From Joe Neri
and the Board
of Directors

Joe Neri Joe Neri
Chief Executive Officer
Cheryl Wilson Cheryl Wilson
Board Chair

A Historic Investment in Local Changemakers

There is no burying the lead on 2023: it was IFF’s most impactful year to date. We made more loans to more nonprofit changemakers than ever before in our 35-year history.

We say this humbly, but proudly, and with a deep appreciation for the investors and funders whose steadfast support made this achievement possible.

Because of your faith in IFF’s strategic direction—just a few short years after a global pandemic that brought the economy to a standstill and put the communities we serve in harm’s way—we have been able to scale our platform of leadership, capital, and real estate solutions to deliver a historic investment in local changemakers just when they most needed it.

Specifically, in 2023, we:

  • Closed a record 153 loans providing $233.9 million in capital to nonprofit changemakers—exceeding our previous high by over $100 million;
  • Raised $130 million in capital to support the incredible demand for our loans;
  • Through our lending, leveraged $1.28 billion in total community investment and supported the development of 4.97 million square feet of real estate;
  • Consulted on 90 nonprofit facilities projects, including managing the construction of over 32,000 square feet of real estate;
  • Completed two community-driven development projects in the Chicago Metro area, with additional projects underway in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and St. Louis;
  • Surpassed the $1 billion threshold in total managed assets.

In addition to these milestones, we also deepened IFF’s presence across our Midwest region—opening an office in Cleveland to better serve Northeast Ohio; appointing an executive director to lead and grow our work in Indiana; partnering with state and local government in Michigan to expand quality child care facilities and build affordable housing; working with state and local government in Illinois to convert once vacant hotels into safer and more stable shelters for the unhoused population; and continuing to engage with stakeholders in cities and states across the region to support a facilities-forward approach to expanding the availability of quality child care by leveraging our research, programming, development, and more.

While there’s much to celebrate about what we accomplished in 2023, there were significant challenges, too—and our success was by no means guaranteed. A perfect storm was brewing with the demand for and supply of IFF’s capital, and we found ourselves at a crossroads.

As public funds meant to help communities rebuild after the pandemic started to flow to local nonprofits, increasing the demand for IFF’s loans, the Federal Reserve also raised interest rates precipitously to help curb inflation, unsettling the financial markets. The result: capital became scarcer and more expensive for everyone than it had been in a long time.

In this environment, many banks as well as some CDFIs pulled back on their lending until the situation settled, which increased the demand for IFF’s loans even more. We had a choice to make. Do we immediately pull back? Or do we lean into our mission and on our relationships, fully leverage IFF’s platform, and ensure that local changemakers have the capital they need to rebuild after the pandemic?

Of course, you know the answer to that question because you leaned in with us! You saw the need for IFF’s capital and real estate services in communities across the Midwest, and you offered your partnership and provided us with the financial support to meet the moment.

Together, we made a historic investment in local changemakers in 2023.

Thank you!

Joe Neri, Chief Executive Officer
Cheryl Wilson, Board Chair

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