IFF is a mission-driven lender, developer, and consultant that helps communities thrive.

About IFF

Grounded in equity and deep sector expertise, IFF champions nonprofits to shape more equitable and vibrant communities through community-centered lending, development, and real estate consulting.

Since 1988, we have been working at the intersection of facilities and finance to help nonprofits serving a variety of sectors increase their financial stability and programmatic offerings, and achieve their missions. We do that by bringing together a powerful combination of financial solutions, real estate and development expertise, sector knowledge, and research and evaluation capacity to accelerate positive social impact and systems change.

Headquartered in Chicago, with regional offices in Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and St. Louis, we serve nonprofits and communities throughout the Midwest.

IFF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and one of only a few nationally to hold the top-ranked Aeris four-star rating for impact management and AAA rating for financial strength and performance.

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Core Values

IFF strengthens nonprofits and the communities they serve by providing leadership, capital, and real estate solutions.

  • Leadership reflects our research, policy, sector work, and convening role
  • Capital includes a range of financial products: loans, New Markets Tax Credits, and equity
  • Real Estate Solutions includes a range of consultant services, development, and ownership

Partnering to create thriving communities is at the heart of everything we do. We leverage knowledge, capital, and resources to advance equitable and transformational outcomes in under-resourced communities, guided by our commitment to be an inclusive, anti-racist and anti-oppressive institution that honors communities as asset-rich and as experts in their own stories.

Prioritize EQUITY: IFF seeks to be an anti-racist and anti-oppressive institution that is accountable to our staff and to communities of color and other oppressed groups. We strive to be a learning organization, and we recognize that successfully integrating equity into our organization and our work is an iterative process that requires intentionality, investment, and humility.

Respect PARTNERSHIPS: IFF listens carefully, engages honestly, cares deeply, and works hard to understand each other, nonprofits and communities. Through authentic collaboration, we bravely create teams and partnerships built on trust, transparency, and shared knowledge.

BALANCE Tensions: IFF is committed to problem-solving alongside our partners as we strive to balance mission and money, planning and action, and the array of complex factors that impact critical decisions.

STEWARD with Heart: IFF understands that long-term visions require long-term partners. That is why we are passionate about maintaining a fiscally strong institution that supports all our partners, for the life of a loan or project and beyond, until all communities thrive.

What does IFF stand for?

IFF is an initialism, but the letters no longer stand for specific words. We are simply “IFF” and should be referred to as such in all content.

In 1988, IFF was founded as the “Illinois Facilities Fund.” In 2007, after we expanded our services beyond Illinois, we officially changed our name to “IFF” to better serve our entire Midwest footprint, which includes Illinois, Indiana and the adjacent metro areas of Louisville and Northern Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Read about our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan
Read our 2023 Annual Report

Our Impact

Since 1988, IFF has provided $1.6 billion in flexible, affordable financing to nonprofits serving a variety of sectors – affordable housing, health care, education, community development, arts and culture, and more – in order to increase their financial stability and programmatic offerings. These investments have leveraged $5.83 billion, developed more than 42 million square feet of real estate, and created more than 16,000 child care slots, 160,900 school seats, 725,500 new patient visits, and 20,500 units of affordable housing.

Created in 2018, the Social Impact Accelerator uniquely positions IFF to deepen and grow our impact by scaling what works, innovating new solutions, and driving systems change. Learn more about how we do that.

History of IFF

Explore the history of IFF and key milestones since its founding in 1988.

  1. 1988Illinois Facilities Fund was born

    IFF incorporated and began as the Illinois Facilities Fund, a program of the Chicago Community Trust. Trust staff learned that nonprofit operations suffer from both public and private under-funding in capital planning, capital finance, and building maintenance. After analysis, it became clear that, due to credit factors, the challenge of private fundraising, and stress on public budgets, loans would only be a successful strategy for addressing this problem if they were affordable within agency cash flows. This meant that loans had to be below-market and carry few additional fees or closing costs. IFF formed to meet these needs.

  2. 1990IFF began independent operations / First loans approved

    IFF obtained its tax-exempt status and began work as a fully independent organization with $1.7 million in support.

    IFF approved its first two loans: North Avenue Day Nursery for $200,000 and New Foundation Center for $32,000.

