Illinois 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.
IFF began independent operations
IFF obtained its tax-exempt status and began work as a fully independent organization with $1.7 million in support.
First loans approved
IFF approved its first two loans: North Avenue Day Nursery for $200,000 and New Foundation Center for $32,000.
First 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.
Child 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.
Loan Program launched
IFF closed a $1 million loan from Continental Bank (now Bank of America), its first borrowing for the loan program.
First loan to health care agency approved
IFF made its first health care loan to Access Community Health Network for $300,000.
Study: An Analysis of Current Sites, Capital Financing and Future Facilities Needs
IFF conducted a study for the City of Chicago on the facilities needs of Head Start delegates. This report, An Analysis of Current Sites, Capital Financing and Future Facilities Needs, helped set priorities for the City for several years.
Study: The Housing Challenge for Illinois Mental Health Providers
Another study, The Housing Challenge for Illinois Mental Health Providers, was commissioned and funded by the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. This study documented the need for housing for mentally ill adults being relocated from institutions into community settings.
Investor Consortium established
IFF created our Investor Consortium, which offers investors full security and a slightly higher return, with these members:
- Harris Trust (now BMO Harris)
- Northern Trust
- LaSalle Bank (now Bank of America)
- MB Financial
- Jacksonville Savings Bank
CDFI certification obtained
IFF is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and received $900,000 from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI program.
Real Estate Solutions launched
IFF’s Real Estate Solutions (RES) division is a full-scale real estate operation, offering real estate development, project management, consulting, financial planning, and limited technical assistance to nonprofits.
First revolving loan fund for charter schools established
IFF created the first revolving loan fund for charter schools in the country with a $2 million grant from Chicago Public Schools and made its first charter school loan to LEARN Charter School for $300,000.
Charter school authorization process developed
IFF developed a new charter school authorization process that became the template for quality authorizing across the country. IFF reviewed charter school applications for CPS for the next 15 years.
Chicago Children's Capital Fund implemented
IFF implemented the fund, under contract with the City of Chicago, and invested $42 million in new licensed child care facilities in high-need neighborhoods.
Center for Early Education Management and Finance created
IFF created the Center for Early Education Management and Finance to assist child care center managers and board members with better financial management and planning to increase funding to improve salaries and benefits, reduce turnover, and improve services to children and families.