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March 23, 2013

CDFI Fund to Focus on Financing of Community Health Centers
    by Robert Kropp

The Financing Community Health Centers series will provide training and technical assistance to community development financial institutions to help them expand the financing of community health centers.

SocialFunds.com -- The Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced yesterday a new series in its Capacity Building Initiative. The series will focus on providing training and technical assistance to help CDFIs finance the expansion of community health centers in underserved communities.

More than 1,000 community health centers nationwide currently provide health care services to more than 20 million people, and provisions of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, seek to increase the capacity of community health services to 40 million patients annually.

Also, "Community health centers serve as engines of economic development in low-income communities, generating jobs for a wide range of skill-sets as well as providing vital health care services," CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell said. "The Financing Community Health Centers series builds upon the CDFI Fund's holistic vision for community development."

Chosen as the training provider by the CDFI Fund was the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national network of more than 180 CDFIs which have provided more than $23 billion in financing to underserved communities, both urban and rural. "Through this capacity building effort," OFN stated, "CDFIs will develop the skills to successfully finance community health centers in medically underserved markets."

OFN has scheduled workshops starting later this year for CDFIs to learn how to provide funding for community health centers. Forums will also be held at which CDFIs with experience in financing community health centers will share their knowledge. Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), a recipient last year of a $4.25 million Wells Fargo NEXT Award, will be involved in the initiative.

PCDC was awarded the NEXT Award for its strategy to expand its affordable capital and technical assistance to community healthcare organizations beyond New York State to other underserved markets.

According to OFN, other CDFIs committed to the expansion of community health initiatives include the Low Income Investment Fund and The Reinvestment Fund.

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