Lending, Learning, Leading: How Community Lending Institutions Are Focusing on Results

Posted November 9, 2015, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog lending learning leading 2015

Over the past few years, com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment finan­cial insti­tu­tions, or CDFIs, have emerged as impor­tant part­ners in Casey’s strate­gies for strength­en­ing com­mu­ni­ties. While they take many forms — banks, cred­it unions, loan funds and ven­ture cap­i­tal orga­ni­za­tions — CDFIs share the mis­sion of pro­vid­ing lend­ing and finan­cial ser­vices to peo­ple, busi­ness­es and com­mu­ni­ties that are tra­di­tion­al­ly under­served. The Foun­da­tion now has a social invest­ments port­fo­lio of $100 mil­lion, with the bulk of the invest­ments through CDFIs around the country.

A new Foun­da­tion report, Lend­ing, Learn­ing, Lead­ing: Devel­op­ing Results-Based Lead­ers in Oppor­tu­ni­ty Finance, shows how CDFI lead­ers have been using an intro­duc­tion to results-based lead­er­ship devel­op­ment (RBL) to more pre­cise­ly mea­sure their con­tri­bu­tions in the com­mu­ni­ties they serve. Over the past sev­er­al years, the Foun­da­tion cre­at­ed a CDFI Lead­er­ship Learn­ing Net­work — two groups of com­mu­ni­ty finan­cial lead­ers who par­tic­i­pat­ed in an in-depth lead­er­ship devel­op­ment program.

Par­tic­i­pants have since applied results-based lead­er­ship com­pe­ten­cies and think­ing to devel­op new tools for their work back home. For exam­ple, the North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Com­mu­ni­ty Loan Fund in San Fran­cis­co devel­oped a new rat­ing sys­tem to more pre­cise­ly mea­sure how its loans con­tribute to increased oppor­tu­ni­ty for peo­ple of col­or and low-income com­mu­ni­ties, focus­ing on four data cat­e­gories. The orga­ni­za­tion, which had three lead­ers in the Casey pro­gram, also used results-based approach­es to col­lab­o­ra­tion and action plan­ning to help launch new work to finance emerg­ing food-relat­ed and agri­cul­tur­al businesses.

Now that the lead­er­ship devel­op­ment pro­gram has end­ed, the Foun­da­tion is hop­ing that orga­ni­za­tions serv­ing the CDFI field will embed the lessons in their own lead­er­ship pro­grams and that lead­ers who par­tic­i­pat­ed will con­tin­ue to devel­op bet­ter ways of mea­sur­ing and improv­ing the dif­fer­ence they make.

RBL makes you think beyond what your bal­ance sheet looks like so peo­ple see that there are oth­er results that are equal­ly or even more impor­tant,” said net­work par­tic­i­pant Kei­th Bis­son, senior vice pres­i­dent, pro­gram man­age­ment and devel­op­ment at Coastal Enter­pris­es, Inc., in Wis­cas­set, Maine. The bot­tom line is that you may be a prof­itable orga­ni­za­tion, but are you real­ly mak­ing a difference?”

Down­load the report

Popular Posts

View all blog posts   |   Browse Topics