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Catalyzing cross-organizational collaboration for racial equity: How to CDFIs are putting equity into action

Lacy Serros May 30, 2021

Two Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and Capital Impact Partners (CIP) have been partnering for over two years on the Catalyzing Finance for Racial Equity (CFRE) project aimed at normalizing racial equity knowledge sharing, research to advance the field and building new partnerships. Both organizations are collaborative partners aimed to advance racial and economic justice within the field of impact investing and the CDFI sector. The CFRE project will provide research to the field on how to drive innovation in capital, capacity and investments in communities of color that prove an informed approach centered on community trust building.

Both organizations embarked on their respective “equity journeys” approximately four years ago and received funding to leverage cross-organizational learning. The CFRE project is now supporting each organization in moving from awareness to action and we plan to share our learnings, concrete tools and resources, and data from within the CDFI sector. We are now in the stage to integrate the building blocks across our organizational norms and operations.

Session Objective: Under this CFRE project, The REAL engaged with partners, peers, stakeholders, and collaborators, including community-based and grassroots organizations, to build a racial equity-centered process that explicitly identifies the capacity building support and capital products that can advance positive outcomes and move the needle on health and racial inequities in communities of color. This session will share findings from a 3-month research project that will include an overarching racial equity framework for partnership between CDFIs and justice-focused organizations, including innovations in capital, capacity, and investments.  Participants will learn how NFF and CIP are thinking about integration of the framework into each’s racial equity strategy, opportunities to continue knowledge and field building, and how CDFIs and nonprofits can shift processes to support access and more dollars flowing to communities of color. NFF and CIP are documenting our barriers and successes in advancing racial equity and justice through attention to institutional- and systemic-level inequities and welcome the SOCAP community to learn from and apply.



Meta Themes

  • Sustainable Development

  • Stakeholder Economics & Leadership

  • Impact Investing

  • Equity & Inclusion


Finance, Financing, Racial Equity, Racial Wealth Gap, BIPOC, Equity Frameworks

Purpose and Desired Outcome

To share how two nonprofits that are also Community Development Finance Institutions are re-centering racial equity in our work; 2) learning from each other in the process; and, 3) sharing with the broader sector to get input and engagement.


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Service Providers

  • Academia

  • Artists & Culture-makers

  • Asset Managers

  • Government

  • Corporate & SME

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)


  • Name Candace Robinson
  • TitleDirector, Strategic Aging Initiative
  • OrganizationCapital Impact Partners
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameLacy Serros
  • TitleProject Lead, Social Innovation & Equity Council
  • OrganizationNonprofit Finance Fund
  • StatusConfirmed
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