Capacity Building Services

  • OFN helps CDFIs and their partners make a positive

  • impact in the communities where they work.



OFN has deep expertise in CDFI Operations, Financial Performance, and Impact, as well as Research, Capacity Building, Advocacy, and Communications. OFN provides unparalleled CDFI industry expertise and experience when delivering:

Learn More

Contact Donna Fabiani, Executive Vice President, Knowledge Sharing, at 202.836.8794.

Services for CDFI Investors

Many of the nation's largest banks, corporations, and foundations, as well as government agencies and other socially-responsible investors, engage us to help them:

  • Design, launch, or grow CDFI investment programs
  • Develop CDFI investment strategies and products to support community reinvestment (CRA) and corporate social responsibility goals
  • Craft CDFI investment selection criteria and conduct market analysis to meet geographic, lending sector, credit quality, and impact objectives
  • Perform due diligence on investments, loans, or grants to CDFIs, including operating, lending, financial, and impact reviews
  • Develop and deliver customized briefings and trainings on the CDFI Industry and underwriting CDFIs

Learn More

Contact Donna Fabiani, Executive Vice President, Knowledge Sharing, at 202.836.8794.

Services for CDFIs

OFN helps CDFIs—directly and as part of Industry Capacity Building Initiatives—to increase coverage in underserved communities and improve financial performance and impact. CDFIs engage us to:

  • Develop CDFI business plans and strategies
  • Build governance and leadership capacity for Boards and management teams
  • Enhance CDFI financial and operational performance: conduct risk and portfolio reviews, and update policies and procedures

Learn More

Contact Donna Fabiani, Executive Vice President, Knowledge Sharing, at 202.836.8794.

Industry Capacity Building

Our Industry Capacity Building services are multi-faceted training and technical assistance programs funded by CDFI investors and partners, and offered to CDFIs at low- or no-cost. These services reflect our proven ability to codify and help CDFIs replicate best practices for:

  • Financing products and services
  • Geographic expansion
  • Business model transformation
  • Operating practice improvements

Current Industry Capacity Building initiatives include:

Past initiatives include:

Learn more about previous Industry Capacity Building initiatives, including other resources, here.

Executive Training for CDFI Board Members

CDFI Board members face unprecedented challenges in a rapidly changing environment. Good governance requires high-performing board leadership. Join us to sharpen your leadership skills and learn best practices for board excellence.

Join us to learn:

  • Critical trends in the CDFI industry
  • Challenges and opportunities of Board leadership
  • Board composition and performance
  • Fiduciary responsibility, capitalization, and sustainability

And more!

Training Logistics

When: Thursday, September 27, 2018

Where: BBVA/Compass, Gate Parkway, 10060 Skinner Lake Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246


Testimonials from past participants:

  • “I have attended a few Board of Directors trainings in my 15+ years of board service, but I had not attended one prior to OFN’s that was so well constructed. The material was tailored for the newcomer board member as well as “old hats” like myself. Proof positive, you “can teach old dogs new tricks.
  • “It was a joy to attend the session and the training was great. It helped reinforce many things we are doing well and gave us new ideas on areas where we can also improve going forward. I personally walked away with a few key tasks to implement in the new year.
  • “I thought the session was very good, informational, and high functioning board oriented!


For additional information, please contact Ginger McNally.


Recent Industry Capacity Building Initiatives provide an archive of valuable resources. Below is a representative listing of initiatives, along with accompanying resources:

Other recent industry initiatives include:

  • Teaming Up Atlanta
  • CDFIs V2.0: The Vision of a New Generation
  • Higher Education and CDFIs

Teaming Up Atlanta

Supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Atlanta and its residents have been hit hard by complex economic realities. The quality of housing in its poorest neighborhoods is among the worst in the U.S. and affordable financing opportunities are virtually non-existent, the result of more bank failures in Georgia than in any other state in the country.

To help bolster the role of CDFIs in Atlanta and strengthen their individual and collective abilities to provide more opportunity in this underserved area, during 2012 OFN designed and facilitated Teaming Up Atlanta, an initiative that brought together CDFIs based in or serving the Atlanta area. As a group, they worked together to continue to improve the quality of life in the city.

Through Teaming Up Atlanta the group identified three top priorities for the initiative:

  1. Create a formalized referral network to promote collaboration among CDFIs serving Atlanta;
  2. Build the capacity of small business lenders; and
  3. Develop a capitalization strategy focused on bringing more capital to Atlanta.


