Community First Fund – Impacting Lancaster

Community First Fund aims to cultivate vibrant, diverse, and healthy communities throughout Lancaster and

As a Community Development Financial Institution (or CDFI), Community First Fund does more than just provide loans; they pave new pathways of possibility for entrepreneurs that otherwise can’t obtain financing. Unlike traditional banks, Community First Fund doesn’t view its borrowers as just calculated risks: they see people. And they see their potential to transform entire communities with their unique contributions towards equity, prosperity, and justice for their neighbors.

From projects large to small, Community First Fund first considers its impact. Will it provide access to food or housing to a neighborhood in need? Will it support opportunities for education or economic security? With a direct focus on transforming communities, the organization believes any venture can be a powerful proponent for sustainable change. That’s why they do what they do.

Our Little People Child Care Center

Growing up, Laquandra Sweeney had always been the “mom” among her group of friends. Caregiving was simply her calling; the very reason she majored in Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Millersville University. It just so happens that, during that time, destiny offered her a more hands-on approach: a child of her own.

But becoming a stay-at-home mom was anything but a setback. Laquandra’s house soon became a childcare hub for friends, who felt confident leaving their kids in the hands of a trusted educator. Even after returning to school to receive her degree with every intention of joining the workforce, her and husband Ishnii couldn’t help but think: was this truly the best way to both make a living and nurture their community?

Unfortunately, after using up most of their personal savings to build Our Little People Child Care Center, the Sweeneys soon came up against expenses that left them overextended. That’s where the Community First Fund came in and provided both capital and counsel on the potential fiscal obstacles they might encounter. Now, the daycare is so successful, they’re planning an expansion. “I’ll go straight to Community First Fund,” Laquandra smiles, “because I feel so confident in what they’re doing.”

 Laquandra has returned to Community First Fund for assistance over the past few months, but not to expand. After having to temporarily close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Community First assisted the Sweeneys in obtaining a forgivable loan through the SBA Payroll Protection Program. These funds helped them through their business closure and they are thrilled to have now reopened Our Little People Child Care Center.

Make a Meaningful Investment that Generates High Impact

Businesses like Our Little People Childcare Center are helped largely in part by community-focused individuals looking to make a social impact by investing with Community First Fund. The Community First Impact Investment Fund was created for those seeking more than just a monetary return on their investment. Each dollar invested directly supports neighborhood development and high impact projects that provide core necessities for low-income people in our communities. Investments in this fund create affordable housing, food resources, accessible healthcare, educational opportunities and economic security for our neighborhoods. Your investment helps build vibrant and healthy communities and helps support the creation of businesses like Our Little People Childcare Center. As for Laquandra, educating the future generation has always been a top priority. “I really want the kids to leave here learning something,” she says. To help support visions like these, potential investors can reach out via email at

More from Fig

Your Weekly Guide to Lancaster

Delivered right to your inbox for free, Fig Weekly features local stories, small business features, and upcoming events you won’t want to miss.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policy.