  3. 1991First study commissioned

    IFF commissioned a study that received national acclaim: Nonprofit Human Service Facilities in Illinois: Structure, Adequacy, and Management. The study documented needs by providing data on the extensive facilities-related problems throughout the nonprofit human service sector in Illinois.

  4. 1992Child Care Facility Development Program established

    IFF financed, constructed, and took ownership of seven child care centers in five Illinois cities. The program, completed in 1995, established IFF as an expert on the design, economics and operations of child care centers.

  5. 1993Loan Program launched

    IFF closed a $1 million loan from Continental Bank (now Bank of America), its first borrowing for the loan program.

  6. 1994First loan to health care agency approved

    IFF made its first health care loan to Access Community Health Network for $300,000.

  7. 1995Study: An Analysis of Current Sites, Capital Financing and Future Facilities Needs

    IFF conducted two studies – An Analysis of Current Sites, Capital Financing and Future Facilities Needs for the City of Chicago on the facilities needs of Head Start delegates and The Housing Challenge for Illinois Mental Health Providers commissioned and funded by the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.

    IFF created our Investor Consortium, which offers investors full security and a slightly higher return.

  8. 1996CDFI certification obtained

    IFF is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and received $900,000 from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI program.

  9. 1997Real Estate Solutions launched

    IFF’s Real Estate Solutions (RES) division launches offering real estate development, project management, consulting, financial planning, and limited technical assistance to nonprofits. Learn more about Real Estate Solutions.

  10. 2001First affordable housing loan approved

    IFF made its first affordable housing loan to West Humboldt Park Homes for $215,512. Learn more about Affordable Housing.

  11. 2003Three distinct business units / First New Markets Tax Credits

    IFF completed an in-depth strategic planning process that resulted in financial and organizational changes and growth, and strengthened its unwavering commitment to the nonprofit sector. The plan called for the reorganization of IFF into three distinct business units:

    • Lending
    • Real Estate
    • Research

    IFF was one of only four organizations in Illinois to receive an allocation of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. With its allocation, IFF secured $10 million for loans to highly-distressed communities throughout the state.

  12. 2006First loans approved outside of Illinois

    IFF’s board officially approved expansion to four states. For the first time, IFF made loans in Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin, with plans to expand into Indiana.

  13. 2007Illinois Facilities Fund officially becomes IFF

    With IFF lending regularly in four states, the organization officially changed its name from “Illinois Facilities Fund” to simply “IFF.”

  14. 2008St. Louis office opened

    IFF opened its office in St. Louis, Missouri.

  15. 2009Milwaukee office opened

    IFF opened its office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  16. 2011Home First program established

    Working with Access Living, IFF obtained $15 million from the state of Illinois to create and implement a program to move people with disabilities out of institutional living and into independence. For the first time, IFF will own and manage units. Learn more about Home First.

  17. 2012Indianapolis office opens

    IFF created the Community Strategies division to formalize its proactive community development work and opened offices in Indianapolis.

  18. 2013IFF celebrates 25th anniversary

  19. 2014Detroit office opened

  20. 2016Columbus office opens / Learning Spaces & Arts and Culture Loan Fund launch

    IFF opened an office in Ohio, bringing the total number of offices to five.

    Learning Spaces launches in Detroit working to increase capacity and improve access to quality early childhood education (ECE).

    The MacArthur Arts and Culture Loan Fund launches, which provides operating lines of credit to help arts organizations manage the uneven cash flow resulting form the timing of production costs and ticket sales.

  21. 2017Stronger Nonprofits Initiative launched

    IFF launches the Stronger Nonprofits Initiative (SNI). Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, and administered by BDO FMA, SNI aims to support nonprofits led by people of color in navigating systemic barriers to accessing capital and real estate opportunities by acknowledging disparities in lending and providing resources and tools to increase capacity and build connections to networks. The first ten nonprofits completed the program near the end of 2017. By the end of 2023 nearly 100 nonprofits had participated in SNI.


  22. 2018IFF celebrates 30th anniversary

    IFF commemorates its 30th anniversary with a series of events that convened, celebrated, and connected more than 500 partners throughout the Midwest. Events were held in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. Read more.

  23. 2022Grand Rapids office opens

  24. 2023Cleveland office opens

IFF History: The First 10 Years