Chicago FHLB Community Fund Supports Wisconsin Nonprofit

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Chicago’s Federal Home Loan Bank has given Forward Community Investments, a Wisconsin nonprofit, a loan to support the organization’s community development endeavors. The nonprofit will also become a partner of the bank’s Community First Fund as part of the agreement.

The Chicago Home Loan Bank provided a $2.5 million, 10-year loan to Forward Community Investments, which will increase the institution’s existing loan fund that provides low-cost, flexible financing to other nonprofit organizations that support community development projects. The Community First Fund is a $50 million revolving loan fund that provides organizations with lower-interest rate, longer-term financing. It supports groups that focus on affordable housing and economic development lending.

Formed in 1994, Madison, Wis.-based Forward Community Investments has doled out more than $55 million in low-cost, flexible loans to community development organizations in its home state. In particular, the institution targets groups that develop affordable housing, promote economic development and engender positive social change.

Forward Community Investments recently adjusted its focus to highlight organizations combatting social, racial and economic inequality in Wisconsin, the institution said in the Feb. 17 press release announcing the partnership. The Wisconsin nonprofit lent all available funds by the end of 2014, which Forward Community Investments president Salli Martyniak said “points to an increasing need for community investing to address a range of persistent challenges.”

The Community First Fund, which is unique in the Federal Home Loan Bank System, is financed separately from the Chicago Home Loan Bank’s traditional grant programs that include the Affordable Housing Program and Downpayment Plus Program. Due to its revolving loan structure, the Community First Fund generally expects to see its loans repaid, allowing it to continue lending and to extend its life.

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