MacArthur has awarded $800,000 to the Illinois Facilities Fund for its continued efforts to help bring capital, technical assistance, and construction management expertise to nonprofits in Chicago and Illinois, including childcare centers and community health clinics, for renovation and construction purposes.
"Nonprofits have a hard time raising capital for real estate projects that are essential to community revitalization," said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "The Illinois Facilities Fund is an innovative leader in the community development finance field, willing to take risks that benefit communities throughout Chicago and across the state. It is one of eight community development financial institutions we support in Chicago, which together are putting $20-25 million to work creating needed community facilities."
The Illinois Facilities Fund is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides low-cost loans and technical assistance to nonprofits in Chicago and Illinois. It first began making loans in 1990 with a portfolio of $1.7 million. By 2003, the IFF had provided more than $68 million to 240 projects statewide and had created a real estate consulting service that conducts feasibility studies and provides project management and analysis services for its diverse nonprofit clientele. Clients include licensed child-care and Head Start centers, community-based health clinics, employment training facilities, community arts and recreational centers, housing for developmentally disabled adults, and emergency youth shelters. The loans from IFF may help their borrowers obtain further resources from conventional financial institutions, such as banks. To date, IFF's clients have leveraged $125 million in additional financing.
The grant of $800,000 over three years will help the Illinois Facilities Fund implement a business plan designed to expand its pool of lending capital from $30 million to $100 million. Grant funds also will be used for public policy and research activities designed to help increase the effectiveness and advance the work of the community development finance industry broadly in Illinois and the nearly 5,000 nonprofit organizations in or serving low-income or special needs populations in Illinois.