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Phone System Maintenance
We will be performing phone system maintenance from 9pm EST on Wednesday, July 24th until approximately 2am on Thursday, July 25th. Our phone services will be interrupted during this window. If you need to report a lost or stolen debit or credit card during this time, please call 888-241-2510.

Community Development Finance

A Comprehensive Approach

Self-Help is designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a community development financial institution (CDFI). That means we have a distinct mission to serve low-wealth families and help revitalize low-income communities to stimulate growth and create new jobs.

Every loan we make is an investment—an investment in economic growth, better opportunities for education or affordable housing, and even healthier foods.

Beyond this day-to-day work, we also provide technical assistance and learning opportunities for other nonprofits and financial institutions that are committed to community development.

When we started out more than three decades ago, we focused on technical assistance and loans to support cooperative businesses, minority entrepreneurs and low-income homebuyers. Building on our learnings and successes,  our lending has extended to touch many other areas of community development, including:

  • Child care facilities
  • Public charter schools
  • Green enterprises/green jobs
  • Food systems - expanding access in food "deserts"
  • Consumer loans that help build savings and improve credit
  • Participation in the New Markets Tax Credit program to help bring needed investment to communities

CDFIs believe in opportunity for all. Watch this inspiring video produced by the Opportunity Financial Network.

Self-Help also is a national leader on CDFI policy work, helping craft the implementing legislation and actively works to strengthen the Fund and the entire community economic development field. Self-Help is a founding member of the Opportunity Finance Network and the CDFI Coalition and is a member of Inclusiv.


Recent Collaborations

Self-Help often collaborates with partners in the field of community development to deepen our collective impact and move the field forward. Read about recent efforts below.

The California Small Business Coalition for Racial Justice: In the spring of 2021, 17 California-based community organizations, including Self-Help, gathered to address some of the urgent problems facing small businesses at the peak of the economic crisis, particularly small businesses led by entrepreneurs of color. Read more about their work and its outcome:

The CDFI Climate Crisis Working Group: As part of this working group, Self-Help is collaborating with other CDFIs to share resources and learnings to help all CDFIs address their climate footprints, improve their sustainability, and more. Read more: