Our Impact

Explore IFF’s impact since 1988.

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IFF celebrates 25th anniversary

IFF celebrates its 25th anniversary and embarks on a new strategic plan to continue strengthening nonprofits and the communities they serve.

2015 accomplishments noted

In 2014, we embraced a bold vision to transform low-income communities and special needs populations with comprehensive solutions. And in 2015, we started achieving that vision with impressive results across the Midwest:

  • Closing on 117 loans for $95.5 million and growing our loan portfolio to $246 million
  • Delivering a record surplus of nearly $1.5 million and reducing delinquencies to new lows
  • Growing total managed assets to $486 million and our net assets to $83 million


Home First completed construction on 70 homes for people with disabilities

In a large condo building on Belmont Avenue in Lakeview — a community on Chicago’s north side — five people with disabilities who once lived in nursing facilities moved into new vibrant neighborhood homes. Their units, spread across four floors, were converted into wheelchair-accessible and affordable housing.

The project was part of IFF’s Home First program, whose goal is to give people with disabilities both choice and dignity in their everyday life through integrated, community-based housing options. Construction wrapped up in September 2015 on Home First’s $16.5 million Illinois Accessible Housing Initiative, with 70 rental units in seven city neighborhoods and five suburbs of Chicago.


IFF opened office in Minneapolis

IFF opens a real estate services office in Minnesota.

Midwest Nonprofit Lenders Alliance established

With support from JPMorgan Chase, IFF and the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) created a partnership to bring affordable, flexible, and long-term real estate loans to nonprofits in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky.


IFF opened office in Columbus

IFF opens an office in Columbus, OH.


2016 accomplishments noted

Our continued strong financial performance in 2016 included:

  • Closing on a record 138 loans for $103.5 million and growing our loan portfolio to $365.9 million
  • Achieving a surplus of nearly $1.2 million and keeping delinquencies at record lows
  • Growing our total managed assets to $606.3 million, including real estate holdings of $37.5 million

MacArthur Arts and Culture Loan Fund established

IFF launched the MacArthur Arts and Culture Loan Fund, 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.


Kansas City Quality Seats Initiative launched

IFF teamed up with Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to launch the Kansas City Quality Seats Initiative to improve the education landscape in neighborhoods throughout the city. As a result of this effort, three new charter schools opened in 2016, creating more than 1,650 seats. All three schools were financed in part by IFF loans and located in high-need areas identified by IFF research. An equity investment from the Kauffman Foundation allowed IFF to acquire and develop the building where Citizens of the World Charter School in Kansas City (CWCKC) is now operating. IFF’s real estate team transformed the property from a vacant office building into a modern school and continues to own the facility with plans for CWCKC to purchase it in the future.


Midwest Nonprofit Lenders Alliance strengthened

IFF’s continued partnership with the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) expands its ability to provide capital to low-income communities in Cincinnati, Dayton, and northern Kentucky. IFF and CDF have jointly financed more than $13 million in nonprofit facilities projects since the partnership began in 2014. Examples include Market Square, a massive mixed-use redevelopment calling for the complete renovation of 12 blighted, vacant buildings in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, as well as the renovation of the long-vacant Hellman Lumber Building in Covington, KY, which is now anchored by the nonprofit Center for Great Neighborhoods.


Milestone: $100 million invested in the Midwest

IFF reached a major milestone in Milwaukee in 2016: $100 million invested in schools, health clinics, child care centers, and other nonprofits through loans and New Markets Tax Credits. IFF marked the occasion with an event at the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care’s Bucyrus Campus, a project made possible with $10 million in New Markets Tax Credits and a $1.5 million loan from IFF.

2017 accomplishments noted

In 2017, IFF’s team of finance and real estate professionals delivered on over 200 community development projects across the Midwest. Together, our core business group:

  • Closed 133 loans for $85.6 million, growing our managed loan portfolio to $485.6 million
  • Consulted on 113 real estate projects, helping nonprofits to plan and build essential facilities
  • Led the development of high-impact projects, such as an incubator for food businesses on Chicago’s West Side and dozens of affordable homes for persons with disabilities in Illinois
  • Provided or sourced new markets tax credits for critical nonprofit projects, such as a state-of-the-art early childhood education center for children affected by the Flint water crisis
  • Leveraged $262 million in total capital investment for communities


Milestone: 10 years of Smarter Spaces program recognized

IFF marked the 10-year anniversary of Smarter Spaces, a partnership with the Polk Bros. Foundation to provide subsidized real estate services to more than 100 Chicago-area nonprofits. IFF’s Polk-subsidized services help nonprofits make long-term decisions about facilities based on sound analysis and planning — saving organizations thousands of dollars and providing long-term peace of mind. Subsidized services include feasibility studies, site search, facility assessment, predevelopment, and facilities plans.

For example, during this time IFF helped plan and oversee renovations at three Erie Family Health Center sites. IFF guided Erie on the timing and staging of each project to ensure funds were available when needed. At one of the sites, IFF also persuaded the architect to use existing functional areas instead of a full gut rehab, leading to significant cost savings. Across the three sites, Erie anticipates serving 14,000 new patients, adding 10 exam rooms, and adding 55 full-time-equivalent positions.


Stronger Nonprofits Initiative launched

IFF launches a new program called the the Stronger Nonprofits Initiative (SNI). Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, this program focuses on strengthening the financial health of nonprofits serving communities of color on the south and west sides of Chicago. The program provides financial management training and real estate consulting subsidies. The first ten nonprofits completed the program near the end of 2017 and several are moving forward with feasibility studies to explore the possibility of programmatic expansions.


New strategic plan launched

IFF launches a new strategic vision for 2018-2022: “Accelerating Social Impact.” This plan recognizes in bold new ways IFF’s growing status as a systems change and community transformation leader. With the right combination of investment, development, partnerships, and actionable knowledge, IFF is forging into deeper, systems-focused, community-driven, collaborative ways of achieving positive impact for low-income communities in the Midwest. As part of this effort, we will be deepening our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion both in the way we operate internally and the way we impact change in the world. Learn more.


IFF celebrated 30th anniversary

IFF commemorated 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.

Learning Spaces program increased capacity at early childhood education facilities in Detroit

Safe and inspiring learning environments lay the foundation for positive early childhood experiences. That’s why IFF is working with high-quality early childhood providers to transform their spaces. IFF’s Learning Spaces program provides grants and technical assistance to upgrade early learning facilities in the Detroit area. The improvements are leading to increased capacity so that more Detroit families can access quality care. This video highlights stories from three providers who went through the program: Tonya G. Briggs of Kristy’s Development Center, Zina M. Davis of Children of the Rising Sun Empowerment Center, and Felicia D. Legardy of Crystal Swann Child Care LLC.


The Hatchery opened doors

The 67,000-square-foot Hatchery complex provides spaces and services for about 100 start-up or early-stage food businesses – and is expected to support up to 900 jobs over 5 years. The facility features 56 food-grade kitchens, along with cold-dry storage, loading docks, and training spaces. Nearby community residents are also offered priority access to all of The Hatchery’s offerings; discounted rates on a variety of opportunities, including hourly rates in shared kitchens for those not yet ready to sign a lease; and free classes for both job seekers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The facility is co-owned by two long-standing Chicago nonprofits – the microlender Accion Chicago and the business incubator Industrial Council of Northwest Chicago (ICNC). IFF was an early partner to Accion and ICNC, serving as The Hatchery’s lead developer charged with pulling together parcels of land and pieces of financing to bring the project to the groundbreaking stage in November 2017. Additionally, IFF’s real estate solutions team has managed the on-site construction at the facility, which is located at the corner of Lake and Kedzie just off the CTA’s Kedzie Green Line station.


Home First recognized with awards 5x in 2019

Darnell, Thomas, and Stephany are just three of the 200+ residents of IFF’s Home First program, which creates affordable, accessible, community-integrated housing for people with a broad range of disabilities. In the past year, IFF’s Home First program has been recognized five times for its vision, affordability, and design from local, regional, and national organizations:

For Vision: Vision Award from the Urban Land Institute

For Affordability: Community Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDAs) – Polk Bros Foundation Affordable Rental Housing Preservation Award from LISC Chicago

For Impactful Use of Tax Credits: Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award from the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition

For Design: Housing and Community Design Award for Housing Accessibility: Alan J. Rothman Award from the American Institute of Architects and the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

For Leadership: Nonprofit Developer of the Year Award from the Cook County Land Bank Authority

For Development Finance: Excellence in Development Finance Program Award from the Coalition for Development Finance Agencies


Paycheck Protection Program

Online portals crashing. Phone lines jammed. Headlines on disparities. Nonprofits were losing hope that they’d ever get through to the Paycheck Protection Program. IFF was not an approved lender for the federal agency running the PPP, but nonprofits told us they needed us — and we made it happen by forming partnerships and pivoting most of our lending team to the PPP work for several weeks to close 159 loans totaling more than $21 million.


COVID-19 virus graphic

COVID Response

When the world changes, how can our programs and initiatives stay the same? This isn’t just a matter of “going virtual” — it’s about pivoting resources, modifying requirements, and engaging more deeply in order to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the moment. IFF has long believed CDFIs do so much more than raise and deploy capital; we engage in a continuum of activities to serve nonprofits and communities. In 2020, that continuum was put to work like never before.