. “We are projecting to end 2019 with 36 loans closed totaling over $25 million.”
“CCLF ended 2018 with an outstanding portfolio totaling $71.8 million across 142 loans,” Parks added. “We are projecting to end 2019 with 160 loans and a principal balance totaling over $81 million outstanding.”
In discussion, Nareman Taha exemplified the impact of CCLF’s Technical Assistance and patient lending. CCLF referred Taha to a property tax attorney that helped AAFS qualify for property tax exemption and worked with the organization during difficult times. “At one point, we were heavily reliant on state payments for services rendered,” Taha told the audience. “The state became late with the reimbursements which eventually caused us to lay off staff in order to keep our doors open. CCLF saw our cash restraints and saw that we needed assistance. They then structured our loan in such a way that we could pay a portion of our mortgage based on our current revenue and defer the balance. This modification allowed us to continue to provide the assistance our clients needed.”
Calvin L. Holmes, CCLF President, and Juan Calixto, Vice President of External Relations, rounded out the segment with a one-on-one discussion on CCLF’s partnerships. When asked by Calixto to summarize some of the key partnerships CCLF is involved in at the neighborhood level, Holmes responded: “Like many CDFIs committed to working to restore dignity and justice to our communities, CCLF has evolved from being mostly transactional to engaging in partnerships and collaboration to accelerate change. It’s been an intentional strategy to expand and deepen our impact.”
Kate Gronstal of Evergreen Real Estate Group (EREG), a CCLF borrower, discussed three new affordable housing developments in Chicago, two of which utilized CCLF’s predevelopment financing: Northtown Library and Apartments and Independence Library and Apartments. EREG’s Northtown and Independence projects combine senior housing above Chicago Public Libraries each featuring acclaimed architectural design and artwork reflective of their respective communities. CCLF provided EREG with $1,500,000 for predevelopment in three separate loans associated with the development of the mixed-use buildings.
Following the meeting, attendees were invited to board buses and experience a CCLF-funded project first-hand with a tour of Accion Chicago’s The Hatchery, a non-profit food and beverage incubator located in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood (see below).
CCLF Stakeholder’s Meeting Attendees Tour The Hatchery
The Hatchery is dedicated to helping local entrepreneurs establish and grow successful businesses by providing kitchen facilities, educational programs and local job opportunities. Following CCLF’s Annual Stakeholders Meeting on June 13, 2019, Accion Chicago’s Brad McConnell, Chief Executive Officer, and Mary Fran Riley, Senior Vice President of External Affairs, greeted CCLF’s guests at The Hatchery and provided in-depth tours of the expansive facility.
Participants had the chance to learn from several small business owners at The Hatchery and enjoy culinary innovations from: Tathyane Vosgerau of Gifted Breads, LLC, which provides flavorful, gluten-free breads; Danielle Wheeler of Maison Cuisine, an eco-conscious, full-service catering and event planning company; Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice Of The Pies, a bakery specializing in sweet and savory pies, quiches, and tartes; and Veah Larde of Two Sisters Catering, which specializes in Southern staples made from scratch.
Larde shared with the group why The Hatchery was so important for the growth of her small business: “I want people to leave and have a new food memory they can keep after tasting our food. This (The Hatchery) is a blessing for our community and for people who have a passion for cooking.”
To learn more about The Hatchery, visit www.thehatcherychicago.org.