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
  • Healthy foods - expanding access in food "deserts"
  • Consumer loans that help build savings and improve credit

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 works closely with the National Federation for Community Development Credit Unions