Capital for Change receives $100,000 Opportunity Finance Network grant

WALLINGFORD — A new $100,000 grant will bolster housing projects serving low– and moderate–income Connecticut residents, allocated by a national organization that assists renewable and energy–efficiency financing efforts.

The Opportunity Finance Network, the national association of community development financial institutions, presented the charitable grant in December to Capital for Change Inc., Connecticut's largest full–service community development financial institution.

The funds comprise the first such allocation to Capital for Change from the network's energy efficiency financing grant program, said Calvin B. Vinal, president and CEO of the Wallingford–based organization.

Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is based in Washington, D.C., with offices in Philadelphia. It provides capital, advocacy and capacity building to help member and non–member institutions create impact in rural, urban and Native communities nationwide.

Capital for Change is expected to apply the funds to its low–income multi–family energy loans — a commercial–lending product known as LIME — to reduce the financial burden of reserves for potential bad–debt expense. Such loans are facilitated in partnership with the Connecticut Green Bank.

The goal of LIME financing is to help property owners improve the energy performance, economics, and health and safety of their properties. Loans generally are repaid based on new cash flow created from the resulting energy, operations and maintenance cost savings. 

“The Opportunity Finance Network has had a long–term, multi–faceted relationship with us,” said Darcy Arcand, development officer for Capital for Change, adding that it serves as a national trade association for community development financial institutions.

OFN's Energy Efficiency Financing Grant Program stems from a four–year partnership between the Opportunity Finance Network and an anonymous donor, said Brianna Gavigan, Capital for Change's program and grant administrator.

Through that program, OFN has been providing grants to its members since 2019, focusing on renewable and energy efficiency financing. It is expected to distribute $5.25 million nationally by 2022.

“The program's purpose is to provide critical grant support to community development financial institutions that work to benefit low–income communities by expanding affordable renewable and energy–efficiency financing products and services,” Gavigan said.

More information about the network — an industry leader for advocacy, research, direct financing and learning opportunities — may be found at ofn.org.

Capital for Change's overall mission includes a focus on improving the energy efficiency of housing, businesses and community facilities by lowering operating costs, creating “green–collar” jobs and reducing carbon emissions.

“Helping to meet our clients' financial needs is vital for the health of the communities that Capital for Change serves,” Vinal said. “This grant will assist us in doing exactly that, and we're deeply grateful for the trust that this represents.” 

Additional information is available online at CapitalForChange.org and the organization's Facebook page, “Capital for Change, Inc.”

Capital for Change's mission is to provide flexible, creative and responsive financial products and services to benefit low– and moderate–income persons, and minority and otherwise underserved individuals, businesses and communities. Its programs and products broaden access to affordable housing, energy efficiency and job opportunities.

Capital for Change Inc. was created in 2016 through the mergers of the Community Capital Fund, Connecticut Housing Investment Fund and the Greater New Haven Community Loan Fund, shaping an organization with a statewide history of service stretching back to 1968. Serving Connecticut for more than 50 years, C4C has invested more than $425 million in mission–driven capital statewide.

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