Collectively, the group created a Profile Book that outlines the products and services, target markets, and organizational missions of the CDFIs and CDFI partners serving Atlanta. The book was designed to act as a resource to educate borrowers about CDFIs, as a referral resource for other CDFIs, and also to inform banking, government, and philanthropic partners about CDFIs in Atlanta.

Read more about Teaming Up Atlanta in this article that summarizes the initiative.


Thank you to the following CDFIs for your commitment to this effort: Credit Union of Atlanta; Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE); Atlanta Micro Fund; Enterprise; NCB Capital Impact; Self-Help; Center for Financial Independence and Innovation; and NeighborWorks.

In addition, Teaming Up Atlanta has benefited from the active involvement of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Sustainable Neighborhood Development.

Learn More

Learn more about Teaming Up Atlanta by contacting Donna Fabiani, Executive Vice President, Knowledge Sharing, or at 202.836.8794.

CDFIs V2.0: The Vision of a New Generation

In October 2010, OFN convened a diverse group of young leaders—representing CDFIs, banks, foundations, and government—to discuss this strategic challenge in an effort to define their vision for the next CDFI era.

The ideas and recommendations generated during this discussion, and further developed in subsequent meetings and work groups, formed the foundation of CDFIs v2.0: The Vision of a New Generation. Published in January 2012 by OFN, this vision paper, made possible by a generous grant from Rabobank and in-kind support from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, makes five recommendations for building a solid future for CDFIs:

  1. Strategically recruit new talent
  2. Increase opportunities for training and advancement
  3. Improve social impact measurement and collection
  4. Collaborate and innovate to use resources more efficiently
  5. Diversify capital sources and improve transparency

These ideas are meant to act as a starting point for discussion within CDFIs, their partner organizations, and the industry as a whole. In particular, we hope that this document will stimulate conversation about fostering the next generation of leaders in the community development finance sector.


Higher Education and CDFIs

OFN is partnering with The Jessie Ball duPont Fund to encourage colleges and universities to explore innovative investments in their communities, using the financial resources of higher education and the lending expertise of community development financial institutions.

Through a new publication and a series of presentations, the two organizations hope to engage leaders in higher education and community development finance, inspire their thinking and encourage their collaboration in community development opportunities.

The new report—Partnerships for Community Impact: Higher Education and CDFIs Working Together—highlights five examples of higher education-CDFI partnership, involving projects in Philadelphia (TRF and LaSalle University), Chicago (IFF and University of Chicago), Durham, N.C. (Self-Help and Duke University); New Orleans (Hope and Delgado Community College), and multiple communities in North Carolina (LCCU and University of Virginia).

The projects range from development of child care facilities, housing, and grocery stores to encouraging small business development and providing research and evaluation support for community projects.

“These partnerships have multiplied opportunities for low-income and low-wealth people to access education, to open a small business, to eat healthy, affordable food, and to own a home,” said Mark Pinsky, president of Opportunity Finance Network. “We appreciate the Jessie Ball duPont Fund’s leadership in identifying and actively highlighting these collaborations as examples CDFIs and schools can emulate across the country.”

“The work of building more vibrant and equitable communities demands creativity, knowledge and a commitment to place — qualities that are abundant in institutions of higher learning,” said Sherry Magill, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “It also requires capital that is not intimidated by innovation and that is committed to the greater good — qualities that community development financial institutions (CDFIs) exemplify.”

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund works with more than 65 colleges and universities and, for many years, has encouraged these institutions to look beyond the campus and become actively involved in their communities.

For more information, contact Donna Fabiani, Executive Vice President, Knowledge Sharing, at 202.836.8794.

Training and Capacity Building Events

OFN offers training opportunities to build capacity of CDFIs. Here are upcoming events that we encourage you to review, share with your colleagues, register, and let us know what other topics you would like OFN to offer.

  • Executive Training for CDFI Board Members $: Incoming and incumbent CDFI board members will benefit from this focused orientation to the CDFI industry, business model, and governance best practices.  Our next Board workshop is in Jacksonville, FL on September 27, 2018.
  • Business Plan for Growth Training $: Building on our experience with small business lenders, this 2-day workshop helps senior managers rethink their business model and create actionable plans for growth. 
  • New Staff Orientation $: Across the industry, we have many new staff members.  To support their on-boarding, OFN offers a 3-part webinar series to orient new staff to the CDFI industry and to the resources available to help them and their CDFI. 
  • CDFI Fundamentals $: Now in its third year, this 3-day workshop provides an in-depth curriculum to build knowledge of the CDFI industry which is perfect for CDFI investors, partners, and career changers.


$ These events have a fee associated with them


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