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    Cookin’ Up Something Good at Community First Fund

    At Community First Fund, financial equity has been at the heart of what they do for the past 30 years. Through their work in financial services, affordable housing, and small business resources, Community First Fund is leveling the playing field for the clients they serve, many of whom are persons of color, women, and immigrants.


    As a private and independent non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Community First Fund serves 20 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, creating positive change in each community where they work through the services they offer. One of the key ways they help clients build wealth and financial stability is providing entrepreneurs with loans to start or expand their businesses, with over 5,592 loans financed since they began in 1992. In just Lancaster County alone, they’ve financed over $31 million in loans in the past five years. But the work being done through Community First Fund is deeper than just a loan—it involves investing in the knowledge and confidence of the individuals they walk alongside.


    “Our clients often come to us after being rejected by traditional banks. We guide them through our lending process to get them the capital they need to launch or expand their business. It’s a personalized approach, and we help them every step along the way with technical support and financial education.” said Vanessa Neri, Vice President of Marketing & Communications. “We are so invested in what we do.”


    Here is just a snapshot of the impact Community First Fund has had on the community:

    • 20,551 jobs created and retained
    • 2,694 units of affordable and market rate housing financed
    • 15,865 educational opportunities created and preserved
    • $45 million in grants to small businesses across Eastern Pennsylvania with an additional almost $16 million in PPP loans during COVID-19

    Pictured above in the new Community First Fund Credit Union, opening June 2022, which will offer personalized banking services aimed at helping members build credit and financial equity and rooted in the ethos of Community First Fund. In the photo from left: Joan Brodhead, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer & Senior Executive Vice President; Deb Joyce, Community Lender for Lancaster and Lebanon County; and Joiner Olivier, Branch Manager of the Community First Fund Credit Union