At IFF’s annual investors meeting April 7 in Chicago, IFF unveiled its 2015 annual report as well as a video highlighting work and activities from the year before. Both the report and the video have as their theme moving from transactional to transformational.
From ending food deserts to helping persons with disabilities have homes, IFF steps in when others are reluctant or resistant, IFF CEO Joe Neri told the audience of over 60 investors, funders, and other partners.
“No is not an answer,” Neri said. “Our job is to get to yes, even if the initial answer is ‘no, you have to do more work.’ We’re the people who make stronger nonprofits. And none of that would be possible without your support — you’re vital partners in our work.”
The video illustrated the breadth and depth of IFF’s work across the Midwest by highlighting projects in Chicago and Detroit. Watch the video here.
The keynote speaker was Carol Coletta, senior fellow at The Kresge Foundation, who spoke about the need for building partnerships as young Americans move back into cities.
“Too many neighborhoods are left behind by the market,” Coletta said. “As neighborhoods change, how do we make sure they are neighborhoods for all? As the demand for cities is growing, how do you make it so that people of different incomes enter places — schools, libraries, parks, cultural centers — as equals?”
Neighborhoods are not static; they are either improving or declining, Coletta said. She called IFF a valued partner that expands opportunities for low-income people in American cities.
“CDFIs need to invest in ways that reduce distance between people, particularly those of different incomes; bring people into close proximity with each other; and make connections happen,” Coletta said. “I see value bringing various parties together for collective impact. Who’s better positioned to do that than IFF?”